Managing diversity is more than simply good management of human resource. For an organization to succeed and maintain a competitive advantage, it must be able to draw the most from the skills of its workforce (Arredondo & Arredondo 1996). Top executives should therefore be involved in attracting and retaining the best and most qualified workers. They should motivate employees to contribute to organization’s goals, develop and employ necessary policies and procedures that enable them recognize and capitalize upon the diversity in workforce (Diversity task force report 2000).
A cross-cultural and multicultural workforce is a common thread globally due to advancement in technology, globalization and internationalization of businesses. This has enhanced the significance of workforce diversity and the need for diversity management. Discussion Diversity needs to be broadly defined to encompass all initiatives aimed at meeting the changing needs of customers and workers.
Diversity should therefore, be viewed not only as addressing issues of race, ethnic or gender differences, but also encompassing individual characteristics that affect how individuals think and do things. According to the Diversity task force report (2000), diversity includes all characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals. To utilize its human capital an organization should not only create a diverse workforce, but also realize benefits of diversity climate.
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Diversity policies should be aligned with an organization’s mission to increase employees’ satisfaction, retention, responsiveness and competitiveness (Diversity task force report 2000). A diversity climate is beneficial to organizations. It enables organizations to attract and retain quality employees leading to effective delivery of services and increase in customer loyalty. Diverse composition of workforce also present challenges to human resource managers and top executives.
To benefit from the diversity of its workforce, an organization should expand its outlook and use creative strategies. This requires more than just good human resource management. Top executives should commit to diversity by integrating it into all business processes and core values. They should clearly and concisely communicate diversity mission, vision and strategic direction to all stakeholders with the aim of promoting dialog and minimizing resistance.
Communication helps stakeholders in understanding and appreciating the importance of diversity in creating a fair employment system and its benefits to them and the organization. Diversity should therefore be a top priority in an organization and personal responsibility of top executives because of its importance (Diversity task force report 2000). The responsibility for diversity should not be left to human resource managers only; senior executives should provide visibility, leadership and commitment for diversity efforts to succeed.
Employees can be a source of creativity if managed properly. The human resource department should therefore put measures in place to ensure that talents and abilities of all workers are used for the benefit of the organization as a whole. In collaboration with top executives it should formulate and enforce practices that achieve and value workforce diversity within an organization with an understanding that this is critical in enhancing productivity, effectiveness, and maintaining competitive advantage (Arredondo & Arredondo 1996).
Human resource management with support from top executives and other stakeholders should therefore strive to formulate ways of drawing the varied skills of a workforce. For this diversity efforts to succeed everyone in the organization should therefore be involved. Top executives should be responsible for the success of diversity policies and initiatives by ensuring that the policies are effective. Their performance evaluation and compensation should be based on the successful implementation of the diversity initiatives.
They should incorporate the diversity policies into every aspect of an organization’s functions and goals. The diversity policies and strategies should have well defined methods of assessing success and evaluating whether their outcomes support an organization’s objectives and goals. Assessing and evaluating diversity processes should therefore be an integral part of management (Diversity task force report 2000). Diversity initiatives should involve all stakeholders in developing and maintaining effective and acceptable diversity policies.
Employees should be supported and taught on how to effectively interact and manage people in diverse workplace. They should be encouraged to continue learning new skills in dealing and managing people in a diversity climate. Thus both leaders and employees should play active roles in implementing diversity processes which should be aligned to the organization’s core goals and objective (Gubman 2004, p. 22) Diversity initiatives should be linked to strategic planning in an organization.
There should be measurable ways in which diversity can support strategies, goals and objectives of an organization. Diversity initiatives should therefore be well conceptualized, specific and linked to an organization’s strategic plan. They should be aligned with and support business strategies, objectives and operational decisions to ensure that everyone is actively involved in the diversity process (Gubman 2004, p. 19) Conclusion As organizations implement diversity initiatives, human resource managers play critical roles.
However for the initiatives to be successful they should collaborate with top executives in formulating the policies and addressing challenges brought by diversity in a workforce. Human resource managers and top executives should ensure that organization’s strategic plans, cultural diversity requirements and human resource requirements are put into consideration when implementing diversity initiatives. Human resource managers should also collaborate with line managers in formulating methods of integrating the employees’ profiles and workforce skills into the organization’s culture.
This requires human resource managers to understand the business of the organization and ensure that human resource issues are put into consideration when formulating the organization’s strategic plans. Diversity management is therefore more than good human resource management as it should be linked to strategic planning, integrated into all business processes and core values and involves all stakeholders in an organization. Reference List
Arredondo, P & Arredondo, P. M 1996, Successful diversity management initiatives: a blueprint for planning and implementation, Sage press, Thousand oaks, CA. Diversity task force report 2000, Best Practices in Achieving Workforce Diversity, viewed July 23, 2010, http://govinfo. library. unt. edu/npr/initiati/benchmk/workforce-diversity. pdf Gubman, E 2004, 'HR strategy and planning: From birth to business result', Human Resource Planning, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 13-23.
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