Workforce Diversity and Organisational Results

In globalized business environments, diversity is a dynamic aspect that organizations cannot avoid. It refers to the myriads of differences that exist among people who work in an organization concerning parameters such as sexual characteristics, ethnicity, social values, age, earnings levels, work familiarity, parental significance, spiritual beliefs, civilization, and physical abilities among others as shown in figure one.

Dimensions of Diversity.
Fig. 1: Dimensions of Diversity. Source: (Ibarra & Hansen 2011).

On the condition of effective management of diversities, scholarly research provides evidence of the capacity of diverse works teams to increase organizational results. For instance, Ibarra and Hansen (2011) assert that leaders need to possess capabilities to bring together diversity in any workforce in a manner that ensures that organizations take advantage of what each diversity element can provide. This section focuses on the discussion of this assertion by providing evidence on the capacity to manage diverse work teams to increase organizational results.

Diversity management refers to the various comprehensive processes for management. They are aimed at developing work environments and employees who possess different demographic characteristics, technical expertise, and other differences among people within a nation or from a nation to another (Parvis 2003). According to Parvis (2003), failure to manage organizational workforce diversity may lead to negative impairment of an organization’s performance in the short run and the long run. The appreciation of these challenges compels different organizations to capitalize on the workforce’s diversity as the source of their competitive advantage. An example of an organization that embraces diversity and uses it to tackle challenges arising from diversity is the multinational company Google (Finkle 2012). The challenge of workforce diversity at Google Company emanates from the fact that the organization has establishments in almost every nation across the globe. Presence on a global front means that Google has to embrace diversity among its workforce and operations (Finkle 2012).

Managing diverse teams constitutes an important managerial and leadership skill for any industry (Leading in a Changing World 2013). The case of Google Company perhaps justifies well this assertion. Workforce diversity is a problem that not only bothers Google Company but also its workers (Finkle, 2012). When the various diverse affiliations of people are not handled appropriately, their morale gets impaired. This outcome correlates positively with the achievement of organizational results in terms of increased productivity (Ibarra & Hansen 2011). Workforce diversity is a great skill for Google Company leaders to the extent that its appropriate management results in increased workers’ attitude towards their job (Finkle 2012). Hence, their job satisfaction is affected positively. To the organization, this aspect is an immense advantage to its productivity since increased workforce morale impairs positively its profitability due to increased outputs.

Many scholarly studies provide evidence on the existence of a direct correlation between employee attendance, job performance, dedication, and perception of being valuable resources of an organization. For instance, Parvis (2003, p.38) states, ‘if management and team members fail to value women and minorities, company productivity will likely suffer as a consequence.’ This infers that mismanagement of workforce diversity translates to affecting an organization’s costs. In this context, organizations, which do not support the diversity that exists in their workplaces, are likely to plunge into expensive lawsuits and/or out-of-court settlements for reasons that are largely contributed by poor management of various aspects such as stereotype propagation, discrimination, and harassment. Additionally, such organizations are susceptible to costs that are linked to the replacement of employees (Ibarra & Hansen 2011).

The other company that has diversity as a major factor is Ernst and Young. Ernst and Young’s performance is partly due to the quality of diversity that the management holds special (Jacques 2013). A keen observation reveals how the company exemplifies the meaning of diversity in an organizational setting to enhance productivity. Diversity improves performance through the introduction of different capacities and capabilities in organizations. The strategy can increase sales level through the increased clientele. Indeed, managers can create homogeneity within work environments to facilitate the participation of all employees in driving the competitive advantage strategy. In this sense, managers ensure that diversity increases the problem-solving capabilities of their organizations in a bid to facilitate the realization of excellent results. Managers can run employee diversities in a manner that ensures the reduction of operational costs. Diversity within any organization is critical in terms of influencing an organization’s costs (Ibarra & Hansen 2011).

In conclusion, diversity is an important part of any organization. It is hard to avoid it in this age of globalization. Organizations may use the concept of diversity to enhance their productivity and/or increase their performance. Future managers and leaders should learn how to manage a diverse workforce for better results. Leaders also need to embrace the different capabilities introduced in organizations with a diverse workforce.

References

Finkle, A 2012, ‘Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Silicon Valley: The Case of Google, Inc’, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, vol. 36 no. 4, pp. 863-884.

Ibarra, H & Hansen, M 2011, ‘Are You a Collaborative Leader?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 89 no. 7/8, pp. 68-74.

Jacques, A 2013, ‘Holding yourself accountable: Ernst & Young’s Michelle Sing on communications and CSR’, Public Relations Tactics, vol. 20 no. 4, p. 10.

Leading in a Changing World 2013, video recording, Video Education Australasia, Bendigo, VIC, Web.

Parvis, L 2003, ‘Diversity and effective leadership in multicultural workplaces’, Journal of Environmental Health, vol. 65 no. 4, pp. 33-43.