CHALLENGES OF WORKFORCE DIVERSITY(An Explanation by Rajat Sharma)The worlds increasing globalization requires more interaction among people from diverse cultures, beliefs,and backgrounds than ever before. People no longer live and work in an insular marketplace; they are nowpart of a worldwide economy with competition coming from nearly every continent.Maximizing andcapitalizing on workplace diversity has become an important issue for management today. Alsoglobalization of business and unprecedented movement of labour across borders have createdorganizations that comprise a mixture of people from many different cultures. Managing an organizationwith multicultural workforce creates challenges in terms of management practices and leadership style,due to differing viewpoints it elicits. Overall benefits and problems of a culturally heterogeneous can beclosely related to how effectively it is managed.Demographic changes (women in the workplace, organizational restructurings, and equal opportunities)will require organizations to review their management practices and develop new and creative approachesto managing peopleDiversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebratingdifferences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race,sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and public assistance status.Women in workplace:The need to understand diversity is also driven by women in the workplace. Todays workforce has thehighest levels of employment participation ever by women. The number of dual income families and singleworking mothers has increased. Change in the family structure means that there are fewer men andwomen in traditional family roles. Therefore, diversity issues cut across both race and gender.Challenges of diversity in the workplace:Communication- Perpetual, cultural, and language barriers need to be overcome.Resistance to change- “We’ve always done it this way” mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.Implementation of diversity in workplace policies- Implementing a customized strategy maximize the effectof diversity.Successful Management of Diversity in the workplace- To create a culture of diversity that permeates everydepartment and function of organization.Effective managers are aware that certain skills are necessary for creating a successful, diverse workforce.First, managers must understand discrimination and its consequences. Second, managers must recognizetheir own cultural biases and prejudices.Negative attitudes and behaviors can be barriers to organizational diversity because they can harmworking relationships and damage morale and work productivity. Negative attitudes and behaviors in theworkplace include prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, which should never be used bymanagement for hiring, retention, and termination practices (could lead to costly litigation).Diversity is beneficial to both associates and employers. Although associates are interdependent in theworkplace, respecting individual differences can increase productivity. Diversity in the workplace canreduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image. In anera when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organizationssuccess.There are challenges to managing a diverse work population. Managing diversity is more than simplyacknowledging differences in people. It involves recognizing the value of differences, combatingdiscrimination, and promoting inclusiveness. Managers may also be challenged with losses in personneland work productivity due to prejudice and discrimination and complaints and legal actions against theorganization.A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and marketplace. Respecting individualdifferences will benefit the workplace by creating a competitive edge and increasing work productivity.Diversity management benefits associates by creating a fair and safe environment where everyonehasaccess to opportunities and challenges. Management tools in a diverse workforce should be used toeducate everyone about diversity and its issues, including laws and regulations. Most workplaces are madeup of diverse cultures, so organizations need to learn how to adapt to be successful.