Everything you would want to know on Diversity

By Published June 18, 2017
DIVERSITY

Increasing globalization has brought forward complex situations, one such being – handling diversity. The exposure to worldwide economy brings in vulnerability and inclusive competition. The need of the hour for the management is to maximize and capitalize the situation at hand. Change from this situation is inevitable, and it evolves in bringing in a different mindset – requiring the requisite skills to accustom with the multi-cultural workplace. Diversity requires an acknowledgment and understanding as well as valuing the differences of its employees on age, race, class, gender, disabilities, opinions, backgrounds, knowledge and the like.

DIVERSITY

Diversity needs a mature mindset as it has the potential to yield a greater work productivity and global competitive advantage. This, however, brings in an understated challenge of introducing new management practices and introduce an innovative approach that reduces friction, enhances productivity and increases workplace efficiency. Besides, just acknowledging differences, it involves recognizing their value, counters discrimination, reduce bias or pre-conceived notions and also proactively pursue inclusion. It helps to highlight individual contributions, respecting their differences, creating opportunities to learn from cross-cultural exposure and reduce waste of resources. It brings about access to a diverse knowledge pool that becomes handy when complex problem solving is involved.

Decision making for such problems is supported by multiple solutions as its resolution is through varied learning backgrounds. It also helps to source answers from resources with multiple references, within the very limited time frame. Similarly, customer orientation is global as the service providers have a large pool of diverse candidates with understanding and interpretation of global languages, customers will receive the resolutions from that place. Since there are multiple resources involved, the decisions are faster. Similar synergies are visible when new training or skill enhancement is put to practice as peer learning helps bring people easily learn new skills and adapt to changing the work environment. Comprehensively set, all of this increases the overall customer response thus increasing the productivity, profits and return on investment.

Managing a diverse population brings in equally diverse challenges. As simple as an interpretation of language is an easily overlooked problem and that even CHROs tend to miss. Despite being easy to follow, English as a language is subject to interpretation. Effective communication of the primary objectives is paramount to organizational excellence, or else it results in confusion, lack of team-work and even low-morale.

Similar to this, diverse attitudes are exposed to varied personalities & Negative influence brings in attitudes and behaviors that affect others, includes prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination that management should refrain from practicing in any form and if observed, strongly discourage. The management needs to add this thought process right from the moment they hire and build it the way to the bottom till the employee retires. However, mainly the challenge revolves around how swiftly the managers can embrace diversity and bring inclusion.

It is about time to change your perspective on diversity

Successfully implementing Diversity objectives remain a top challenge for senior executives. Assessment of the current workforce helps in understanding and finding gaps that need to be fulfilled. Once these challenges are identified, a detailed plan to overcome these obstacles can be rolled out keeping all stakeholders in perspective. A quick survey to understand the same from internal employees as inputs help to define the goals that need to be achieved before the next evaluation. Developing a plan is the next step towards achieving the diversity goal. The said plan should be easily adaptable as there is resistance to change in most situations, it should be able to address all the challenges as discovered during the survey and at the same time the plan should be measurable at the end.

Once all of the above is in order, the implementation of the same will bring in the difference. Change in an organization the prerogative of the top management; it is never the other way round. The executives must incorporate diversity perspective into every aspect of the functions of the organization. Hence bringing about a cultural change leads to a change in perspective around diversity.

The change in diversity mindset is easier said than done. To ward off resistance from employees, it is important that all employees be involved in bringing all perspectives to the forefront. This helps in understanding and also taking their contributions to executing the implementation plan. Team managers must exercise Candor, it helps in being transparent about the effect of the implementation plan and does not leave room for surprises. Diversity initiatives should be directed to bring about change at every level of the organization and neither the effort nor the result to be skewed in one direction. The training for the implementation plan must be utilized as learning ground to get a perspective on how effective the plan is, and remedial and corrective measures should be put in place to steer the results towards the desired goals.

Towards the completion of the diversity plan, an assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the training should be put to evaluate. Diversity is a comprehensive result of formulating the right policies and bringing about the desired change for inclusion, hence the result should be kept in perspective at all times.

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