Pros and cons of diversity management in the workplace

Written by neil kokemuller Google
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Pros and cons of diversity management in the workplace
Doing business globally is easier when many cultures are represented in your workforce. (urban 1 image by Vitezslav Halamka from Fotolia.com)

Diversity management is an intentional strategy to create a culture of diversity and acceptance inside an organisation. As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, taking advantage of the benefits of diversity, while limiting its challenges, is key to management success. Non-profit fundraising and direct marketing organisation, Mal Warwick Associates, identifies employees as one of several critical "stakeholder groups" important to corporate social responsibility programs -- along with customers, suppliers and the community.

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Better Quality

The main benefit cited with diverse workgroups is that you get better ideas, and therefore better results, when you have people from different backgrounds. The Diversity Working website states that better quality results with well-managed diversity "is due to the powerful effects of diversity on problem-solving, decision-making, innovation and creativity." Brainstorming sessions should derive more innovative thinking, and decisions should incorporate a number of different perspectives, producing more creative conclusions.

Cross-Cultural Improvements

One of the most practical reasons diversity management is vital to the workplace is that workplaces are increasingly serving a global audience. Language barriers are only part of the challenge of doing business globally. Your organisation must understand the key cultural differences that can make or break success in a particular location. With an involved, diverse workforce, you can rely on people from specific cultural backgrounds to help in entering, or managing business in a location.

Expense

The main drawback business leaders encounter with CSR is its expense. Higher standards of social and environmental responsibility incur costs. One cost of diversity management is the extra effort required to implement fair hiring practices. Designing screening processes and human resource practices takes time. Training is another expense that's necessary to make a diverse workplace efficient. Without training and management, people with different backgrounds are just different, and struggle to work well together.

Time

Time is a valuable resource for organisations, and the time involved to hire, train and manage a diverse workforce is typically greater than with a less diverse group of employees. The time it takes to train people increases when language and cultural barriers exist. Team building takes time, but is necessary to get people from different backgrounds to work together effectively. Managers often prefer to spend time on high-level business decisions -- not closely managing diverse workers.

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