Article: Effect of workplace diversity on organizational goals


Effect of workplace diversity on organizational goals

For some business leaders and managers point of view, diversity is a big challenge to them although it knows no organizational boundary and has no limitations.
Effect of workplace diversity on organizational goals

About 65% of 321 executives of large global companies surveyed by Forbes Insights claimed to have a plan in place to recruit a diverse workforce — but only 44 percent employ retention programs. This signifies a gap in collective progress when it comes to retaining diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In other words, we cannot simply have diversity; we must learn to leverage and nurture it so that it can thrive. Some lessons from the following top global companies in managing Diversity:

Sodexo: Sodexo was the recipient of the Catalyst Award in 2012 and earned a spot on DiversityInc’s Top 50 on eight different occasions.

AIG: In 2015, AIG earned a spot on DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies list for the second year in a row. The company’s talent pipeline, equitable talent development, CEO and senior leadership commitment and supplier diversity were assessed.

Deutsche Bank: Named as one of the Top 50 Employers for Women, Deutsche Bank also won an award for its global sponsorship program ATLAS, which helps women progress to senior positions.

L’Oréal: In 2006, the World Diversity Leadership Council presented L’Oréal USA with the Corporate Diversity Innovation Award, as well as the DANDI Award in 2012.

A mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company's business strategies and what's expected of them in order to help achieve company goals. (Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, "The Strategy-Focused Organization," Harvard Business School Press, 2001.)

Globalization in this recent time has triggered more interaction amongst people from different cultures and backgrounds than before. People are now more open-minded in the marketplace worldwide with competition coming from almost everywhere in the continent. Diversity can be a problem to an organisation but could also be a solution. The challenge then is to extract the very essence of diversity and tactically manage it for the improvement of the people and the organization. Diversity can generally be defined as recognising, understanding and accepting individual differences irrespective of their race, gender, age, class, ethnicity, physical ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and so on. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as:

  • Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources.

  • A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.

  • A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences.

  • Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment.

When aligned with organizational objectives, diversity can be a powerful contributor to the organization’s competitive advantage- Dr. Edward E. Hubbard, Author, Measuring Diversity Results.

Organizational goals are strategic objectives that a company's management establishes to outline expected outcomes and guide employees' efforts. There are two main types of organizational goals: official and operative. Official goals detail a company's aims as described in their public statements, such as the corporate charter and annual reports. Operative goals are the actual, concrete steps a business intends to take to achieve its purpose. There are many advantages to establishing organizational goals:; they guide employee efforts, justify a company's activities and existence, define performance standards, provide constraints for pursuing unnecessary goals and function as behavioral incentives.

To be effective, goals must serve both the needs of company and those of employees. For a company, goals must contribute directly to short- and long-term business strategies. For employees, goals must be clear, objective, and understandable or they will quickly become  disengaged. To achieve "goal alignment" at an organization, one must first clearly communicate strategic business objectives across the entire company. Interdepartmental goal visibility can also help speed the process of alignment. To be most effective, goals should also pass the S.M.A.R.T. test and be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This provides clarity up front to employees who will ultimately be evaluated against these goals.

Managing Diversity to attain company’s objectives is a strategy that goes far beyond valuing individual differences or developing human resources policies. It takes into account the globalization of the world economy, as well as changes to the domestic demographic characteristics of the population (diversity). Managing Diversity to achieve goals, is a four-step process:1. Recognizing the economic consequences to the business.,2. Developing an effective strategy for managing diversity.3. Implementing an action plan for organizational change and 4. Evaluating the diversity strategy. In order to promote Diversity, Organisations must involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives at workplace and fostering an attitude of openness in organization is also needed. Diversity training can be as a tool to shape the diversity policy. Leaders and managers within organizations must incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization’s functions and goal. Some lessons from the following top global companies in managing Diversity:

Most organizations in their own perspective, adopt diversity at their workplace or organisation to become more creative and open to change. Increasing and improving workplace diversity has become an important issue for management in the recent years due to the recognition of how the workplace is changing.

Since managing diversity still remains a challenge in organisations, managers tend to learn managerial skills needed in a multicultural working environment and prepares themselves to teach others within their organizations to value cultural differences and treat all employees with dignity. For some business leaders and managers point of view, diversity is a big challenge to them although it knows no organizational boundary and has no limitations. As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse.

Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage diversity in the workplace effectively.

Our success as a global company is a direct result of our diverse and talented workforce. Our ability to develop new consumer insights and ideas and to execute in a superior way across the world is the best possible testimony to the power of diversity any organization could ever have- John Pepper, CEO, Procter & Gamble.

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Topics: Diversity

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