The world has become a global village, where people from all regions, from diverse cultures, work in similar settings. This eventually affects the efficiency of work since most people have varying definitions of efficiency. For a company to remain at the top helm in its industry, it must have an appropriate solution to this variance. There should be policies regarding workplace diversity to create a harmonious work environment for all the employees, hence heightening performance. As much as we are all humans, organizations should not assume that employees are the same since they exhibit various cultural diversities, impacting how they think. The paper outlines the vital points regarding cultural diversity at the workplace. In the modern business context, cultural diversity is inevitable, and the organizations that manage diversity efficiently are more successful than those that do not. Organizations should invest in developing efficient plans with proper knowledge, ability, and techniques to help them deal with problems concerning workplace diversity. An individual's religion, gender. Beliefs and background are the factors that organizations need solutions to when dealing with. By doing this, the employees will feel honored and respected hence enhancing their motivation to work. To optimally manage diversity, organizations should keep current trends on all aspects regarding diversity.
Diversity within organizations
Culture refers to the standard practices and beliefs observed by a specific group of people and is expressed through language, music, arts, and food. It unifies one group of people but separates it from those with varying practices and beliefs. For instance, America covers a given geographical area does not mean that it has one definitive culture for its people (Kato & Kodama, 2018). It consists of people from various races and walks of life, and there is a general feeling that one race differs from another. The different ways of life are expressed through differences in beliefs and practices of the people. At the workplace, different cultures come together through different individuals, who are expected to shade their differences and work together to fulfill organizational goals. In the current world of business and technology, culture plays a vital role in shaping communication effectiveness.
Importance of cultural diversity at the workplace
A culturally diverse organization empowers various stakeholders to develop their skills and talents. People from different cultural backgrounds have expertise and ideas that enable others to come from them, creating a team with a diverse cultural collection. It can boost productivity by increasing happiness in an environment where all voices are heard and considered. Such a spirit of innovation and inclusivity helps in driving a business to ultimate success.
Cultural diversity helps improve the recruitment process and helps organizations retain talent (Cletus et al., 2018). During job hunting, most candidates cite diversity as a crucial consideration. When an organization embraces the strategy of cultural diversity, it broadens its appeal to prospective employees, and this helps it to reach out to most high-level candidates worldwide. Additionally, cultural diversity is vital in building respect ideologies between the company and employees, hence enhancing cooperation. In turn, this aspect makes the organization an attractive proposition to quality candidates, making it outstanding in the marketplace.
Besides, cultural diversity at the workplace enhances the creativity of a team. Bringing individuals from various backgrounds together will create a varying series of solutions to approaches and issues that a given project may have. A diverse workforce enables an organization to bring various perspectives into the business (Roberson, 2019). Listening to the voices, views and considering the ways of thinking of all employees will make the organization no longer pigeon-holed towards one perspective. An organization that embraces diversity will have more perspectives discussed and more solutions. This will inspire the employees to fully exploit their potential and work to the highest of their abilities, enabling the organization to attain success.
Cultural diversity enhances the engagement of employees. The best method to learn about other cultures is by talking to people from that culture and background. Research may not help you to a reasonable extent, but communicating with someone from that culture will create a direct and personal touch and help you gain first-hand knowledge (Hopf et al., 2018). Employees who engage with their colleagues about their background and culture feel connected to the organization and listen to them and engage further with the business and their colleagues. This kind of engagement builds trust among the organization's stakeholders and creates loyalty, collaboration, and motivation.
Cultural diversity improves the reputation of the company. When an organization employees people from various cultures, racial orientations, and backgrounds, it is considered a good employer. Diversity looks at all demographics and considers the minority groups, for instance, women and people with disabilities. This enables employers to find the most suitable candidate since they are not limited to a specific group of people (Derven, 2013). This reputation among the employees elevates the company's standing and attracts more people to go and work there. The reputation of a company among its customers is among one of the most crucial factors. Reputation and customer service can be significantly improved by having a diverse workforce, with different employees who can help customers out more personally due to the shared understanding and experiences.
Diversity in organizations creates more opportunities to earn revenue. Companies that focus on cultural diversification earn more sales and revenue compared that those which do not. Having multiple language fluency in an organization, for instance, boosts profits by around 10 percent for every fluent language that is spoken. Gender diversity can increase revenues by 40 percent during embracing diversity (Derven, 2013). This advantage helps in opening up new markets for the company that increases profits.
Cultural diversity in organizations helps expose societal bias. Bias destroys the cultural diversity in an organization, with most managers having a preference for hiring male candidates over female candidates, even when they have similar qualifications. In a study, managers were given lists of candidates to hire without revealing their identities. During this blind selection, more female candidates were selected than males, when the gender of the candidates was concealed (Ng & Sears, 2020). Due to this issue, women are underrepresented, and people with alternative gender, other than being male and female, have it worse. The same happens to racial minorities across the world.
Disadvantages of cultural diversity at the workplace
Organizations with different cultures experience barriers to efficient communication as members from various cultures have diverse values and communication styles, resulting in conflicts and miscommunication. Teams with cultural differences face different barriers to success. Foremost, they may face direct and indirect barriers to communication, as they may face difficulties with fluency and accents experienced (Wahab et al., 2018). Such teams may also face different attitudes towards hierarchy and authority, as they practice varying norms regarding the process of decision making. If these aspects are not efficiently dealt with, the success of the organization will be at stake.
Diversity can create employees that are overqualified for given positions. As the economy settles into a given comfortable pattern, communities decline and grow naturally. Diversity can create more job security and stable circumstances, but it can also create problems whereby workers are overqualified for the roles they play. For some reason, if an individual loses a job from such a diverse organization, it may be challenging to secure an opportunity elsewhere. For instance, in America, during the years of the great recession, employers were hiring people that were willing to work for any wage (Wang & Fang, 2020). This saw Ph.D. holders settling for jobs like cashiers and fast-food attendants when their qualifications were way above their roles.
Workplace diversity creates too many opinions that may slow down the processes of decision-making. When everyone's opinion needs to be heard and considered in an organization, the project speed is slowed down as the decision-making gets slower. When a team fails to get into a consensus, then the supervisor's opinion may be validated. When this happens, people whose opinions were not considered may feel ignored and stop sharing their views, reducing the advantages of diversity in the first place.
Increased diversity at the workplace can breed hostility among teams. Various perspectives create unique approaches and opinions that may lead to disagreements at the workplace (Mahadevan & Mayer, 2017). It is normal to have people believe that their opinions are correct, and so they might want to share with others. If other people disagree with their opinions, they may take it personally and attack their character and spirituality. Such polarized differences in a team may result in hostility among the stakeholders.
Diversity initiatives may lead to increased complaint levels. There tend to be more conflicts among teams with diverse people than those with most of its people from the same perspective. Different working styles and habits lead to bothersome results. This increase in complaints and grievances means more time will be spent on investigations (Guillaume et al., 2017). This may become so severe that other employees may resign due to an environment they may consider toxic. As such, the organization bears more costs in hiring more staff and training, reducing the general returns.
Managing cultural diversity at the workplace
There are several ways to express human culture, such as language, arts, music, and food, which play a vital role in shaping communication at the workplace. The most common method used in managing workplace diversity is by training workers to work as a team. Sometimes employees may be discriminatory towards their colleagues because they do not know better. Securing diversity training to the employees will help them understand and respect the differences in culture and ethnicity, making them self-aware. This plays a vital role in understanding various cultural biases (Al-Jenaibi, 2017). Teamwork plays a significant role in overcoming the weaknesses of diversity, as it offers every worker a chance to understand their fellow workers.
Respecting individuals' ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, religion, and gender are crucial in handling employees' differences. Fostering an attitude of openness among the employees and encouraging them to feel free when expressing their diverse thoughts and opinions go a long way in managing diversity. Also, involving the employees in formulating diversity initiatives and allowing equality to prevail at the workplace will create successful results in dealing with workplace diversity (Fine et al. 2020). Additionally, the organization should recognize and celebrate all holidays observed by its employees. Tactful methods should be identified that deal with the individual employees according to their differences and preferences.
With the changing times, the ability of an organization to adapt to change is essential in managing diversity. The organization should keep all current trends on cultural diversity matters to manage differences among stakeholders at the workplace (Harrison-Bernard et al., 2020). With the economy gradually becoming global, there is a rapid increase in the diversity of workplaces. The competitiveness and success of an organization will depend on an organization's ability to manage diversity at the workplace effectively. It should adequately evaluate the diversity policies in the company and lay down efficient plans for the future.
To manage cultural diversity, the organization needs to create inclusive practices and policies. These policies should be inclusive and not discriminative of any set of employees. Policymakers must examine the impacts of policies and practices on diverse workers before they are enforced (Ozgen, Nijkamp & Poot, 2017). Additionally, all employees must understand the written rules to ensure inclusion from the word go. Managers and leaders should be willing to take opinions on the policies and be ready to make changes when there are perceived barriers to groups of people in the workforce.
Effective communication goes a long way in managing workplace cultural differences. To create a harmonious interaction, all employees must know the policies, procedures, rules, and other crucial information (Graham, Belliveau & Hotchkiss, 2017). The organization should ensure that the language and cultural barriers are dealt with when communicating with its employees. This can be affected by having necessary materials like operation manuals that are translated if possible.
In conclusion, diversity in an organization requires commitment from every level of the chain of command to be a successful experience. We live in a society that demands instant results. Still, for diversity to be deemed successful or not, it needs time to realize an increase in revenues and productivity. To attain successful results, the advantages and disadvantages of diversity need to be carefully examined. It may be considered a challenging evolutionary process, but it is a strategy that helps an organization thrive in the future due to its good reputation.
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