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Diverse Workplace

In: Business and Management

Submitted By s265718
Words 2183
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Introduction
As the world of business progressively conquer 21st century, businesses started to recognize the significance of acknowledging the presence of diversity in their workplace. The concept of diversity according to the authors of Management 4th Asia pacific Edition diversity is “the term used to describe differences among people at work which mainly includes age, race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, disability, personality, culture, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, education, experience, family status and many more.” (Schemerhorn Jr, et al., 2011). Therefore it is the variety and differences of the people working for a certain business or within the company but most of the people presume that is when we talk about diversity it is mostly the difference between ethnicity, race or gender. (UCFS: University of California, n.d.). It is very essential that businesses understand and encourage diversity in the workplace as it may arise to various advantages such as enhanced communication between employees, increase of flexibility within the business, eradication of discrimination and learning how to appreciate culture and wider range of opinions, perspective and talents that will result employees satisfaction and increase of businesses competitive edge against competitors.
Advantage of working in a Diverse Workforce * Eliminate discrimination
It is important for the business to encourage workplace diversity not only for the account of the business but also to the employees to prevent and eradicate discrimination in the workplace. According to Australian Human Right Commission (AHRC) on their Complaint statistics - Annual Report 2009-2010 there are total of 5,549 complaints that has been received under the discrimination section in the workplace (Commission, 2009-2010). It is a huge number to start with but as the businesses enforce diversity in workplace the results were staggering and based on the latest research from Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency), which is an agency in Australian government that administer the gender equality in Australian workforce that the gender composition of Australian workforce in 2014 is made up of 48 percent female and 52 percent male (Agency, 2014). It precisely a huge breakthrough for a female working in the workforce and it basically means that businesses are embracing the changing environment of the workplace where women are also entitled to work equally as men. At the top of that, they are not neglecting the needs of the women in the workforce by providing them paid parental leave or maternity leave, in time where they get pregnant or needed a time off working (Agency, 2014). As for the ethnicity based differences, in 2010, 27 percent of the population living in Australia are born overseas and most of it were labour workers, meaning the composition of labour workforce in Australia is also culturally diverse in huge percentage and it is getting bigger overtime ((AIHW), 2010). Having a huge percentage of ethnicity in the workforce is beneficial not only to eradicate discrimination but also to share and exchange about worker’s knowledge about their own cultural background, understand their needs and also break misconception or the stereotypes on different races in the workplace which has been going on for generations. Also being culturally accepted and appreciated means confidence of people working in the workforce that’s will open a huge advantage for the business. * Cultural respect / Enhanced Communication
Enforcing diversity in the workplace draw workers together as they exchange experience, discuss cultural differences and similarities which would result to cultural appreciation and mutual respect to each and everyone’s situation (Mayhew, 2014). When respect is gained within the workplace its own diversity is most likely to be an asset of the business because unison of employees creates a harmonious and peaceful environment to work (Munroe, n.d.). The effectiveness of communication also prevent conflicts as different situations may arise because of employees misunderstanding, but with respect employees are able to discuss the issue and treat each other equally and with conflicts prevented it would lead to a properly coordinated workplace (Munroe, n.d.). Coordinated workplace has better communication between employees in which the transfer of information/ knowledge through training and work instructions is easier to understand and follow which will contribute to the company’s profitability and creates a productive environment (Mayhew, 2014) (Ingram, n.d.) (Morgan, n.d.). * Wider range of market and Greater pool of skills
Having a diverse workplace nurtures the business employees are from a different background with various of experience and has wider perspectives that gives exposure to the business to the greater and wider range of market (Cheah, 2013) (Morgan, n.d.). According to the article Why Workplace Diversity is Important that diversity in the workplace broaden up additional solutions and help gather different approaches in a certain issue or topic within the company (Cheah, 2013). It is mentioned also in the article a statement from Claudia Cadena Director of Strategic Human Capital Management SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd. that the diversity within the company predicts the potential success of the business (Cheah, 2013). It is because there is an enormous pool of skills and talent available for the business and if those skills are managed properly by strategic planning, smooth execution and continuous communication will have a positive result for the business (Cheah, 2013). Diverse background also broaden up the market of the business, a big example of this is when the business needs to communicate/deal with the clients from different country/area, an employee who is literate in that language and has the sufficient knowledge about the transaction would represent the businesses ideas clearly and therefore a smooth transaction between the business and the client is established (Morgan, n.d.). Another advantage of having a diverse workplace is the business can easily identify the needs of the market from different perspective whether its age, gender, culture, disability, etc. which gives the business a wider target market and a huge competitive advantage for the business which adapt to rapid changing market needs and wants. * Increase work flexibility
Diversity in the workplace often consists of different cultural backgrounds and religions that they practice outside the workplace. The company might use this factor as its advantage as holidays and other commitments are different from each and everyone in the business, which therefore gives each and every employee flexibility to work when other employee aren’t able to fill up his/her position because of commitments (Leviticus, n.d.). It also opens the possibility of other employees to be available unto normal holidays on which they don’t celebrate and increase the number of days that the business can operate particularly in Christmas and New Year (Leviticus, n.d.) (Cheah, 2013). The company would also consider working/arranging particular types of flexible working arrangement that suit the employees regarding their ethnicity or religion (Leviticus, n.d.). The businesses acknowledgement about different commitments would develop an appreciation from employees and would establish loyalty of employees to the business as it values their own beliefs and culture therefore employees would rather stay longer in the company which decreases turnover of staffs within the business (Leviticus, n.d.). According to Jill Leviticus author of the online article “Why is Diversity in the Workplace Important to Employees?” that a business that has a strong diversity is more likely to have low staff turnovers, as conflicts through discrimination and other misunderstanding such as communication (non- English speakers) can cause resignation of employees (Leviticus, n.d.). Leviticus also mentioned that business that have low turnovers means a decrease of cost of training for new employees which also consumes time of the manager as well as the other senior employees, rather than focusing on the task that they are bound to do (Leviticus, n.d.) (Cheah, 2013). And as the business retain employees longer they have more time to work and focus on the productivity of the business and planning for its brighter future (Leviticus, n.d.).
Strategies to Adjust / Adopt in a Diverse Workplace * Focus on each other’s similarities rather than differences
It is very evident from the advantages that setting aside the fact that the workplace is diverse and consists of many differences wether in culture, age, gender, background, etc. would minimize the build- up of conflict between employees. Focusing more on common interest of co-workers would bring a common bond between employees and would result to a stronger bond of employees and close relationship as a professional colleague within the business. Looking unto common grounds of would also ease up employees concern on being different and would rather show confidence at work. * Acknowledge differences as a unique quality
Acknowledgment of differences and transforming them into uniqueness is simply looking into different point of view really. Instead of criticizing how the co- worker is different from everyone, why not praise things that they do very well and try to encourage him/her to improve the skills that he/ she possesses (Williams, 2010). By nurturing each person’s qualities that would make other employees to harness their own talent wold are very beneficial as those talents/ skills would make the business more attractive and interesting because of the variety of talents that the business has to offer. * Continuous Communication
In a particularly diverse workplace, communication is one of the most essential factors that would build a strong relationship in a diverse workplace. And enforcing regular communication would be a good example on how everybody would understand and relate to each other’s concerns, views and opinions. Communicating regularly would be a stepping stone for an employee to easily adopt the diverse environment in the workplace and would perhaps break the cultural stereotypes on different culture which would result to a better working environment (Williams, 2010).
Conclusion
In the modern society, diversity is not a unfamiliar topic anymore as the diversity continuous to grow and expand, in which gives out advantages not only for the business but also to the employees which may came from different country, age group, gender group or working environment. By doing so the business could adopt the fast changing phase of the market which is more demanding in terms of variety where diversity comes in handy by proving pool of suggestions from different sources of perspective and abundant skills that would help open doors for the business to prosper and would possibly expand in the future. The mindset of the employees to stereotypes can also be widen or changed by learning cultural, racial and other differences and enforcing equal work environment in the workplace. Businesses should also keep in mind that in working with a diverse culture they should take some time to analyse the diversity composition of the business and discuss the work employees’ needs to satisfy them which produces more productivity on the workplace in which might be the best asset for the business in the future (Cheah, 2013).

List of Reference
(AIHW), A. I. o. H. a. W., 2010. 1 Who are we? (AIHW). [Online]
Available at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-welfare-2011-in-brief/chapter-1/#t3
[Accessed 24 March 2014].
Agency, W. G. E., 2014. All Industry Snapshot. [Online]
Available at: http://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/2013_All_industries_fact_sheet_1.pdf
[Accessed 24 March 2014].
Cheah, L., 2013. Why workplace diversity is important for every organisation - Career Guide | myStarjob.com. [Online]
Available at: http://mystarjob.com/articles/story.aspx?file=/2013/4/20/mystarjob_careerguide/12948229&sec=mystarjob_careerguide
[Accessed 26 March 2014].
Commission, A. H. R. (., 2009-2010. Complaint statistics - Annual Report 2009-2010 | Australian Human Rights Commission. [Online]
Available at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/complaint-statistics-annual-report-2009-2010-australian-human-rights-commission-0
[Accessed 24 March 2013].
Ingram, D., n.d. A Workplace of Mutual Respect. [Online]
Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/workplace-mutual-respect-11235.html
[Accessed 26 March 2014].
Leviticus, J., n.d. Why Is Diversity in the Workplace Important to Employees? | Everyday Life - Global Post. [Online]
Available at: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/diversity-workplace-important-employees-25453.html
[Accessed 26 March 2014].
Mayhew, R., 2014. Why Is Respect Important in a Diverse Workplace? | Chron.com. [Online]
Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/respect-important-diverse-workplace-11475.html
[Accessed 25 March 2014].
Morgan, S., n.d. What Are the Benefits of Workplace Diversity? | Everyday Life - Global Post. [Online]
Available at: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/benefits-workplace-diversity-5081.html
[Accessed 26 March 2014].
Munroe, S., n.d. Why Is Respect Important in a Diverse Workplace? | Everyday Life - Global Post. [Online]
Available at: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/respect-important-diverse-workplace-2770.html
[Accessed 25 March 2014].
Schemerhorn Jr, J. R. et al., 2011. Chapter2 : Environment and Diversity. In: Management 4th Asia Pacific Edition. 4th Pacific Edition ed. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley and Sons Australia, Ltd, p. 47.
UCFS: University of California, S. F., n.d. Chapter 12: Managing Diversity in the Workplace. [Online]
Available at: http://ucsfhr.ucsf.edu/index.php/pubs/hrguidearticle/chapter-12-managing-diversity-in-the-workplace/
[Accessed 23 March 2014].
Williams, S., 2010. How to Overcome the Issue of Diversity in the Workplace | LIVESTRONG.COM. [Online]
Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/244452-how-to-overcome-the-issue-of-diversity-in-the-workplace/
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