Most people believe that every human being is equal and he/she is entitled to the same rights, privileges and opportunities, regardless their race, gender, faith or age. This fundamental belief changed the way management practices such as the recruitment, training and development of employees are done. In order to fully understand the benefits and disadvantages of multicultural workplace, first of all, the concept of diversity must be fully defined and understood.
There are number of definitions for diversity:
- Diversity is a mix of people of different socially relevant group identities working or living together
- Diversity means any differences between people
- Diversity means differences of gender, age, race and ethnic group
- Diversity is state of being different
Therefore, in a nutshell, diversity can be defined as that recognizing, appreciating, valuing and utilising the unique talents and contributions of all individuals regardless of age, career experience, colour, culture, disability, religion, speed of learning etc.
Managing diverse workforce can help the company to expand its business and reach to minor communities as they can be able to understand needs of customers from different background. That is to say that diversity is opportunity focused and if managed effectively, it can:
- Increase productivity
- Reduce turnover
- Increase creativity and innovation
- Increase employee satisfaction
- Open new markets
Further, diversity does not involve any legal requirements or is not implemented just to avoid lawsuits. On contrary, whether to implement diversity is at the discretion of the management.
However, managing diverse workforce can be challenge too. If not managed properly, it can cause:
- Lower productivity
- Cultural misunderstanding
- Create conflicts
- Lack of teamwork