Diversity is ubiquitous. We all are aware that no two persons are similar. The
world has been and is a stage of huge mix of people with different backgrounds, religion,
castes, race, culture, behaviour, age, marital status, nationality, educational
qualification, political affiliation, levels of ability, personality, gender and many more
which vary across the globe. Other sources of differences include socio - economic
background of individuals, membership and non membership of unions, forms and
quality/quantity of education, period and nature of employment, drives to work, and work
styles. Work place diversity therefore, intends to also consist of social, economic and
political visible and non visible differences which might not have a direct creational origin
from the work place, but certainly have direct impact on work attitude and performance at
the work place. Diversity itself relates to the fact that we are all unique individuals.
Organizations are becoming increasingly multicultural. A typical
organization is emerging as a place of diverse workforce in terms of gender, race
and ethnicity. One can find a Shastri rubbing shoulders with a khan, both jostling
with a Reddy, and all shaking hands with a Singh. Then there are physically
handicapped, gays and lesbians, the elderly and even people who are significantly
Though they work together, they maintain their distinct identities, diverse
culture and separate lifestyles. Managers of today must learn to live with these
diverse behaviours. Diversity, if properly managed, can increase creativity and
innovation in organizations as well as improve decision making by providing
different perspectives on problems.
Managing diversity means managing people in the best interest of
employee as well as employer. Managing diversity is an on-going
process that explore the various talents and capabilities which a diverse
population bring to an organization, community or society, so as to create a
wholesome, inclusive environment, that is “safe for differences,” celebrates
diversity, and maximizes the full potential of all, in a cultural context where
everyone benefits from Multiculturalism, as the art of managing diversity, is an
inclusive process where no one is left out.
A large number of women are joining the work-force.
Work-force mobility is increasing.
Young workers in the work-force are increasing
Ethnic minorities' proportion constantly in the total work-force
International careers are becoming common.
Diversity can be seen
through these figures in
Over 400 million women are employed in various streams
Around 30 per cent of the workforce in the IT sector is women
Old employees have grown in number because of improved
medical and health care.
IT Industries like Infosys, TCS and Wipro are actively
recruiting foreign nationals and women, both by choice and
Individual versus Group Fairness: This issue is closely related
to the “difference in troublesome versus better” i.e. how far
management should go in adapting HR programs to diverse
Resistance to Change: Long established corporate culture is
very resistant to change and this resistance is a major
roadblock for women and minorities seeking to survive and
prosper in corporate setting.
Group Cohesiveness and Interpersonal Conflict: Although
employee diversity can lead to greater creativity and better
problem solving; it can also lead to open conflict and chaos if
there is mistrust and lack of respect among groups. This
means that as organizations become more diverse, they face
greater risks that employees will not work together effectively.
Interpersonal friction rather than cooperation may become the
Segmented Communication Networks: It has been seen that
most communication in the organization occurs between
people with some similarities either by way of gender or by
way of same place.
Retention: The job satisfaction levels of women and
minorities are often lower than those of majorities. Therefore it
becomes difficult to retain such people in an organization.
Competition for Opportunities: Already, there are rising
tensions among the disadvantaged groups jockeying for
advancement. Employers are being put into the uncomfortable
position of having to decide which disadvantaged group is
1. New Products and Services: Diversity generates ideas in
geometric progression fuelling greater creativity and
innovation. This results in flurry of new products and services
to meet the customer's expectation and needs.
2. Better teamwork: Organizations are operating in such a
fashion that it is impossible to function without teamwork.
Interacting with diverse workforce is leading to better ideas
and enhancing the morale and motivation in the organization
3. Better Image: Companies that have diverse workforce are
having better image, reputation and patronage than those who
do not encourage diversity. This has huge impact on
expansion of business as it can reduce the talent crunch by
targeting the diverse groups.
4. Expansion of Markets: Globalization has brought together
heterogeneous teams to enhance the problem solving
capabilities and produce creative solutions leading to
expansion of business landscape.
Embrace Diversity: Successfully valuing diversity starts with
accepting the principle of multiculturalism. Accept the value of
diversity for its own sake not simply because you have to. The
acceptance must be reflected in actions and words.
Recruit Broadly: When you have job openings, work to get a
diverse applicant pool. Avoid relying on referrals from current
employees, since this tends to produce candidates similar to
existing work force. An exception is that if the present workforce is
fairly diversified then there is no harm in accepting referrals from
Select Fairly: Make sure your selection process does not
discriminate. Particularly ensure that selection tests are job related.
Provide Orientation and Training: Making the transition from
outsider to insider can be particularly difficult for non-traditional
Sensitize all Employees: Encourage all employees to
embrace diversity. Provide diversity training to help all
employees see the value in diversity.
Strive to be Flexible: Part of valuing diversity is recognizing
that different groups have different needs and values. Be
flexible in accommodating employee requests.
No Discriminating Policy
Electronic job posting
Harassment-free work environment
Employee network groups
Open Door Policy
Education Assistance Program
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Management by objective (MBO)
Share in company's success
Provide development opportunities
Flexible work hours
Safe and pleasant work environment
• A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and
• Diverse work teams bring high value to organizations.
• Most workplaces are made up of diverse cultures, so
organizations need to learn how to adapt to be successful
• Diversity, if positively managed, can increase creativity and
innovation in organization as well as improve decision making
by providing different perspectives on problems. When
diversity is not managed properly, there is a potential for
higher turnover, more difficult-communication, and more