How many of you remember the first day of your interview or, more precisely, the first day of your office or the get-together parties of your company? If you remember correctly, in your job interviews, you have noticed different people coming from different backgrounds and different points of view and approaches to problems. On the first day of your office, you have noticed a different group of people working together from different backgrounds or in your office parties and get-togethers. You may have noticed hosts trying to introduce one another and mix up different groups of people to make them comfortable with each other.

In today’s competitive world, many organizations and companies are trying to bring up new ideas and innovations to compete and stand out from their competitors. People may contribute differently to their respective companies or organizations for a competitive advantage. This creates diversity in the workplace, as people with the same ideology won’t think much differently from different groups of people with different ideologies. Due to this, there may be many difficulties faced by everyone in their workplace. The challenging part for all the employees comes out to be the challenge of handling work stress created by diversity in the workplace. The organization or company needs to practice some healthy management skills and effective techniques to manage diversity in the workplace.

What Is Meant By Diversity In The Workplace?

As you all know, diversity is the variety of differences between the workforce or employees of an organization or company. It not only involves the perseverance of people about themselves but also about others they are working with, as those perceptions may affect their interactions, working style, and methodologies. Also, there shouldn’t be any pre-judgment or discrimination among the employees.

Diversity in the workplace brings different perspectives, experiences, and skills that help an organization or a company to encourage innovation and creative approaches to work problems. At the same time, it makes employees and colleagues uncomfortable as their behavior, attitude towards work, way of looking at the world, ideology, and methodology rub or clash against each other. To avoid conflicts created by the difference, all companies and organizations need good management skills to adapt.

Diversity in the workplace will certainly increase as the organization, or the company needs to grow and innovate new ideas for business. It will be a challenge to many, but mostly it’s a challenge for managers and business owners. Therefore, an organization or a company needs to manage the diversity created in the workplace for the effective working of the workforce or the employees working in an organization or a company.

As a successful organization or a company, it is essential and a must to know how to manage diversity in the workplace to maintain peace and harmony among the employees and to keep out any charges of discrimination or employee relation matters or laws. Managing diversity isn’t about organizing rules and regulations or any other kind of training or programs but about tackling the daily challenges the employee faces.

Challenges Faced In Managing Diversity

Diversity management is not just about making numbers but also about how an organization treats its people authentically down the roots of its business. Diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative. The more the competition, the more important it is to tackle the challenges related to diversity management.

The problem is identifying the difference between knowing that an organization needs a diverse workforce and understanding how to manage diversity in the workplace.  The challenge of higher authority is to perceive every employee as an individual and know how one person can be managed cannot be the same as how another person is handled based on motivation, encouragement, embracing, and understanding.

Here are some of the challenges faced by an organization to manage diversity in the workplace:

Communication gap:

There can be a communication gap between employers and employees and among employees. It may include perceptual, cultural, and language barriers. This may lead to ineffective communication. An organization’s challenge is to check up on it and fill the gaps, if any otherwise, it may lead to confusion, lack of teamwork, low morale, and less output.

Resistance to change:

One of the main challenges for an organization to manage diversity in the workplace is to convince employees to change their work strategy. Some employees always resist changing their work style and will refuse to accept new social and cultural changes in their workplace.

Implementation of policies:

The company or the organization should check and look into the employees’ interests and benefits while regulating rules and implementing laws or policies. There should be a customized strategy to maximize workplace diversity’s positive effects.

Successful management:

The organization needs to take some initiatives to manage diversity in the workplace. Diversity training alone will not be sufficient for managing diversity in the workplace; effective and useful strategies must be adopted and implemented for every department of the organization and individual cultural diversity.

Assessment of the progress:

The organization must keep a record of the progress of the laws and policies implemented by them and how it is working for each employee and as a whole. By assessing the progress of the implemented rules and policies, the organization can better understand the process of managing diversity in the workplace and can change the terms and policies if required.

Willingness to embrace:

The greatest challenge for any organization is the willingness to embrace new ideas and the change of mind for a good cause. The organization should embrace each of its employees for their contributions to the organization or company.

Understanding others’ perspectives:

It’s another challenging task for higher authorities and leaders not just to give their point of view but also to look into other points of view. Many stubborn leaders don’t like to change their strategy while climbing the steps of success and ignore and silence new ideas and methodologies, leading to the inhibition of progress. Therefore, it is also important to intake new ideas for the organization’s progress.

Making diversity a part of the hiring:

There’s also a challenge of including diversity in the hiring process and not just selecting a particular group. Many employers ignore or leave diversity as a criterion for selecting their employees. But they should understand that diversity in the workplace is important for success.

Building connections through talented pipelines:

Diversity may only be encouraged if educated and talented people are hired and given a higher post to lead others. Talented employees can easily manage the diversity created in the workplace.

Aligning leadership with the organization’s goal:

While hiring employees for any organization, it is important to look into one’s leadership qualities and other qualities that decide a great leader. Employees with good leadership qualities can lead the respective organization to higher levels of success with diversity in the workplace.

Creating cultural and moral empathy:

One of the main challenges any organization or company faces is adding moral and empathetic values to their employees. This will also lead to a successful organization while managing diversity in the workplace.

Finding out the blindspot:

The leaders should be self-aware. The leaders should know how to tackle and figure out the solutions to the problem faced by the company. If one leader can’t find the solution, another should help him/her out. This is also a challenge faced by many organizations. If there’s diversity in the workplace, this problem will be easily handled, and leaders can work together without competition and discrimination.

Diversity needs to refresh every time:

It is obvious that workplace diversity must be refreshed as the interactions between the customers and the organization’s brand need connection. It is tough to replace or appoint new employees, but it is necessary for the connection between the consumers and the organizations, as well as the new faces, will bring innovations and new ideologies to the organizations.

What Are The Diversities In The Workplace

Diversity is anything that makes a person different from another. Diversities in the workplace may include the followings:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnic groups
  • Cognitive style
  • Backgrounds
  • Tenure
  • Nationality/ citizenship
  • Personalities
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Political affiliation/ opinions
  • Educations
  • Interests, etc.

Benefits Of Managing Diversity In The Workplace

Besides the challenges of managing diversity in the workplace, let us see more of the benefits and advantages of managing diversity in the workplace when managed properly:

  • It is beneficial to an organization in bringing up innovation.
  • Interactions of diverse people lead to expressing ideas and experiences, which are more fruitful to a company or any organization.
  • Brings about creativeness in critical thinking and the making of connective brands with customers.
  • Creativity and uniqueness in thinking help to connect with the target audience effectively.
  • Diversity in the workplace also increases the productivity of an organization.
  • It also helps in broadening and increasing the service range.
  • It can bring about effective executives in a company.
  • It helps in increasing customer satisfaction and improves interactions with the teams and clients.

Skills Needed To Manage Diversity In The Workplace

We have seen the benefits of diversity in the workplace when managed efficiently. These benefits also come into play if the leaders, as well as the employees, are skillful.

Managing diversity in the workplace needs some critical and interpersonal skills like

  • Creativity skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability skills
  • Flexibility skills
  • Management skills
  • Empathetic skills
  • Team-work
  • Listening skills
  • Helpfulness
  • Showing gratitude and
  • Confidence

Solutions To Manage Diversity In The Workplace

We have seen the benefits and challenges faced while managing diversity in the workplace. Organizations and companies need to take some efficient and effective steps to manage the challenges that come in the way of managing diversity in the workplace and also for human resource professionals who need to deal with issues such as adaptability, communication, and organizational changes.

Solutions for managing diversity in the workplace need great and critical leadership skills. Critical thinking for a leader also includes flexibility and embracing different views and creativity. Everyone can think of it, but there are very few to execute the skills. It is only if you include these skills in your habit you will be able to succeed as a good management leader.

The biggest mistake made by the managers is that they apply the same techniques and style of management to all employees, which may negatively impact the company’s morale values and poor management practices. These steps should not only be discussed but also should be implemented, practiced, and assessed from time to time.

Let us look into some of the effective solutions to manage diversity in the workplace:

  • Don’t be resistant to any change.
  • Built-up an attitude of openness for the exchange of thoughts and ideas and a sense of equality.
  • Promoting diversity in the leadership level or equal position. Hiring leaders who seek the same goals but with a different points of view opens up a new gate for progress.
  • Providing and utilizing sensitive and flexible diversity training.
  • Take efforts, conscious steps, and initiatives to understand one another and also to respect other colleagues.
  • Facilitate effective communications.
  • Encouraging interactions among colleagues as well as public interactions for better output and growth.
  • Identify your and others’ venerability, support each other, and embrace them all together.
  • Practice the act of appreciating everyone’s contributions.
  • Regular amendment in rules and policies of the organizations.
  • Spotting the problems and overcoming them together helps make sense of togetherness.
  • There shouldn’t be any communication gaps among colleagues.
  • Keep the workplace always in a positive environment.
  • Always take surveys and reports of employee satisfaction. Never reject any feedback from any employee, and always appreciate it.

Also, practice makes anyone perfect. So good management of diversity in the workplace requires a lot of practice and a positive attitude towards togetherness. Any organization progresses and succeeds only by making mistakes and correcting them from time to time. There is no perfect solution, only a perfect mind to cooperate and respect each other’s opinions.

More Tips On Diversity Management

  • Maintain a library so the employees can refer to any of the company’s policies and know more about diversity in the workplace. So that employees can be open-minded.
  • Always remember to include diversity in the hiring process and consider one’s vulnerability.
  • Refresh diversity whenever needed as new faces help in a better connection.
  • Always be open to creative collaborations.
  • Consider and think through others’ points of view also.

Future Of Diversity And Its Management In The Workplace

As we have seen what diversity is in the workplace, its benefits, challenges, and management related to it, we shall also consider its future as it is an emerging field in business. Now it is a little less significant, but in the future, it will play a major role and be a deciding factor for most companies and organizations.

CDOs (Chief Diversity Officers) may soon be appointed in almost every organization to look into the management of diversity in the workplace and check for peace and harmony among employees and colleagues. As the diversity management begins to increase rapidly, more skilled CDOs will be required for good strategies, social responsibilities, the effectiveness of an organization’s products, and public relationships.

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