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Diversity in Focus: Workplace Diversity

Global Impact

In a rapidly growing globalised economy, workforces that are culturally diverse can help organisations expand their business in global markets. Being able to communicate effectively in different parts of the world is a crucial benefit, as well as knowing how to create relationships and understand the cultural nuances and differences in conducting business in foreign countries. Having a workforce that understands these concepts, will create the opportunity to effectively develop your business in a global market.

Business Reputation

Job seekers are drawn to organisations with a diverse workforce because it is clear and evident that the companies do not practice employment discrimination. Potential employees want to know that employers treat their staff fairly regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. Not only are such firms able to attract new talent but they can also retain existing talent because of the high employee morale resulting from workforce diversity. “Workers in organisations where diversity is valued generally feel more engaged with their employer and are more likely to stay on board”. (2)

Different Perspectives and Ideas

When people with different cultures and backgrounds work together, they are exposed to different viewpoints and ideas. This helps people become accustomed to hearing and sharing their individual perspectives and presenting their ideas. Allowing culturally diverse employees to brainstorm brings a broad variety of solutions to the table based on different schools of thought and experiences. With more ideas to choose from, the odds of finding the best possible final solution is improved.

Greater Talent Pool

An organisation that embraces diversity will attract a wider range of candidates to their vacancies, as it will be viewed as more progressive organisation and will appeal to individuals from different background. Naturally, as the number of candidates for each vacancy rises, the chances of finding an exceptional candidate increases too. It can also help with employee retention, as people want to work in an environment who are accepting of all backgrounds and promote equality.

Disadvantages of Diversity

Organisations often benefit from the differing perspectives and experiences a diverse workforce provides. However, a diverse workforce can be more difficult to manage and may present certain disadvantages.

Mandatory Training

Increasing workplace diversity normally includes mandatory diversity training, during which employees, managers and supervisors receive lessons on how best to interact with clients, customers and employees who represent diverse cultures and populations. Mandatory training for some employees is the equivalent of forcing employees to accept and progress with diversity at all costs, regardless of their personal experiences and exposers. Training that’s forced upon employees usually have unintended consequences. Employees, supervisor, manager etc. who feel diversity training shouldn’t be mandated might believe instead that the concept of diversity is more important than any other type of employee training and development the employer provides to improve employees’ skills and capabilities.

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