The work environment today is such that an organization can employ people from different regions and harness that diversity to achieve excellent company performance. Much of this has been driven by globalization and the rise of social media. Technology has made it easier for people from different parts of the world to interact and exchange ideas. It has created global citizens that pursue opportunities beyond their bodies. International business has also thrived because of globalization. Enterprises strive to increase their revenue and generate more profits by investing in foreign markets. For a lot of business executives, foreign direct investment is an ideal way to maximize shareholder value. In a labor market where many job seekers are not hindered by country boundaries, and the pursuit of employment in unknown regions is a defining characteristic of many millennials in the job environment, a lot of organizations are increasingly having to deal with a diversified workforce.
Diversity in the workplace is beneficial to an organization in many ways. According to Neil Carberry, the CBI director for People and Skills Policy, businesses that create an inclusive work environment where every employee feels accepted and a part of the team, is key to achieving company success. She explains that such enterprises are more innovative and productive because their employees are in a position to be creative and drive the organization to new heights of profitability. Effective management and leadership are required to improve opportunities for staff in the workplace.
A business leader must recognize the nature of diversity and develop policies that will promote inclusivity in the job environment. It invites the question of how a leader can harness the power of diversity in the organization and gain a competitive advantage over business rivals. The human resource has become a critical success factor for businesses today. Employees play a major role in the success of any organization. A strategic approach to addressing staff needs will, therefore, provide a good foundation for ensuring that the human capital is well-equipped to meet market challenges.
Millennials have often been accused of lacking loyalty and changing jobs whenever an opportunity arises. The common assumption is that they are chasing after top dollar and will move to a different employer as long as the pay is right. That assumption is misleading because many of the so-called Millennials also value a workplace that is welcoming as opposed to higher salaries. The motivation to change jobs come from the desire to work in a place where the employee feels comfortable. Poor work-life balance can cause frequent job hopping as employees look for the ideal job that will allow them to pursue their career goals and at the same time have time for family and friends. A business leader must understand that Generation X and the millennials may not have similar priorities. Their lives have also been shaped by different experiences. The younger generation of employees has grown up in the age of information. They value communication and transparency. A leader must, therefore, foster employee engagement to improve motivation and job satisfaction. Millennials want to feel included in the policy decisions of the organization. By engaging staff, a leader gains their confidence, increases their loyalty to the company, and reduces instances of job hopping. An employee that feels valued can stay with an organization for a long time and may remain dedicated to its cause.
The proper management of diversity is also good for organizational learning. Employees from different backgrounds and cultures can learn from one another and use the knowledge gained to improve the performance of the firm. How can a leader make this possible? The answer lies in the manner in which a business manager encourages the interaction between employees and creates an enabling environment for effective communication and the exchange of ideas. Staff will feel more at ease with one another when the leader demonstrates the beauty of diversity and treats every employee with respect. A culture mismatch can push a talented employee out the door in no time. Managers should strive to make every staff member feel accepted irrespective of ethnicity or religious backgrounds. As said by Mikael Ohlsson, the former chief executive officer of IKEA, the Swedish home-products firm, the push for diversity in the workplace should both be value and vision driven. It should be harnessed to improve the performance of the company in line with its strategic goals. Business executives should also approach diversity as an issue of principle. Appreciating people from diverse backgrounds should not just be used to achieve business objectives because, in a globalized world, the interaction with new cultures is the norm. An individual that is not able to learn and appreciate other people’s culture may find the world a difficult place to live in. Inclusivity is also a human value that should be cherished by everyone.
Diversity goes beyond gender and race and extends to personal attributes. A team leader should make an effort to learn the individual attributes of every team member. What makes a particular employee tick? How can you get him or her to perform at his best? How does he take criticism? These are issues that a manager should be sensitive to in order to improve the quality of employee work output and foster creativity and innovation. There have been debates about the place of charismatic leaders in the current business environment. What is obvious is that employees tend to perform better when they are managed by transformational leaders that understand their needs and motivate them to perform better. A charismatic leader appreciates diversity and treats employees as individuals rather than grouping them together and ignoring their differences.
As the service sector becomes an integral part of the market, employers are realizing that the human capital holds the key to excellent business performances. Effective management of diversity in the workplace can unlock the potential of individual employees and enhance the space of creativity and innovation in an organization. A firm can outperform its competitors simply by harnessing the power of diversity and using it to gain a competitive advantage in the market.