Diversity & Workplace
The decisions and actions of management in organizations have an increasing impact on individuals, other organizations and the community. It is important, therefore, to understand the role of diversity action and the perva¬sive influences which it exercises over the behavior of people. Many organizations do not introduce diversity policies into practice which lead to negative outcomes for both organizations, employees and community. My department deals with different customer groups coming from different countries, regions and backgrounds.
The main problem of customer support service is that we have to find appropriate solutions and problem-solving methods appropriate for diverse customer groups. The main problems include lack of understanding between employees and customers (especially from Asian countries). Within a week, we loose about 10 customers because of poor language skills they have and inability of our employees to find appropriate solutions per their request. In this case, a diverse workforce would ensure adequate supply of staff both culturally and professionally competent.
It is important to note that in the infrastructure of customer support departments, service quality is the major question. Without qualitative service enterprises are not capable to achieve the overall objectives. The history of development of my organization testifies that the level of profit is a result of quality. The main objective of it is to maintain the level of service quality and develop strategies to improve their services. Service quality is closely connected with Human Resource Management (HRM) and concepts and methods it employs.
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The key to managing a diverse customer target is increasing employee awareness of and sensitivity to differences of race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, and age. The locus of change is the individual and change itself is both intra- and inter-personal. This approach is consistent with the preponderance of diversity initiatives undertaken in organizations, which primarily comprise training and development efforts such as diversity awareness training, leadership training, mentoring, and personal support group.
For my department, a diverse workforce is a need which benefits both employees and the company. A diverse workforce would lead to a smooth task management process, helping managers to control complex tasks across multiple properties in a consistent, efficient manner. A diverse workforce would have prevented misunderstanding between employees and customers and motivate repeat purchases. Language is the important issue of cultural diversity. At¬tention to language skills in recruitment and opportunities for em¬ployees to learn another language are commonplace solutions which need no discussion.
The understanding of social behavior and good manners in each coun¬try is also a very important sphere of HR practices. The previous area is closely connected with the national differences in culture which cause people to look at the same issue in different ways. The solution is to ensure that there is a shared understanding of these differences, and deliberate action to make choices in a way that enables all cultures to work in the most effective manner (Armstrong, 2003).
In light of the facts mentioned above there is a great importance to have diverse workforce as it has a direct influence on the successful activity and image of the company. Today there are more people who speak English as a foreign language than there are people whose native language is English. In America, non-native English speakers are adapting the language to suit particular needs in particular places. However, an American eavesdropping on a conversation might find it hard to comprehend.
It goes without saying that the company dealing with diverse customer groups will benefit many times over from the time they employ a diverse workface. Rather than belittling or mocking persons who mispronounce English words, those who have studied another language have insights into the underlying linguistic sources of those mistakes (Mathews, 1998). Corporate culture is the product of the firm’s history and development which may, for multinational organizations, be an effective practice in a number of national marketplaces.
It is, therefore, unique to the individual organization and carves out a path for behavior and practices which may be distinct from other firms operating within the same locale cultures and management styles are highly simplified for the purpose of analysis, it is possible to project different corporate and business cultures for firms operating out of countries on the basis of this thinking (Armstrong, 2003). In my organization, a diverse workforce could be an effective way to deliver customer satisfaction and increase brand image of the company.
Taking into account the specific criteria as organizational effectiveness, specified goals, specified quantified measures, stakeholder perspective, researchers underline that a diverse workforce approach is more widely used by international organizations but neglected by national companies (Armstrong, 2003). In my organization, a diverse workforce would be an efficient approach to management because it allows employees to reduce the level of mistakes to a minimum in contrast to traditional HR management approach, which shows high effectiveness, but cannot be used in all types of organizations in service sector (Mathews, 1998).
As the aim of a diverse workforce is to improve resource capability – achieving strategic fit between resources and opportunities and obtaining added value from the effective deployment of resources, it helps to realize this objectives without profit loss. In line with intellectual capital theory, resource-based theory emphasizes that investment in people adds to their value to the firm of any sector, including hospitality and tourism market segment.
A diverse workforce covers a range of approaches and emphases, some closer to equal opportunities, some very different. In reality, there remains the question of the extent to which approaches have really changed in organizations. Equal opportunities in may just be a way of making it more palatable in today’s climate, may be used to revitalize the equal opportunities agenda (Ludwig, 1995). Also, the development and conditioning of attitudes and patterns of customer relations depend more upon experienced employees.
The emphasis should be on how these areas work together on multi-functional projects to deal with new demands. In my organization, a diverse workforce would jointly consider ways of responding to public (society) requirements. Quality and continuous improvement will be regarded as a common responsibility shared between employees of different ranks from each function. The overriding objective will be to maintain a smooth flow of work between functions and to achieve synergy by pooling resources from different functions in task forces.
Successful management based on a diverse workforce has a great impact on the individual, particularly in terms of reward, and an emphasis on selection training appraisal and communication networks. Managing diversity is usually associated with the creation of a strong corporate culture with an emphasis on commitment, and it is inevitably portrayed as having a strategic and integrated focus. Following Mathews (1998), a diverse workforce should be the main principle of modern organizations and HR policies. In sum, a diverse workforce can make a significant contribu¬tion to the business.
This may become even more important when the organization’s strategy is taking it into new countries, or different forms of alliance and collaborative ventures. A diverse workforce can contribute to the success of such plans by ensuring that social differences are considered when common policies are defined, that announcements are made in a way that is most effective for each culture, and that managers who have to operate across country borders understand the nature of the cultural differences involved, and adjust their own behavior to obtain the best result.
Armstrong, M. (2003). Human Resource Management. Kogan Page. 2nd edn. Boston: Kent Publishing.
Ludwig, B.G. (1995). “Extension Leaders: Moving Beyond Affirmative Action to Value Diversity” Journal of Extension. 33 (5). Retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/1995october/a1.html [accessed 2 Nov 2006]
Mathews, A. (1998). Diversity: A Principle of Human Resource Management Public Personnel Management, 27 (2), 175.