About Workplace Diversity
Diversity can be broadly defined as a difference between people. Whether those differences are cultural, intellectual, or gender-related, employees in the business community share a common goal of teaming together to ensure professional success. Diversity in the workplace adds value to an organization by allowing workers to approach their jobs from different perspectives. Many employers recognize the need for workplace diversity and initiate strategies to maintain a diverse workforce.

A diverse workforce can add value to an organization 

Diversity Concepts
Many organizations face challenges in managing the needs and differences of a diverse workforce. Diversity not only refers to cultural differences but also differences in physical and mental capacity, gender, age, education, and work experience. When people from different backgrounds interact with one another, misunderstandings and conflicts are bound to occur. A company must be willing to acknowledge the existence of diversity issues and implement practices that encourage workplace diversification.
Diversity Legislation
Diversity in the workplace has gained considerable attention from policy-makers. Legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and the American's with Disabilities Act were implemented and are regularly amended to promote workplace diversity. As social issues such as affirmative action, economic status, and international relations become the forefront of the business community, political leaders remain mindful of the varying needs of certain groups and create policies to protect them.

Recruitment Practices
Employers must make the necessary efforts to proactively recruit employees from different backgrounds. Recruitment practices may include advertising for open positions on ethnic job boards or indicating an â??Equal Opportunity Employmentâ? status on job postings. Many employers are obligated to provide minorities and women employment preference during the recruitment and hiring process.

Equal Opportunity
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. All workers have the right to equal opportunities within the workplace without regard to ethnic background, gender, or disability. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all workers have equal access to benefits, promotions, or any other employment standard offered through the organization.

Diversification Strategies
Good practices for creating and enhancing workplace diversity gives employers the opportunity to acquire quality employees and maintain worker loyalty. Enhancing communication and investing in cross-cultural training and development are essential in managing diversity relations. Diversification in the workplace involves all employees and charges management to carry out strategies that support employee differences.

Diversity in the workplace allows companies to select the best available talent

The workplace in America is becoming more diverse all the time. This forces companies to consider more diverse hiring practices so they are not viewed as discriminatory. Diversity can include differences in gender, age, ethnic group and even those with disabilities. There are several key benefits to a diverse workplace.

Best Available Talent
Companies that hire from diverse groups of people can hire workers from the best available pool of talent, according to the article titled "Workforce Diversity: Changing the Way You Do Business" at Older workers can bring experience and a strong work ethic to a company. Workers from other countries, such as India, China and Japan, often have an exceptional education, here or abroad, in science and more technical fields. Whatever the case, companies that provide equal opportunities to all workers can select, interview, screen and hire the most educated and experienced workers.

More Effective Execution
Companies that hire the best talent from a diverse group of employees can operate more effectively than less-diverse companies. The best available talent means a companies collective education and experience are greater than most competitive companies. Also, companies that hire more diverse employees tend to inspire their workers to perform to the best of their ability, according to In addition, more experienced and educated people tend to be better at planning, time management, goal setting, work delegation and projects completed on time.

Increased Adaptability
Provided that a company promotes sensitivity training, teaching workers of different backgrounds how to best work together, workplace diversity can increase a company's adaptability to activities in the market, according to, an online resource for diversity issues. Because consumers in America are becoming more multicultural, companies with a diverse workforce can better develop solutions to satisfy the needs and demands of their customers. For example, Japanese employees in a marketing department can better identify and communicate the problems and needs facing Japanese consumers. Therefore, they would be able to contribute their ideas as far as possible marketing strategies to reach this customer segment.

Broader Range of Service
Another workplace diversity benefit is a broader range of service. Small companies that have multicultural employees can have better access to national and international markets through certain employees. For example, Hispanic salespeople would be much more effective in communicating with Hispanic business customers in markets, such as San Antonio, which has a high percentage of Hispanics. Similarly, an employee of Indian descent can help a small company better understand the dynamics of consumers in India, if the firm plans to market products in that country.

How does Diversity affect Organizations?
The diversity that exist in the workforce requires managers to be more sensitive to the differences that each group brings to the work setting. For instance, managers may have to shift their philosophy from treating everyone alike to recognizing individual differences and responding to those differences in ways that will ensure employee retention and greater productivity. They must be in a position to recognize and deal with the different values, needs, interest, and expectations of employees. They must avoid any practice or action that can be interpreted as being sexist, racist, or offensive to any particular group; and, of course, at the same time managers must not illegally discriminate against any employee. Lastly, managers must find ways to assist employees in managing work / life issues.

Mars, Incorporated Diversity Philosophy:
Distinctive voices working together within a common culture is one of the ways we have described how we do business at mars. We believe that the success of our business can be enhanced by having a workforce made up of associates from many different backgrounds much as our society and consumer base consist of a wide variety of individuals. We value the talents and contributions of our diverse workforce in reaching toward our future and in playing responsible leadership roles.

How can organizations help employees balance work / life concepts?
The typical employee in the 1960s or 1970s showed up at the workplace Monday through Friday and did his or her job in eight or nine hour chunks of time. The workplace and hours were clearly specified, a given that no longer holds for a large segment of today’s workforce. Employees are increasingly complaining that the line between work and non work time has become blurred, creating personal conflicts and stress. A number of forces contribute to blurring the lines between employee work and personal lives. First, the creation of global organization means their world never sleeps. At any time and on any day, for instance thousands of Daimler Chrysler employees are working somewhere. The need to consult with colleagues or customers or 10 time zones away means that many employees of global firms are “on call 24 hours a day. The outsourcing of call centers to India has meant a dramatic change in lifestyle for operators employed in these companies. Since most of the work is outsourced from the USA and Europe, the operators have to work night shifts. There is now increasing media attention on consequences of these lifestyles, which not only eats into leisure and social or family time but also leads to increased stress levels among employees. Second, communication technology allows employees to do their work at home, in their cars, or on the beach in Tahiti. This capability allows many people in technical and professional jobs to do their work at any time and from any place. Third, organizations are asking employees to put in longer hours. It’s not unusual for employees to work more than 45 hours a week, and some work much more than 50. Finally, fewer families have only a single breadwinner. Today’s married employee is typically part of a dual career couple, which makes it increasingly difficult for married employees to find the time to fulfill commitments to home, spouse, children, parents, and friends.

More and more, employees recognize that work is squeezing out their personal lives, and they’re happy about it. For example, recent studies suggest that employees want jobs that give them flexibility in their work schedules so they can better manage work life conflicts. In addition, the next generation of employees is likely to have similar concerns. A majority of college and university students say that attaining a balance between personal life and work is a primary career goal. They want “a life” as well as job. Organization that don’t help their people achieve work / life balance will find it increasingly hard to attract and retain the most capable and motivated employees.
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