According to the independent think-tank Center for American Progress, national diversity has resulted in a diverse workforce. Specifically, people of color now make up almost one-third of the American workforce. Almost half of the labor force is made up of women, who account for 47 percent of the workforce. However, only four percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are people of color, and only three percent are female. Below examine diversity in the workplace for both upper level and lower level employees.
The Importance of Diversity
The concept of diversity goes beyond race or gender and embraces more subjective things such as education, marital status and even socioeconomic level. Diversity is about understanding and respecting individual differences. Consequently, proper diversity management allows employers to attract and keep top talent, which results in a highly functioning, competitive workforce. As a result of diverse hiring and retention practices, companies can better meet the needs of their diverse clients.
A Diverse Workforce
Workplace diversity typically focuses on hiring practices and HR policies for lower to mid-level employees. However, a completely diverse workforce is a key to success in the modern business world. This is because a diverse workforce forms a collective pool of unique viewpoints, experiences and knowledge. As a result, work teams are more creative and productive with fresh perspectives. That is, diverse teams drive internal innovation and can solve problems better than other teams. Overall, this fuels business growth and customer satisfaction.
The Corporate Ladder
According to a Chicago Tribute report, workplace diversity decreases as you ascend the corporate ladder. That is, Caucasian males tend to represent the top of the corporate chain. This results in diverse individuals being kept at the bottom without opportunities for promotion or advancement. One of the suggested reasons for this problem is because diversity training typically involves forcing managers to admit that they are subconsciously biased and therefore, partially to blame. In addition to this, rigid hiring and promotion rules can also create resistance from upper management. Top leaders can reduce these problems through requiring managers to spearhead the diversity committee and mentor diverse, aspiring supervisors.
While diversity offers plenty of advantages, there are challenges to achieving and maintain a diverse workforce. For example, there are always staunch employees who resist diversity and the accompanying changes. However, diverse employees can also struggle to understand and accept each other’s viewpoint. This is especially true with certain diverse groups that have had historical difficulties with each other. Consequently, this can result in miscommunication, disorganization and poor productivity. This can be remedied through informal office retreats and workshops that focus on mutual sharing and relationship building among all employees.
To sum up, diversity is crucial for the commercial success of every business. Genuine diversity can be accomplished through understanding the importance of diversity and improving both lower and upper employee level diversity practices. In addition to this, diversity management requires opportunities for employees to interact and engage with each other in informal settings.