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Managing Diversity at Cityside Financial Services

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The Cityside presents case that deals with diversity management with respect to racially different employees. The diverse nature of employees resulted in dominance of white majority unit, which constitutes to larger portion of accounts brought in banking deposit as well as bringing high account holders and money market accounts to deposits. This resulted in dominance of white majority staff in the banking management as their voice and concerns overshadow the black staff, which resulted in creating dissonance. The black majority unit, which is responsible of retail deposit is looking after the local neighborhood of black community and hence is perceived as providing lower instrumental value to management from their white counterparts.

These dissonances amongst the employees are a matter of great concern to the management as human capital management is of crucial importance in service industry specifically highly sensitive financial service providers like banks. In pursue of strategy, various external factors have been analyzed which play a vital role in defining the context of diversified workforce and concluded to desired strategy of employee training and development which will serve to the root cause and will eliminate unnecessary hurdles along the managerial processes.

Managing Diversity at Cityside Financial Services
Cityside financial services have a history of serving the urban neighborhood, which predominantly had white customers belonging to the local community. The target market switched to sub-urban localities this mid-sized bank seized opportunity to diversify in terms of targeting other target market including the pre existing white market. It was  important after the bank was purchased by racially diverse group to provide its services to racially different groups of customers as the predominant white market has been relocated and present challenge for bank management remain rooted to the locality whereas serving its customers. This led to form two sales units that were focusing on differential set of customer segments.

Market Analysis
The inclusion of African- American target market was due to various reasons. Firstly, they constituted majority of the population of the neighborhood and due to mid-sized bank Cityside could not afford to miss the opportunity of serving to a potentially lucrative target market backed with strong financial conditions. Secondly, the two pronged strategy led the management to seize the local consumers by deposit and housing schemes through its retail operations whereas, targeting high money market accounts through its external deposits. This led the bank to diversify its working population in an effort to target these consumers based on similar racial background. This created a sense of community and satisfaction which led to the inclusion of African-American in retail deposits by majority as they handled the local neighborhood consumers whereas; the majority of white management was present in external deposits looking after white clientele present in different geographical locations with higher money deposits.

Competitive Advantage
The competitive advantage that Cityside bank had over other bank was its long history of serving to the local consumers as well as its presence in the market as a mid-sized bank, which led to create a sense of cohesiveness amongst the target market. Their work force

is well suited to meet the demands of their customers by being a face of their own community which builds up the trust in banking financial services. These remain the true competitive advantage which cannot be replicated by any of other player in the market.

Problem Statement and Challenges
The challenge that Ron Wilkins has to face in the racially diverse group of management that composes of two strategic units was to maintain the essence of diversity, which was the main attraction point for bank services. The diverse work force however, posed challenges to the management in terms of the perception the two groups hold against each other, as well as disturbed clientele satisfaction arising from operation of two distinct strategic units which were operating on mutual grounds. The problem for Ron Wilkins to rectify was to formalize a strategy that would dissolve the racial differences along with providing services to the customer base without disrupting the operations and management of the bank. The core problems that posed challenges are:

The overlapping of services amongst the two units has created sense of rivalry amongst these two units. This is due to the fact that the customer segmentation needs a clarification and re-assessment which would enable the units to remain focus on their respective market segments. However, as the geographical market limitation remains unsuccessful in defining the target market; this has led to cannibalization where both units chase each other’s account and hence impose rivalry.

Intra Organization Competition

The misaligned goals and lack of clarity in reaching objectives as well as stereotypical connotation have resulted in intensifying the competition prevailing in the organization. This competition had resulted in surfacing personal conflicts based on racial background, misrepresentation of employee’s ability due to its race and color and sense of dominance amongst the external deposit group due to their all white staff as well as higher value of deposits. These had intensified the competition amongst both the units.

Lack of Collaboration
Due to the above -mentioned reasons, the lack of collaboration is inevitable as both the units perceive a sense of competition, which denies the common ground of the services being presented to their customers.

These remain the key challenges encompassing the human resources of bank, which needs to be addressed by the management in order to remain profitable and reduce the dissonance prevailing in the organizational environment.

Strategy Formulation
It is important for Wilkins to identify all possible strategy that may suit the ongoing situation within the organization and assess these based on the operational and functional aspect. In formulating the strategy various other mechanisms needs to be acknowledged beforehand; this will aid in presenting the most desirable strategy to the management. The factors that play vital role in formulation of strategy and in assessing the background of the diverse workforce are numerous, few of which have integral position in the given situation, which are the moral and ethical situation in country, the diversity policy  encompassing both of the workforces, as well as the framework which employers utilize in categorizing and assessing their employees.

Diversity Policy
Diversity management is very important for every organization similarly in case of Cityside financial services it is especially important to manage diversity to remain glued to the existing base of consumers as well as growing the clientele base. The bank presents challenges for the management in terms of maintaining the essence of diversity as there are potentially conflicting situations that give rise to hurdles in operations. However, it is important for management to realize that this diverse workforce has been a motivating factor for the customer base to remain loyal to the bank in recent times (Ivancevich, 2007). Diversity management is defined as ‘the voluntary organizational actions that are designed to create inclusion of employees from various backgrounds within the organization’s formal and informal structures’ (SAGE Publications).

This sums up the actions taken by the Wilkins management in pursuit of maintaining a diverse workforce. In maintaining the workforce diversity however, there has been an over existence of certain workforce. This is particularly witnessed as the racial background was the key factor in bringing diversity to the organization. The white and black discrimination evolved various conflicting situations as the key characteristics remained the racial background in inducting employees to the units. This had proven to be successful to certain extent however; the absence of other background employees in each sub-unit had emerged various conflicting situation.

In managing diversity there is a mix of factor that is associated with the diverse workforce present in any organization. The diversity management entails operations and formulation of working conditions that promote effective collaboration and promotion of each individual’s output (Roosevelt). The working environment in Cityside bank has been strained as the management failed to potentially reduce the difference perceived by the employees for their counterparts. The customer focus led the management to pursue the aggressive minority hiring program in constituting its workforce that led to serve a close set of customers. However due to low diffusion of the employees of different racial background in other unit; the situation led to cultivate a sense of stereotype.

Moral and Ethical Situation
The diversity calls for moral and ethical standards set across the organization in order to maintain a uniform position for all the employees (KENSICKI, 2009). The case analysis reveals that post white neighborhood the influx of all blacks in retails deposit unit led to bring a classification based on gender which aggravated the stance of racial discrimination. This gets against the moral and ethical grounds therefore the classification to serve the specific set of consumers is a flawed managerial process to begin with.

Internal Conflicts
The organization inducted minorities due to the matching needs of their target market however; the approach remained a discriminated process as the workforce was equipped with sole purpose to mirror the racial background without keeping the regard of dissonance that may occur later on in the managerial processes. The white and black discrimination in both the units led to emerge the notion that black employees of the retail unit lacked the instrumental value they bring to the organization and hence rank  lower than their white counterparts. This resulted in losing the core object of hiring minorities based on diversity and hence calls for immediate action.

Influence on External Environment
Due to the lack of goal visibility and objectives, the discrimination prevailing in the organizational culture also accounts for the dissonance that it created in the external environment specifically to its customers (Creative Common). In pursing for the accounts, both the units remain ambiguous on defining the boundaries and segments that each unit should value for. The heavy reliance on geographical limitation as well as local black consumers versus white high account holders in rest of country had complicated the situation for the management.

Loopholes in Bona Fide Occupational Qualification
The Bona fide occupational qualification which has been used by employers as a mean of disregarding stereotype have posed questions as it posses loopholes that have no substantial background. Employers may utilize Title VII in preferring employers based on their sexes which are covered in Title VII and shield advertisers in maintaining their own choice of employers (McDonagh & Pappan, 2008). These loopholes are presented in the second part of the title where it claims for the right of employer to select any individual if they possess the desired gender that suits the nature of job (Katie & Manley, 2009). Hence this preposition is a major loophole giving rise in gender and religion discrimination on account of employers.

Therefore religion, sex and national origin remain the bona fide occupational qualification in narrow context.

Human Capital Management with respect to Diversity
Diversity plays a vital role in human capital management in organizations. The human capital management accounts for the managerial processes and the utilization of human capital in pursuing the organizational goals (Ozgen, Nijkamp, & Poot, 2011). Diversity plays its part through maintaining a well-balanced approach by the inclusion of mixed genders, races and minorities that have a ripple effect in organizational performance and culture. The cultural and gender mix provides the organizations with multitudes of inputs and brainstorming that inhibits a culture of shared values (Laursen, Mahnke, & VejrupHansen, 2005). This enables the management in tackling multitudes of problems through its diverse workforce that may provide effective and efficient solution due to its acknowledgement with the issues (WEINBERGER). It also aids in bringing various different views, which may not be addressed in a uniform workforce due to the differences in background and the approach utilized by each individual (Patrick & Kumar, 2012) . Thus, diversity impacts on organizational performance in credible manner that may not be negated by the management.

Issues concerning Diversity in management
Diversity presents its issues that form hurdles in effective human capital management. There are a number of issues that pertain to diversity and should be catered in order to fully reap the benefits.

Absence of the right criteria
In managing diversity it is important for the managers to identify the right criteria to define diversity (Anderson, 2013). The vague definition of diversity is just to fulfill an equal opportunity employer tag or to overcome barriers of communication, which will result in creating more problems than rectifying the present issues. This has been particularly witnessed in Cityside case where ethnocentrism had played its role.

Undefined goals for diversity
There are management practices where the undefined goals are basis of diversity, which lead to create issue in defining the need of diversity and the ground to fulfill the loopholes in workforce (Feigenbaum). Without the presence of these guidelines, bringing a diverse group of workforce to organization create issues as the newly inducted employees have an ambiguous set of activities and are not perceived by the current employees as a credible source to organization which creates dissonance amongst the employees.

In dealing with the above mentioned issues, the emphasis of management should be on the return on investment of shareholders therefore, every action taken should be well-aligned with the core objective of organization. In selecting the rights’ criteria, it is important for management to brainstorm and find the possible absence of criteria that may enable the management in reaching to its ultimate goal (Kerby & Burns, 2012). The ROI of shareholders in the banking industry are the investors, which are focused on bringing higher customer value that translates into greater deposits from all accounts therefore considering the similar phenomenon, management needs to  focus on building workforce that is equipped with diverse background and abilities that may attract and retain the desired accounts (Swanson & Fisher, 2008). Another step that the management needs to take is to retain the workforce as the diversity provides opportunity to attract to multitudes of consumers however; the ranking and deliverability of criterion should be emphasized in order to remain efficient.

Strategic Options
Wilkins have to reach on desired strategy keeping in regard the above mentioned situations and characteristics that play a vital role in defining the strategy. He could either focus on integrating the functions through collaboration which may reveal the deeply rooted tension amongst the two units. Present below are different options that can be employed with their own pros and cons, which has to be analyzed in order to form the most desirable strategy.

Aim of strategy:
The main aim of strategy formulation is to make the two units work in collaboration in order to effectively target the banking service market, as the current sales unit falls back in targeting the consumers.

Strategic Option 1:

To introduce a management board that will look after the Retail and External deposits through the representation of both units. This will serve to provide an immediate action plan, as the board of management will cater to the differences prevailing in both the units at human resource level. This will also provide an immediate rectification of issues concerning the division of accounts as the decisive authorities will be from the board of management that will define the desired set of accounts for both the units. Pros

• This will serve to terminate the inter-dependence amongst each other in defining the accounts and target customers as the management authorities will serve as a guideline.

• It will also eradicate the inter-conflicting situation that arises due to personal conflicts of racial difference in both of the units.

• The measure would result in controlled monitoring exercise, which may not suit the organizational process in long-term as the current issues would be brushed under the carpet through this approach.

• This also lacks in defining and tackling the root causes and works on the operational efficiencies which at some point later on will cause sudden reflux and may pose serious issues concerning the human resources of Cityside.

• It also lacks the futuristic appeal as the firm’s clientele is ever growing and, therefore large extent effective monitoring and controlling would be beyond the control of management or may also pose differences in opinion amongst the upper management.

Strategic Option 2:
To include the effective human resource training, brainstorming session and 360o training of both the units for effective collaboration. The effective collaboration of two units requires changes to approach from both units. For this purpose it is proposed that employee training and development is inducted, which will serve to find strategic options and cater to the evolving needs of employees. Along with training and development, a written guideline should be formed and communicated to the respective units concerning their accounts and future business propositions that will solve the underlying cause of conflicts amongst the two units in seeking business opportunities. Pros

• It will provide hands on training to employees to go along with each other in a multicultural context, which will enable the organization to remain productive and reap benefits of the diversified background workforce.

• It will serve to the root cause of issue as opposed to the above mentioned strategic options.

• In pursuing this strategy, the Cityside will be able to attract and retain a diversified nature of client as maintaining ties with local neighborhood is necessary as well as pursuing for the high account holders that is only possible through effective management process of both the units.

• The stated strategy requires time and resources that may result in over complication of issues by the time the training period is completed.

• The outcomes of the purposed strategy are ambiguous and remain unclear as there remain various dependent variables that are accountable for successful training.

• There are various barriers that training and development of employees will not be able to break as they arise from social background, which are pre-dominantly existing in the society therefore 100% result from the stated means is not achievable.

Purposed Strategy:
Inclusion of effective human resource training, brainstorming session and 360o training of both the units for effective collaboration
In considering both the strategies certain trade-offs are to be made as both present their own set of pros and cons. It is purposed that management opt for strategic option 2 as it is the desired set of strategy.

It is proposed to follow the above mentioned strategy due to various reasons. Firstly, the first option lacks the future goals and objectives which will result in arising to similar situation in later years. Secondly, the first option fails to find a measure as it aims at serving the processes with strict control mechanism which may not suit the service industry due to the presence of front line staff and other external factors. Another reason to pursue for the proposed strategy is its outlook to issue. The strategy aims to solve and rectify the prevailing issues within employees through employee training and development and hence investing on their human capital which will justify with the ROI from stakeholder’s point of view.

The case serves as a basis of dealing with the employee’s issues and organizational performance regarding the diversity management. In the given case, Cityside employees were facing intra-organizational conflict due to cannibalization of services and lack of collaboration that resulted in misalignment of goals. In reinforcing employees to remain productive, management assessed the various external factors that play a vital role in diversity management, which led them to conclude the most desirable strategy of pursuing with employee training and development and brainstorming sessions that would set the goals for each of the business unit.

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