Managing Equality and Diversity in the Workplace
Opportunities of Diversity and Equality in the Workplace
Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace refers to recognizing, understanding, consenting, appreciating, and celebrating the dissimilarities amongst individuals with respect to their age, social class, culture, sex, capability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. Globalization is always advancing, thus requiring more collaboration and communication among individuals from various beliefs, cultures, and backgrounds than before. Currently, individuals do not live and work in a parochial market; instead, they are part of a global economy that is facing competition from about every continent. Thus, organizations require diversity in order to become more innovative and receptive to change. According to Esty, Richard, and Marcie (1995), exploiting and making the most out of diversity in the workplace has become an imperative issue for organizational management today. This paper defines diversity and equality in the context of workplace and describes associated opportunities and challenges.
Equality in the workplace is about impartiality or fairness and giving every individual a chance to participate in organizational development, and the opportunity to accomplish their potential. The Society for Human Resource Management (1998) holds that equality comes about through eliminating prejudice and discrimination. Equality reinforces accomplishment in the workplace since it goes further than just providing equal opportunities for all. It includes a promise to providing every individual with services that are of equal value to all, and understanding that this could mean providing different services to different individuals in order to accommodate their diverse needs. Both terminologies of equality and diversity have often been used interchangeably regarding the workplace. The two aspects of equality and diversity in the workplace are multifaceted and they include more than just embracing the dissimilarities amongst individuals and the equality elements protecting particular individuals from racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability, religion, gender, and age factors (Esty, Richard, and Marcie, 1995).
Managing Equality and Diversity in the Workplace
From conformation to inclusion, the idea of workplace equality and diversity is evolving. Workplace equality and diversity have assumed a new face and are much different from, for instance, what they were a few decades ago. Today, workplace equality and diversity are no longer exclusively about antidiscrimination complaisance—they now focus on inclusion and the effect on the outcome. Leveraging workplace equality and diversity is progressively understood as a spirited strategic reserve for competitive advantage. For that reason, Cornelius (2002) thinks, equality and diversity in the workplace need to be managed effectively to bring about the benefits that they are expected to produce.
There are numerous types of tools that organizations can employ in the workplace in order implement equality and diversity policies, and assess the effect of diversity and equality initiatives. For equality and diversity initiatives to succeed in the workplace, they ought not to be introduced as separate practices and policies, left for either a human resource department or managers to implement and manage. The triumph of equality and diversity initiatives rely on on their incorporation into the organization’s approach and culture. This way, they the two aspects can shape the manner in which business in the workplace is undertaken and the manner in which individuals in the workplace operate. Gale and Davidson (2006) hint that management of practices and policies that relate to equality and diversity conform to an organization’s viewpoints on the corporate social responsibilities and thus, these policies and practices become entrenched in the values behind the manner in which the organization operates. Consequently, the policies and practices of equality and diversity in the workplace become part of the picture represented to current employees, the prospective employees, and the public at large.
Opportunities of Diversity and Equality in the Workplace
Embracing equality and diversity is fueled by a number of anticipated opportunities, including these six reasons that enable organizations meet their strategic goals and objectives: First, equality and diversity contribute to greater compliance and flexibility in the ever-evolving marketplace. Second, the two attract and the best talent. Third, they help an organization in gaining and keeping new local and global market share with customers from diverse background (Cornelius 2002). Fourth, they enhance return on investment (ROI) from different policies, initiatives, and practices. Fifth, they help organizations to reduce e associated with low productivity, turnover, and absenteeism. Finally, based on the five benefits, equality and diversity in the workplace lead to increased sales and proceeds. Therefore, workplace diversity can be seen as having direct as well as indirect impacts on the bottom line (Cañas and Sondak 2011; Karsten 2006).
Diversity and equality in the workplace can be advantageous to both associates and the employers of the organization as they can help in reducing many lawsuits that face organizations arising from claims of workplace discrimination issues. At the same time, upholding diversity and equality in the workplace can help to increase the marketing opportunities of an organization, its recruitment, ingenuity, and its business image, and is vital for the success of an organization (Bach and Sisson, 2000). Equality and diversity in the workplace also contributes to a broader range of services from the diverse sets of experiences and skills such as languages, and understanding of cultures can allow an organization to provide service to its clients on a worldwide basis. In addition, they provide varied viewpoints, because the workforce feels at ease contributing their different viewpoints, hence providing a bigger pool of experiences and ideas. Organizations can get ideas for the large pool to meet the needs of their clients, and their business strategic needs in a more effective manner.
Diversity and equality in the workplace increases flexibility, helping organizations capable of supplying their clientele with a greater variability of solutions to various challenges from sourcing, servicing, to resource allocation. In addition, since the workforce is from different backgrounds, they each contribute individual experiences and talents and propose ideas that are adaptable to the changing markets and demands of customer. Organizations that promote equality and diversity in their workplace motivate all of their workers to perform to their utmost capability (Hubbard 2004). This ensures that organization-wide strategies be executed in better ways; ensuing higher productivity in the organization, higher profits and return on investment.
Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace
Due to the nature of the two matters, organizations experience various challenges in realizing equality and diversity. Karsten (2006) notes that many organizations realize that managing diversity is more than just recognizing differences in individuals—it involves acknowledging the significance of differences, avoiding discrimination, and pushing for inclusiveness. Therefore, the first challenge is having the right perspective about equality and diversity (Karsten 2006). The second challenge is managers losing personnel and expiring reduced work productivity because of prejudice and discrimination as well as complaints and legal battles against their organizations. Besides, negative attitudes and demeanors can be roadblocks to organizational equality and diversity since they are highly likely to harm working relationships and affect self-esteem, hence reducing work productivity (Smith 2011). In other words, managers may find it challenging addressing such negative attitudes and demeanors as prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping, especially in relation to termination, retention, and hiring practices (Lengnick-Hall, Gaunt and Collison 2003). In these contexts, these negative attitudes and demeanors could result in costly litigation.
Equality And Diversity Initiatives In The Workplace
Equality and diversity initiatives in the workplace is link to business performance. Due to concept of equality and diversity value chain provides connections between investing in equality and diversity initiatives with the employee and employer results. The workplace has many demographic changes, these are, increased number of single parent families, increase aged population, people with physical disability, religious backgrounds, different cultures, sexual orientation, and greater levels of immigration (Aronson, 2012). U.K. statistics indicate that about one out of every five people in the U.K. is discriminated and one out of every three are completely women. During the principal employable years, 70% of people in the U.K. are men and have employment or a corporate equated with 67% of those who are women and 30 % of those whose disability is bad. The occupation rate of women remained constant in the 1980s.
The United Kingdom legislation requires that the public improves equality in the workplace. This help organization to meet their legal duties on equality and diversity. These legal issues that organization has to make sure that they follow are race, gender, and disability. Equality and diversity refer to defining the diversity, equality, and human rights that define the values of the company, in this instance it requires that every individual receives an equal opportunity in attaining their full potential that is detached from whatever kind of discrimination or prejudice. Equality and diversity in the organizational form the ground of being inclusive. This is important for employers to keep updated on the most current legal developments, and keep equality and diversity in the constitution by paying all employees equal. Due to this help has seen woman make up 47% of the UK workforce in 2013. The Equality Act specifies that employers must be inclusive by removing barriers that might affect both recruitment and progression at the work place. These barriers that might be imposed by the organization includes social backgrounds, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities, age, gender, race, marital or parental status, gender identity and transgender issues (Aronson, 2012).
The legal requirements eliminate unlawful sexual discrimination, therefore the Commission of Equality and Human Rights (EHRC) is an independent human rights body in the United Kingdom that advocates for equality and diversity at the workplace. The main mandate of this commission is to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, promote and protect human rights, and strengthens good relations among people. It is, therefore, imperative that employers must eliminate all forms of discrimination within the entire job cycle, by creating and implementing policies and practices within the organization that promotes equal opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Moreover, the Equality Act came into play in October 2010. In this act it requires employers to enhance equality and diversity at the work place with the main aim of bringing the past legislation, as well as, strengthening the equality and diversity laws in addition to new policies. Failure to comply with the Equality Act bears serious consequences for employers. The Equality laws also targets training and promotion practices of the organization, as well as, pay structures, flexible working conditions, and facilities given to the employees (Aronson, 2012).
The main aspects of the current legislation requirements and codes of practice for equality and diversity policy at the workplace, are the retail market sector for a company that sets the guidelines and codes that help organizations to promote equality and diversity, as well as, tackling discrimination at the work place and meeting the diverse needs of the customers that the company serves. The implications of the guidance and codes of practice that relate to equality and diversity in specific industry sectors include commitment to all the principle of diversity and equality, on top of, observing all the legislative requirements of the Equality Act. The other implication would be meeting all the diverse needs of the local communities and clients that the organization serves, plus, the need to implement, evaluate, monitor, and update the equality and diversity policy at the workplace. These guidance and codes of practice also require the organization to show how it intends to ensure equality and diversity with respect to the employees, customers, and other third party stakeholders. The other implication is that the organization must identify an individual within the company who has the sole responsibility for the equality and diversity policy, as well as, its effective implementation. The organization must also show it deals with various issues and complaints that regard equality and diversity. The implications also include the requirements that no employee unlawfully discriminates in dealing with other employees, customers, and potential customers, as well as, other key stakeholders (Holden, 2011).
Other standard terms of the equality and diversity policy require the organization to provide the clients and employees with the equality and diversity information, which helps it to meet the statutory obligations, as well as, assisting the Justice Ministry to take into account the issues relating to equality and diversity needs, which also affects how the organization makes decisions relating to the policy, and administering the legal aid. The legal aid should also provide a new job applicants with the relevant information, and must include the arrangements the organization has in place regarding how this information is collected and used. This also affects the customer service, communication's plans, sub-contracting, and having good work place practices (Holden, 2011).
Shareholder demands dictate the organization's external environment and gives the organizations expectations that relate to customer satisfaction and reputation, which is related to increased sales and profitability. The organization's image among the stakeholders is significant, and if there exists some kind of deviation from this vision, it makes most shareholders to withdraw. For instance in Nike Company golfers had a scandal that the company was sponsoring, Tiger Woods' behavior made the company make public apologies since this incident put a dent on the company's public image and reputation (Urwin, Michielsens & Waters, 2009).
Pierce (2009) argued that stiff competition can stifle an entity, and this may prompt the stakeholders to either pump in more capital or withdraw, especially when there is intense media coverage about equality and diversity related issue in the organization. Media coverage that gives the shareholders reason for concern should prompt the management to trade carefully, as the media pronouncement can either promote or jeopardize the organization efforts in achieving both its long term and short term goals. Shareholders are usually individuals or groups of individuals who are engaged in other responsibilities and duties outside the organization, and rarely have time examining the equality and diversity in employment of the organization's human resources. However, they have expectations that their organization promotes equality and diversity at the workplace, and, therefore, they will support equality and diversity at the work place in order to calm down negative media coverage. They also need equality and diversity initiative at the work place in order for the company to compete favorably. This implies that issues of equality and diversity at the workplace are equally important to the stakeholders as it is important for the organization in achieving its goals and improving affirmative corporate image.
Gaining commitment to equality and diversity within the organization involves opening all the communication channels through social networking, and application of the electronic and traditional media. This will enable people to share knowledgeable ideas, as well as, search for long lasting solutions in the organization. Information communication and technology has enormously changed and transformed traditional leadership styles into more effective modern leadership styles, together with innovative leadership skills. Business managers who make use of effectual leadership styles need to augment the communication channels with feedback channels, which allows people concerned to make more sober decisions that might positively influence the performance of the organization. This will also enable solid and sound communication plans to be put in place, that will help the manifestos and the organization's strategies to be geared towards achieving the organization's objectives and goals is appropriately implemented (Aronson, 2012; Huffman, Cohen & Pearlman, 2010).
Business leaders and managers should, therefore, make concise plans if they need positive transformational changes. Incorporating the organization's plan for equality and diversity at the workplace merges ideas from diverse backgrounds, which help in effective team building approaches to the organization's management (Tathi, 2009). The communication flows should also be included in the organization's plan, which should help employees and other stakeholders to work towards achieving the organization's goals and objectives (Armstrong et al. 2009).
The employees also need to comprehend and understand what the management expects of them since most plans are futuristic. The plans need to be reviewed periodically in order to contain volatile entries into the plan, as well as, keeping the people concerned to learn and embrace the changes and implementing new strategies as they come (Barbosa & Cabral-Cardoso, 2010). The business managers must conduct regular research in order to understand the environment that they are operating in and this plan should be in sync with the organizational culture, which embraces a commitment and team building initiatives for equality and diversity purposes in the work place (Aronson, 2012). Analyzing the policies and procedures that ensure equality and diversity at the workplace; requires complying with the legislative provisions, and the prevailing labor laws that support human resource development function. These policies promote the concept that each employee in the organization should be able to live comfortably and be paid sufficient salaries that take care of all their needs, which enables them to be motivated hence high performance. Equality and diversity policies and procedures in the organization should be geared to employee protection from any anti equality and diversity, as well as, having a comfortable working environment. This would ensure that the employees perform in ways that support achieving the organization's goals by being productive by abiding by the equality and diversity policies that the organization has put in place (Urwin, Michielsens & Waters, 2009).
Aronson (2012) commented that other organizations formulates their codes of corporate governance, as well as, codes of conduct which the workers must follow, while, on the other hand, the organization must motivate the employees top adhere to these codes of practice in equality and diversity. These procedures must apply to all the individuals of the organization in order to create an environmentally friendly atmosphere to develop and enhance team building through equality and diversity (Tengesen, 2009). Every individual in the organization should be prepared for the organizational changes depending on the nature of the task, and level of performance expected. The changes should be directed towards a desired outcome that enhances equality and diversity for mergers, increase in personnel, promotions, and efficient use of organization's resources (Klarsfeld, 2010).
Training of staff members is very important for the organization in relation to communicating commitment, policies and procedures. This is a change to the employees of the organization and in order to ensure that they take it positively, the employees of the organization need to be communicated about it in order to be able to accept the change hence getting committed into achieving the objectives that come with the changes (Van et al., 2009).
Barak (2013) asserts that raising awareness of the employees is also very crucial for their acceptance of change as well as feeling the atmosphere of equality the organization. Employers of the organization need to ensure that there are equality and diversity in among the employees. The same case applies to stakeholders of the organization.
Communication is a key component of stakeholder engagement and involves being honest and open about the planned activities and objectives of the commitment, policies, and procedures (White et al., 2014). The company may consider the employee due to the following communication with the stakeholder engagement plan that involves identifying the purpose of the engagement, identifying the stakeholder groups to be involved in the communication model, and conducting informing and monitoring strategies for active collaboration and consultation. The engagement communication must be selected such as the telephone, internet, broadcast, video conference, and any appropriate mixer of these mediums (MOR Borak, 2009; Whiteet al. 2014).
In conclusion, the specific time frames must be identified for each stage of the engagement communication process, in order to facilitate the type of engagement, which could be through debates, mediation, or conventions. The next step is to identify the method of engagement such as focus groups, surveys, online forums, local representatives, public meetings, road shows, stakeholder panels, and partnerships that include collaborative projects, alliances, ventures, and initiatives. Finally, it is also important to measure and evaluate the success of the communication process.
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