The global workplace has made diversity a significant issue. Companies have to adjust how they operate so they can accommodate the diverse customer base that is growing. It is important for any organization to consist of employees who can bring different skills, abilities, and culture to workplace. Developing effective intercultural communication within the workplace will allow the connection between employees and customers with different cultural backgrounds and languages. Introduction In today’s society, a diverse workforce is needed to accommodate the different multicultural backgrounds that make it up.
The value of diversity in a workplace is important because of the different sets of skills and backgrounds a company has to offer when trying to solve conflicts and provide effective solutions. This paper will recap an incident that happened at an insurance agency because of the lack of diversity, along with the ramifications, and strategies that may have facilitated a more successful resolution. Diversity issue in the workplace I have experienced how lack of diversity in the workplace can cause conflict for the organization. A few years back I worked for an insurance agency in south Louisiana.
The agency consisted of the head agent and owner, who is a male, and four women who worked for him, to include myself. One day a Hipic couple came in to purchase some insurance policies for their home and vehicles. The issue was the couple spoke only Spanish. The percentage of Hipics in south Louisiana was very low at the time and there was not a high demand for bilingual employees who spoke Spanish. Because of the lack of diversity in the office, none of the employees spoke fluent Spanish to help the potential new customers. The employees who knew a little Spanish tried to communicate as best they could but to no avail.
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The couple became very angry at the insurance agency’s poor attempt to communicate with them. They left the office outraged and stated that would never recommend this company to anyone. Ramifications As a result of this lack of diversity in the insurance agency, the agency itself, employees, and potential customers were impacted. The agency lost a customer and revenue because of a lack of diversity in the office. Not only did the company lose one customer but also the potential of future customers that may be recommended from the couple.
This issue left the employees upset and stressed about not being able to help a customer. Since the start of business the agency has been a customer- oriented company, and has taken pride in providing the best customer service in the area. This situation left the owner distraught because he lost potential income for his business. To make matters worse, the couple filed a complaint against the agency for not having a bilingual employee in the office. The agency had never received a negative complaint for customer service.
Strategies. Diversity in the workplace can help companies avoid unnecessary issues in the workplace. Diversity also gives the company leverage over their competitors. In smaller companies a lack of diversity is almost inevitable, but if approached in the right way it can be avoided. The diversity issue the insurance agency was faced with could have been resolved if the agency had been aware of the influx of the Hipic population in south Louisiana. In order to stay ahead of the competition, the agency should have kept up on the different types of people moving into the area.
In order for the insurance agency to address the lack of diversity for the possibility of future occurrences, the hiring protocol the agency follows will need to be modified. “A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e. g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis” (Greenburg, 2004). The possible issue that may arise from this protocol is finding a qualified person with this skill. This approach though would not benefit the agency right away because of the low turn around of employees and the low number of employees the agency is able to keep employed.
Another way to address the issue would be for the insurance agency to pay for at least one, if not all, of the employees to attend a class that teaches the Spanish language. This task may be hard for the insurance agency to complete because of funding and for the employees because of extra time needed to attend the class. For the future, this type of training would benefit the insurance agency by increasing the potential number of customers it can provide a service to. Conclusion Diversity is becoming a necessity in the workplace in today’s global working environment.
A multicultural society forces companies to employ a diverse workforce so they can adapt “to fluctuating markets and customer demands” (Greenburg, 2004). Having a diverse workforce will appeal to a larger diverse customer base that will benefit the growth for any company.
Greenberg, J. (2004). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions. The Multicultural Advantage: Career Management and Job Info for Professionals from Diverse Backgrounds. Retrieved from http://www. multiculturaladvantage. com/recruit/diversity/Diversity-in-the-Workplace-Benefits-Challenges-Solutions. asp
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