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Diversity is important in the work place for the success of an organization. Diversity in an organization or company is beneficial for the organization to achieve its set goals and objectives within a specified period of time (Cox, 2000). Diversity in the workplace means employing different people on the basis of age, gender, racial or ethnic background without discrimination, fear or favor. Diversity is acceptable in many organizations because of globalization and the changing business environment. Issues in diversity are dynamic hence they keep on changing with time. Diversity is not only limited to the human resource department but it is an important tool in marketing for bringing in new customers and products into the organization (Cox, 2000).
Diversity can be classified into two levels in the workplace depending on the organization's set up and the level of diversity. These are: Deep level and superficial level diversity. Superficial level diversity refers to the gender, nationality and race differences in an organization while deep level diversity is the cultural values, norms, beliefs and knowledge differences (Vaughn, 2006).
Research shows that, a free and an open interaction among a diverse workforce reduces the importance of superficial diversity but increases the significance of a deep level diversity because the workers learn how to work as a team. Difference in knowledge and values or informational diversity enhances performance improvement while value diversity can encourage negative performance and animosity in the organization (Cox, 2000).
Benefits of a diverse workforce
Diversity is of great importance to both the workers' and organization's success but more so to the organization. Diversity brings about innovation, creativity, improved decision making process and better problem solving techniques and procedures. This will in the long run enhance product growth, development and the company will attract different types of customers through marketing strategies enhanced by different workforce (Vaughn, 2006).
Diversity will help to connect different talents and knowledge in the organization. The employees will feel recognized and needed; therefore enhancing sense of identity and belonging hence can contribute his or her unique effort to the success of the organization (Vaughn, 2006). Diversity will improve communication and coordination in the organization because different people with different cultures will analyze information and messages in different ways.
Diversity in workplace is not only meant to prevent unjust discrimination and equality improvement, but also to value and to appreciate inclusions and differences in many areas such as religious beliefs, sexual awareness or orientation, physical and mental disability, ethnicity, culture, race and age (Cox, 2000). A diverged or a heterogeneous workforce has been proven to be consistent, focused, and hardworking and can handle variety of tasks in an organization simultaneously than a homogenous workforce. It is not easy to manage a diverse team because cultural and societal difference can complicate issues but learning how to manage diversity in an organization can be of a great advantage (Vaughn, 2006).
A company with diverse workforce can easily gain competitive advantage because of taking advantage of the variety knowledge, experiences, competences and skills within the organization to improve on its performance and productivity. A company with diverse workforce will enhance a broad range of service availability which globalization has enhanced (Cox, 2000). Diversity will ensure the business expand to all parts of the country or the whole world because it can adapt to different cultures and environments. This will help in the environmental scanning and analysis where the company uses the people who understand that community hence it will be easier to penetrate into that market (Vaughn, 2006).
Opportunities will open up because of different ideas and opinions from different people. If businesses learn how to accept and embrace diversity of all employees or workers, it will create a sense of respect and trust hence boosting their morale and reduces conflicts and misunderstanding which may affect the business operations. Debates and information sharing will be encouraged in a diverse organization where other workers opinions and ideas are vetted so as to get the best ideas to help the company improve on its performance especially on management of resources so as to create value (Cox, 2000).
It reduces discrimination because of free interaction in various activities hence eliminating prejudices due to acquisition of egalitarian ideas applicable in the workplace to better ones performance and that of the organization. It will also lead to imbibitions of best traits as employees imbibe at the work place leading to well rounded, efficient and effective worker. Workers will build and develop their career ladders as they work tireless towards the achievements of the organization's goals and objectives. The image and the reputation of the company will improved because the company will be known every where in the country hence attracting more customers (Vaughn, 2006).
Recruiting people from diverse community will increase retention and staffing rates at the workplace hence reducing the costs associated with recruiting new employees and training them. This is due to the harmonious and conducive environment which has been created leading to increased profit margins (Cox, 2000).
In conclusion, diversity will create a competitive advantage to the company if embraced positively. A full potential of diversity will be realized by harmonizing, leveraging and accepting all workers as they are, in that it will lead to unity, supportive and welcoming workplace environment in the organization favorable for working (Vaughn, 2006).