A Multicultural Workplace A multicultural workplace refers to a group of individuals who represent all types of human difference gathered to achieve a common goal, which is the organization or company’s mission. For some, a multicultural organization may refer to their workplace as such, due to the variation of individuals’ age, sex, ethnicity, physical abilities, and even sexual orientation. Additionally, the diversity among this workforce is likely to be considered such based on its employees racial, social and ability characteristics.
The scope of diversity within an organization should go beyond the personal characterizes listed here. The scope of diversity within an organization should include the way an organization responds to their multicultural workforce. The times of suppressing cultural differences, which forced individuals to sacrifice parts of their heritage in order to obtain gainful employment, is becoming outdated. Today, conforming to the majority culture of this western society is becoming less and less of an issue, and thankfully so.
Originally, multicultural initiatives, beginning in the late 1960’s, where associated with race and gender. Today, all differences are encompassed in organization based multicultural or diversity programs with the expectation that all employees become cultural competent and embrace cultural awareness. That is if an organization has created such programs. At Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI), multicultural and diversity programs do exist. The organization has created a climate of cultural inclusion, incorporating genuine value for diversity within the workplace and among employees.
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The organizations diversity initiatives are strengthened by annual culture training, communication, a Diversity Team, and mentoring programs for both internal clients and staff and throughout the community. Cultural training courses are conducted annually for each department within the organization. In addition, MCFI conducts a “Cultures Week” event each year in celebration of culture and diversity reaching out to all employees and the community. The vision of the MCFI Diversity Team and the agency as a whole is to “be the benchmark of diversity and inclusion among nonprofit agencies in Southeastern Wisconsin.
MCFI will be the organization from which clients want to receive services, for which funders want to provide support, where vendors want to do business and employees see diverse opportunities” (MCFI, 2012). The team’s goals include a commitment to understanding what diversity is and its impact on the workplace and the community (MCFI, 2012). The Diversity Team also works to increase appreciation for richness, which is brought by different attitudes, skills sets, abilities, approaches, and perspectives, as well as promoting cooperation and an understanding of and among individuals of diverse backgrounds.
Communication tools have also been created for greater understanding and knowledge of diversity through innovative and creative management. MCFI and the Diversity Team collaborate with other community agencies and businesses throughout the Milwaukee area to spread an understanding of diversity and the vision of MCFI (MCFI, 2012). The managerial principles behind the Milwaukee Center for Independence Diversity Team include members that represent a cross-section of the organization, which is structured to reflect the agency wide culture.
In addition, the Diversity Team and its Director, Al Hill, have developed tracking systems to watch and ensure the progress of the agency and team mission, vision, and goals, such as the community outreach programs. Further, the team stays linked with key agency internal and external functions, such as within Human Resources, communication, and training and development team’s agency wide. MCFI was recognized for its achievements in the area of diversity within the workforce. MCFI won the 2009 Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Association of Equal Opportunity.
In addition, MCFI was honored with the 2010 Wisconsin State Society for Human Resource Management’s Workplace Diversity Award. MCFI goes far beyond mere diversity training, expanding to the creation of an inclusive work environment. MCFI’s dedication to diversity in the workplace encourages creative thinking. The agencies clients and employees represent a full spectrum of ages, disabilities, education levels, ethnicities, religions, experiences, sexual orientation, gender, opinions, beliefs, and races.
MCFI considers diversity as not just a moral obligation, but visions it as imperative to the success of the organization, which is reaching as many individuals and families with special needs as possible. The MCFI Diversity Team includes internal employees as well as individuals from its affiliates and community agencies. The main objective of MCFI and the Diversity Team is to be the main point of reference for inclusion and diversity among non-profit agencies throughout the immediate and outlying communities.
Additional visions of MCFI are to be the premier agency for client, vender, and employee choice in regards to services, business affiliation, and employment opportunity. I am confident in saying that MCFI is an excellent place to feel welcome, allowing myself and others to express their individuality. MCFI also allows each employee and client to learn about what makes others different, yet similar, and supporting the acceptance of all human difference. One of the positive impacts of MCFI diversity initiatives is the opportunity given to everyone to see things from different perspectives.
Their voice and perspectives are heard in a safe, nonjudgmental, and bias free environment. Working with others with different attitudes, beliefs, and values provide an outstanding opportunity to expand individual knowledge, which only assists to better service the clients of the agency. Along with increased diversity comes an increase in different perspectives providing unique viewpoints for problem solving as well as co-worker and client interaction. At times, there may be barriers in effectively creating a diverse workplace.
It is essential to incorporate diversity programs into the company or organizations strategic plan. Further, diversity training should also be tied into a company’ vision, goals, and objectives. In order to execute diversity training and awareness successfully, an organization or company must clearly communicate the main objectives of diversity training; establish a means of reinforcement and metrics to measure the effectiveness. In addition, a company or organization must include both minority and majority groups in strategic planning and implementation of a diversity program.
I have seen and read much information on diversity and cultural training within the organization I am employed. The organization keeps its employees engaged in diversity training throughout the year. Monthly conferences are available on site to all internal staff and community guests. Conferences include topics such as the understanding of specific types of behavioral health issues and disabilities. Additionally, guest speakers come throughout Hipic, African American, and Hmong Culture Awareness months. The opportunities to engage in and open up to awareness of different cultures at MCFI are endless.
Issues and problems within the diverse workplace of MCFI are handled with an understanding that individuals are different. Employees of the organization are single mothers and fathers, individuals with disabilities, student’s health issues, and all from different religious, ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds and heritage. I have personal experience issues that I needed to address with management. As a full time student and a full time employee, who believe in the importance of family and work/life balance, the organization listened to my need for time off and alternate schedules to accommodate my life.
Flexibility in the work place also allows for such things as difference cultural rituals and holiday celebrations that are outside the norm of western culture. I believe it is crucial for companies and organizations to consider an individual’s differences to allow for some flexibility concerning individual culture differences and life changes. With that, employees remain happy in the work place and continue to work toward the company's mission and continue to be a productive team member. References MCFI. (2012). Diversity mission and vision. Retrieved from http://www. mcfi. net/MCFI-Diversity/Mission-Vision. htm
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