Organizations must learn to manage diversity

A workforce diverse in terms of gender, language, culture, etc is increasingly becoming a part of every organization. However, experts say that managing a diverse population at work could have negative repercussions, if not handled well. Here’s how a few people managers are converting their diverse tams into valuable assets for their organizations.

A diverse workforce helps in dealing with culturally different clients and organizations can use the skills, traditions and different perspectives of assorted workforce to find better solutions to an issue or problem.

With organizations going global diversity at the workplace is increasingly becoming a key HR issue. Have you ever wondered how a heterogeneous mix of people that exist in many workplaces work towards achieving common goal? Ever figured how a balance is struck during situations when ideas and solutions get generated fro different minds? The answer is diversity management.

The credit goes to the diversity management efforts incorporated by many organizations, as they are creating a unity out of diversity.

It is vital for an organization to have a diverse work culture. Organizations must learn to manage diversity for their existence in the future. We have about 34 per cent women employees in our workplaces. Especially on the shop floor and young operating engineers from seven states in India including Andaman and Nicobar Islands and lot of expatriates also work with us.

Such is the kind of workforce that many organizations have today. People from different gender, nationalities, languages, cultures etc., form a part of today’s workforce. A diverse workforce is a mandatory requirement for every organization today. Now organizations work in a global environment and if we do not have diverse workforce, our global counterparts may not to be willing to work with us.

The advantages of having a diverse population at work are many. A diverse workforce helps in dealing with culturally different clients and organizations can use the skills, traditions and different perspectives of an assorted workforce to find better solutions to an issue or problem.

Organizations can attract people from a wider talent pool if it has its corporate policy based around diversified workforce. A diversified workforce brings with it a global perspective market intelligence to the strategies that organizations may want to adapt for sustenance and growth.

Diversity stimulates innovation and productivity and cerates a world class culture that can out perform the competition.

Diversity has its own share of challenges too. The right workforce diversification in itself is a challenge. A wrongly managed workforce leads to people refraining from working together, socializing and communicating due to cultural and social norms. Such challenges could be countered with an open door HR policy and maintaining a democratic style of management. Balancing the differences without any prejudices and bias relating to sex, religion, language etc are also difficulties faced by organizations.

But firms are not put down by these challenges and many have figured out different ways to overcome them. Many have set their own managing their respective diverse workforces, as they do not want to lose out on good talent. Experts say that organizations have a big role to play towards managing diversity at work. People come with their own culture background and exposure and it is responsibility of the organization to integrate it in to the organizational culture and make them work together as single team to achieve organizational goals.

The primary challenge faced by any organization working with a diverse workforce is the need to communicate effectively to its employees. The easiest way to do this is by communicating in a language best understood by the employee and keeping that stream of communication regular, open and transparent. For instance if you have presence in a Spanish country, it’s best to have newsletter in their native language. This helps in reaching out to them more effectively and striking an instant chord with employees. Working styles also differ from country to country and individual to individual. This can lead to conflicts, if not handled well. One of the best ways to deal with this is to appreciate employees with best practices and promote a similar working culture through systematic initiatives in the organization. The right kind of leadership talent that appreciates these differences and manages them adequately is a key ingredient. MD, Infrasoft Technologies Ltd suggests that working with a diverse workforce requires an open mindset at management and HR levels. Flexibility to deal with different cultures is very essential. It is also important to see the legal framework in which the employment contracts have been signed with people coming from different nationalities. The company’s ability to clearly enumerate objectives and KRAs is most relevant when working with diverse cultures.