The World we live in today is very diverse, and diversity in a workplace points to employees or workforce that vary in education level, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background, religion, ethnicity, and age. Understanding diversity in a workplace is therefore crucial for the growth of an organization because, among other benefits, it gives an organization a competitive edge over others. Thus, in today’s business environments, it is difficult for any organization on a prosperous track to eliminate diversity in its organizational structure. The paper discusses various aspects of workplace diversity in a workplace such as a gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and culture, including its advantages and disadvantages to an organization.
Importance of Diversity in a Workplace
In recruiting for a workforce, every company or organization always seeks the best talents and skills the market offers. According to Aamodt (2015), organizations can devise innovative and creative solutions from a diverse workforce capable of providing different skills, talents, and experiences. Ideally, a diverse workforce is a way for organizations as standard practices for problem-solving in most cases fail to promote creativity and innovation. In addition, a diverse workforce provides workable solutions to business environments that are incredibly competitive and uncertain at the same time. Such business environments usually require creative thinking only a diverse workforce can offer. Unique and creative thinking is critical to an organization’s growth and survival in the face of unpredictable and competitive business environments.
We are in an era of globalization, and every organization is seeking to capitalize on the cultural diversity that the World has to offer. Aamodt (2015) asserts that people’s cultural backgrounds, in most cases, inform their values, beliefs, and, by extension, how they relate and interact with others professionally. Therefore, successful organizations or businesses should consider a culturally diverse workforce as an essential asset that spurs innovation and creativity that bolsters organizational growth. Successful organizations such as Disney, Price Water House Coopers, and the Virgin Group have mastered the art and exhaustively use multicultural diversity to their advantage. Therefore, they undoubtedly pride themselves on a global outlook and appeal. Ideally, cultural diversity has helped organizations overcome some challenges of running such international corporations.
Implications of a Diverse Workforce
In countries like US and Australia, employers are bound by laws and statutes that promote equal opportunities for employees to eliminate discrimination and other forms of harassment in the workplace. The law also protects people with disabilities and minority groups in society. Roberson (2019) notes that organizations with a diverse workforce often face organizational and decision-making challenges because stereotypes, beliefs, and working styles may bring about conflicts. For example, employees from a particular cultural background, religion, ethnicity, or even gender may not openly and willingly air their voices or concerns for fear of victimization or prejudice. Such hindrances stifle decision-making and open-mindedness in an organization. The laws for a diverse workforce may also come with hefty requirements making organizations shy away from implementing a diverse workforce.
Diversity in a workplace benefits both organizations and employees and is a recipe for innovation, wealthy employees’ experiences, and greater creativity. It fosters better and faster decision-making than individual decision-making. Diversity allows employees to freely display their talents and skills, express themselves and appreciate differences. Every employee dreams of working for an organization that embraces and values diversity; therefore, a diverse workforce is a sure strategy for attracting new and retaining talents. Besides, variety gives an organization a good reputation and brand as they come across as socially responsible and people’s social organizations. Cultural diversity breaks borders and offers organizations a global appeal; therefore, successful organizations should consider strategies that promote a culturally diverse workforce. Further, retrogressive labour laws, in most cases, hinder the implementation of a diverse workforce in many organizations.
Aamodt, M. (2015). Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach (8th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Cengage Learning.
Roberson, Q. M. (2019). Diversity in the Workplace: A Review, Synthesis, and Future Research Agenda. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 6, 69-88.