Diversity challenges are common phenomena in the workplace. They must, therefore, be handled with sheer diligence to maximize on the workforce of any organization (Barnard, 2002). These diversities in the workplaces should not only provide for the differences among colleagues but also a celebration, understanding and acceptance of these differences (Barnard, 2002). The scope of the differences provided by the diversities in an organization if well managed give such an organization a broader and more inclusive decision-making edge over other less diverse organization. However, it is also a salient truth that mismanagement of a diverse staff in an organization has its disadvantages that are detrimental and damaging to the organization (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001)
The Sodexo Company being one of the leading and largest companies around the globe has a staff of approximately 42,000 people. The company has physical locations in 80 countries around the world. This company diverse staffing has made it possible for it to operate efficiently in these locations. This is through a direct engagement and involvement of all its employees. The company sees it paramount that all its employees are enthusiastic and are involved in decision making as it is important for service and product delivery. Recent research shows that employees are less likely to leave an organization if the company they work for inclusively provide for diversity in its strategic planning (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001). Additionally, the research found that the engagement of employees in decision-making made such employees more productive than other employees.
Challenges of implementing diversity plans in the workplace
The main challenges, however, in making diversity an asset to the prosperity of a company may include barriers in communication (Bartlett & Ghosha, 2001). The Sodex Company, for example, is a company that has its location in 80 countries around the world (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001). Some of these countries speak different languages from the mother company. The challenge here is clearly one of misunderstandings the tasks and instructions given. The employee, therefore, may constantly make mistakes due to lack of clarity leading to the de-motivation of such employee. This problem can be solved by ensuring that the staff hired is vast in the language that the organization uses (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001).
Resistance to Change is another problem that prevents the collective advantages that can be achieved through workplace diversity. This challenge manifests itself through managers or employees who strongly oppose new inputs and ideas by retaining the stringent and outdated ways of doing things, simply because they are used to doing them in a particular way (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001). A company wanting to benefit fully from diversity should handle this form of resistance carefully. Explaining and making the workforce understand the anticipated benefits of the change is the most common way of dealing with this form of resistance.
Organization of the process of implementing a diversity plan is equally important as the plan itself. Poor organization of this implementation process will bring zilch benefits to the organization. The approach of implementation must be communicated to the employees; the approach must also be well calculated and thought out clearly (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2001). An inclusive Brainstorming is one way of having an effective implementation plan. Communicating the intended plan to workers is paramount to the effectiveness of the plan .Diversity conferences, Memos, and meeting, should be used to communicate this and outline the benefits to reduce resistance and allow smooth transitions.
Diversity Management is a further challenge that comes after the implementation of the diversity plan. Changes in the range and scope of diversities may constantly take place. Managing these changes is very crucial in maintaining the intended objective of the diversity plan. Challenges may stem for many reasons including policy change, or simply taking a misinformed approach to the diversity issue. To cure this problem, many organizations allow training programs for their managers enabling them cope with the new policies, and departments.
The Ideal Working Environment
An ideal and inclusive working environment recognizes and appreciates the differences and diversities in its staffing. Such an environment provides sufficiently for its’ range of employees and rips maximally from the different capabilities of these employees. Hay Group Research shows that the involvement of employee’s produces a more productive staff than when decisions are just passed down to them. The London Business School colleague research shows that persons allowed expressing their real self-display more dedication and better performance than those confined to a specific way of conduct.
Ideally, People in the working environment should be left to be themselves. Normally companies only provide for the traditional categories of diversity; age, race, ethnicity, gender, inter alia (Blau, 2012). However, more categories like; core assumptions, habits, view and perspectives should feature. The basic working environment should also be maintained as to include, good communication and teamwork, room for growth both intellectually and professionally and rewarding and common goals. Mangers should, however, strive to know their staff and their best potentials (Blau, 2012).
- Set and identify achievable targets in line with the workplace diversity values.
- guarantee that the workforce has access to information in line with the Workplace Diversity intended
- Initiate Workplace diversity training
- Ensure that new recruits or employees are in the know of the Workplace Diversity Plan
- Introduce staff assessment surveys testing the understanding of the workplace diversity.
- encourage staff continued involvement and participation on working place diversity plan and objectives
In conclusion, employers should strive to understand and appreciate the particular special traits of all their employees, and they should strive to enhance these diversities positively towards the achievements of the company’s goals and objectives.
Barnard, (2002). The Functions of the Executive. Harvard University Press.
Bartlett & Ghoshal, (2001) Managing Across Borders. Harvard Business School Press
Blau, (2012). Inequality and Heterogeneity. New York: Free Press.