Workforce Diversity

Running Head Workforce Diversity What do you think is the single most critical "people" problem facing managers today The human resource approach focuses on the interplay between people and the organization, and recognizes that cultural diversity includes every employee. This frame of reference starts with the premise that people are the most important resource in an organization. The challenge is to successfully apply skills, insight, energy, and commitment to make an organization better. Within all organizations there are culturally supportive and nonsupportive people, policies, and informal structures. This is sometimes referred to as the organizational climate–the propensity to perpetuate particular behaviors. The challenge of getting women and minorities into senior-level management positions is difficult. While the proportion of women and minorities in the workforce has increased significantly during the past decade, few of them have made it to the top.
Along with shifts in organization demographics come additional competition. Some white male employees must now compete against people they did not consider rivals before–mainly women, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Even though they still control most of the managerial positions, many white males sense an impending loss of job entitlements. The transition from a workplace dominated by white males to one in which managerial and supervisory jobs are shared with representatives of other groups usually precipitates tension and conflict. The issue is further complicated by organization downsizing and restructuring–activities that add to the fear of lost opportunities. Contrary to some critics, black workers are still the last hired and the first fired. There is no conclusive evidence to support the assumption that white males are more productive workers than minorities and women. Qualified minorities and women are routinely passed over for jobs and promotions in favor of less qualified white males. If equal opportunity is a worthwhile goal, as most Americans believe, it will be achieved through structured outreach, recruitment, training, retention, and promotion–affirmative action, valuing diversity, and managing diversity (Mujtaba, 2006).
Managing diversity emphasizes managerial skills and policies needed to optimize every employee’s contribution to the organizational goals. Initiatives are taken not because of legal mandates or moral and ethical imperatives but instead to enhance organization morale, productivity, and benefits. After underrepresented people are hired and employee consciousness had been raised, appropriate policies, procedures, and managerial interventions are needed to operationalize a culturally diverse workplace. The focus is mainly on changing employees’ perceptions and attitudes about minorities and women. In many instances this approach results in white male bashing, which magnifies rather than lessens intergroup conflict. Managers must be able to utilize the skills of each employee and do so in a way that maximizes his or her unique contributions. For people who are concerned mainly with the "bottom line" of effectively managing diversity (Mujtaba, 2006).
In sum, diversity changes the workplace by providing new human resources and managerial challenges to employers. As the United States experiences shortages of skilled workers, most organizations will have to find ways to optimally utilize multicultural workers. This often entails dealing with employees who have different attitudes toward time, status and roles, relationships, responsibility, decision-making, and technology. To effectively manage diversity, managers and supervisors must be aware of the values, motivations, communication styles, attitudes, and needs of their employees. This is a Herculean task even for people trained in intercultural relations. And as the nation’s workforce is reshaped with respect to age, sex, racial composition, and national origin, the challenge to managers and supervisors is magnified. When demographics change and the demand for labor becomes greater than the once traditional labor pool can provide, cultural diversity becomes a formidable activity for employers. his does not necessarily mean the new labor pool is incapable of meeting the needs of employers, but it does mean that in some instances extensive job training strategies must be implemented.
References
Mujtaba, B. (2006). Workforce Diversity Management: Challenges, Competencies
and Strategies. Llumina Press.