The concept of diversity entails accepting and respecting every individual in the organization and understanding that every person is unique. It encompasses the understanding of individual differences such ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, political beliefs, socio-economic status, and other ideologies. Work place diversity refers to the assortment of differences between individuals in a company. It encompasses workers from different backgrounds, ages, personalities, education and cultures backgrounds. The work place diversity is not just how individuals perceive themselves, but how they interact with others. How individuals perceive themselves affects how they interact with other staffs. Currently, the work has become a global village where flow of labor across boundaries is at its highest. People in organizations hail from all lifestyles, some who even have language barriers, yet they have to interact and unite at work for organization’s success (Mattiske, 2012). Moreover, these interactions affect the entire organizational behavior. For proper organizational behavior, human resource personnel have to deal with issues like communication, change and adoptability.
Diversity management is a human resource process aimed at creating and maintaining positive, working atmosphere where differences and similarities of all individuals feel valued. These processes ensure that employees maximize their contributions and reach their potentials as they work towards the achievement of a company’s strategic goals and objectives.
Diversity at work places helps staffs to adopt the culture of increased productivity. When an organization employs staffs from different backgrounds, the staff benefits financially since there productivity increases. Employing from various backgrounds gives companies a wide pool of candidates and it is able to pick only the smartest ones in the pool. Highly educated people also get the chance to apply for jobs in such companies bringing on board their valuable skills. Studies show that having smart employees in a company has a direct impact on its productivity. Moreover, a diverse company allows minority groups and women to apply for the positions, allowing them to capitalize on the untapped potential held by such people (Mattiske, 2012). This encourages staffs to develop the culture of doing their best to be a part of the productive team. This, in turn, shapes the behavior of the staffs in the organization.
Work place diversity fosters mutual respect among the staffs. Whether, staffs work in teams or groups of colleagues with different work styles, or coworkers who come from different generations or cultural backgrounds, a synergetic atmosphere for working becomes the norm. Staffs are able to appreciate the fact that different people have different talents, and having a people with those varied talents adds to the organization’s success. Moreover, diversity allows people to have an open mind and since they have interacted with people who think and act differently. In addition, staffs from such companies learn to appreciate other people’s viewpoints and opinions. Eventually, they learn to accept and respect each other.
Diversity also assists in conflict resolution, because conflicts in an organization with a group of people with different perspectives of life are inevitable. However, staffs working in diverse atmosphere recognize and acknowledge that people have many differences, but they also find common similarities like goals and objectives of the organization, production and quality (Konrad, 2006). The ability to deal with the conflicts minimizes the possibility of liabilities that would arise from employees’ complaints. These complaints would otherwise escalate to formal matters like litigations. Diversity, thus, preserves quality of colleagues’ relations with their co-workers and their managers.
Workplace diversity is crucial for organizational behavior since it reveals itself in building a sound reputation for the organization. This leads to increased productivity and opportunities for the staffs. Business reputation also flourishes when an organization demonstrates its devotion to diversity through aggressive recruitment and outreach efforts. A company known for its fair employment policies, appreciation of diverse talent and healthy workplace ethics is likely to attract a wide pool of talented staff, which ensures increases, and quality productivity. This, in turn, attracts customer loyalty, since customers choose to interact with companies that have fair employment practices. Customer loyalty, in turn, results to increased productivity and increased sales. Employees, in return, get other rewards like bonuses and salary increment. This promotes the culture for regard for quality production (D’Almeida, 2007).
Work place diversity gives an opportunity for interaction among people of different backgrounds, thus, fostering unity. For example, a multinational company, which draws its staffs from all over the globe. Such staffs come from diverse cultural background, different religious background and distinct racial backgrounds. When such staffs join, they form the organizational culture while still maintaining the various cultural backgrounds (Konrad, 2006). However, the organizational cultures play dominance over all the other cultures. Staffs are also able to learn other languages helpful in interacting with other staffs. This allows staffs to coexist peacefully in the organizations.
Diversity at work places exposes staffs to different backgrounds and enable staffs learn other people’s cultures, beliefs, norms and values. Staffs are able to learn from the co-workers, whose attitudes to life, perceptions and working styles are distinct from their own. This is mostly true for staffs who work in multigenerational work environments. Traditional-generation staffs learn new processes and technology from staffs belonging to the tech-savvy millennial generation. Likewise, the generation X staff gets to learn from interactions with the assertive, enterprising person generation Y staffs. Eventually, staffs are able to learn a lot from each other, and sometimes, they learn things that can never be learnt in class. This eliminates the behaviors where certain staffs feel that they know everything and cannot learn anything from anyone else.
Companies with work place diversity are more customer-focused, and this shapes the behavior of staffs in the company. Companies are also able to attain reputation of being fair to the minority groups in the community. Potential and existing customers feel highly valued when an organization recognizes their individual differences. For instance, an Asian-American feels valued and is more likely to patronize a business if it hires people from their ethnic group (D’Almeida, 2007). Moreover, customers whose first language is not English would feel appreciated and valued if the company has staffs that are able to communicate in their native language. Consequently, the staff develops the culture of customer focus, which in turn shapes the organizational behavior.
Decades ago, companies found it hard to incorporate people from minority groups and people from other cultural backgrounds. However, companies since realized that diversity has a lot of benefits ranging from increased productivity, reduced law suits due to employee conflicts, increased mutual respect, fostered business reputation and tapped potentials from and improve organizational efficiency (Mattiske, 2012). Workplaces today are a reflection of a mix of cultures, races, religions, educational levels, minorities and the majorities. These diversity issues have a great impact on organizational behaviors, and human resource departments should establish policies and practices that will allow inclusiveness where all the staffs feel valued, respected and appreciated. The department should ensure that worker’s efforts are recognized and rewarded, regardless of their backgrounds. Of course, there are challenges in trying to incorporate diversity since traditional employees will resist it, but companies should endeavor and invest in benefits that come with diversity.
D’Almeida, C.M. (2007). The Effects of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace. New York:
Konrad, A.M. (2006). Handbook of Workplace Diversity. Washingtoin: Sage.
Mattiske, C. (2012). Understanding and Managing Diversity. London: AudioInk.