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Managing Diversity Human Resource Management

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 Diversity is a reality. Discrimination of age, gender, education, race or culture has turned obsolete. Workforce diversity is not only a legal obligation now, but changing workforce demographics, competitive pressures and the need for diverse view points are compelling organizations to stop discriminating on any aspect of the diversity. With companies expanding their horizon, diversified environment has become a business imperative.

For a business to sell globally, it needs a rich mix of employees with varied perspectives and experiences. When analyzing diversity, in addition to enormous short term and long term benefits, it brings huge challenges too. The human resource management has therefore become a tough job. This paper aims at highlighting various characteristics of diversity while focusing on benefits, challenges and finally scrutinizing various techniques of managing the diversity at individual and organizational level.

Diversity Management

            No two humans are alike. People are different not only in gender, culture, race, social and psychological characteristics but also in their perspectives and prejudices. Society had discriminated on these aspects for centuries. Women and minority groups were denied of their due rights. But not any more. Since 1960s, when federal legislation prohibited employment discrimination, minorities and female applicants have become the fastest-growing segment in the work force. Diversity makes the work-force heterogeneous. The work-force diversity used in the corporate world today is the varied characteristics of employees working in same organization.

Despite the magnitude of the ethical, legal, economic, social, and political dimensions that define diversity initiatives in the workplace, the fields of human resource development and continuing professional education have yet to develop an integrated vision for creating more inclusive work environments. There are issues being raised. Dominant groups including top level managers are not fully prepared to accept the reality. There are communication problems as well. But then there are enormous benefits too. Organizations that are still lacking in this field will have to initiate measures to make their workforce diverse in order to compete or even survive in the coming decades.

            People are a company’s number one asset. An enterprise should therefore first of all deliberate on its internal workforce. A worst practice in diversity is by initiating a corporate diversity effort focused on customers and external public relations. Focus of diversity initially should be on internal culture. A dedicated and motivated diverse workforce will automatically lead an organization to diverse society. There can be many factors that motivate organizations of all sizes to diversify their workforces (Frost, 2001). Legal requirement of non discrimination is a major cause but then there are few organizations which make their workforce diverse taking it as a social responsibility.

The diversity may be adopted for economic payback, particularly through initiatives like welfare-to-work, thereby effectively turning tax users into tax payers. Companies may be motivated towards diversity for many other reasons like resource imperative, or as a marketing strategy. These have been discussed in detail in the following paragraphs. The diversity however can also be used as a capacity building strategy in which wide range of talent, experience, knowledge, insight, and imagination available in workforces is exploited for increasing capacity to effectively solve problems, rapidly adapt to new situations, readily identify new opportunities and quickly capitalize on them.

For whatever the reason, the companies which have already diversified or are in the process of diversifying their workforce, will have a distinct and comprehensive competitive advantage over those who are still in the thinking process (Mclness, 2006). An effort has therefore been made in this paper to throw some light on various facets of diversity, converging on different techniques to handle the workforce in diverse environments.

What is Diversity

            Workforce diversity refers to the varied personal characteristics that make the workforce heterogeneous (Decenzo & Robbins, 2002). Diversity is not merely related to sex alone. With passage of time, organizations are becoming more diverse in terms of race, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. In addition to these aspects, dimensions of diversity in organizations have now expanded to national, regional or other geographical areas of origin, educational background, family status, income, military experience, ownership of property and assets, physical and mental ability, social class, spiritual practice, health status, language, and work experience (Brownlee & Lee, 2003).

            Diversity can be broadly divided in two main types, i.e. superficial diversity (e.g. differences in gender, ethnicity, nationality) and deep-level diversity (e.g. differences in knowledge, skills and differences in values). Importance of superficial diversity can be reduced by increased amounts of interaction between individuals of various sexes, ethnicity and nationality etc thereby increasing the importance of deep-level diversity .

The deep level diversity has varying aspects like informational diversity where differences are gauged in terms of knowledge or education. Then there can even be value diversity in which individuals can be differentiated in terms of their priorities or their differences in what people find important. It has however been observed that informational diversity has positive impact on performance, but value diversity has been found to have negative impact (‚Äúdiversity,‚ÄĚ 2005).

Reasons for Emergence of Diversity

            There are numerous reasons for emergence of diversity. A major reason for the emergence of diversity is the changing demographics. Older workers, women, minorities, and those with more education are now entering the workforce in record numbers. It is for sure that the composition of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce is and will be much different that of the past.

USA Today calculates a Diversity Index (based on population racial and ethnic probabilities) that shows now almost 1 out of 2 people randomly selected in US are racially or ethnically different. In 1980, this index had stood at 1 in 3 (ElNassar & Overberg, 2001). At the more micro level, assuming talent and ability are equally distributed throughout the population and that everyone has an equal opportunity, this means that there should be diversity in every level of an organization.

            Another pragmatic reason for diversity in today’s organizations stems from legislations and lawsuits. The political and legal systems have compelled organizations to hire more broadly and to provide equal opportunity for all employment. A gist of the legislations which had a deep impact on diversity is appended below:

  1. Age Discrimination Act of 1978. This law at first increased the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 and then was later amended to eliminate an upper age limit altogether.
  2. Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. This law gives full equal opportunity protection to pregnant employee.
  3. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This law prohibits discrimination against those essentially qualified individuals challenged by a disability and requires organizations to reasonably accommodate them.
  4. Civil Rights Act of 1991. This law refined the 1964 act and reinstated burden of proof falls on employers to eliminate discrimination and ensure equal opportunity in employment to employees. It also allows punitive and compensatory damages through jury trials.
  5. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This law allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons each year.

            Another main reason for the emergence of the importance of diversity to organizations is the realization that diversity can help them to meet the competitive pressures they currently face. Firms that aggressively hire and promote women and minorities are going to end up with a more talented and capable workforce than those that do not take such a pro-active approach.

For example, a study by the American Management Association found that the more accurately the senior team of a company represents the demographics of its market, the more likely it is that the company will design products, market services, and create the campaigns that score a hit (‚ÄúDiversity Boosts Performance,‚ÄĚ 1999). Moreover, companies that gain a reputation for ‚Äėcelebrating diversity‚Äô are more likely to attract best employees regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. The most talented and qualified people will feel that opportunities are better with these firms than with others. In other words, diversity can provide an organization with competitive advantage.

            Stimulated by competitive pressures, organizations now recognize and strive to obtain diverse view points in their decision making process and teams. An academic research points out the complex linkage between workgroup diversity and workgroup functioning (Baugher, Varanelli & Weisbored, 2000), but there is also growing practical evidence that diversity leads to innovation and often breakthrough competitive advantages.

For example, women working for Reebok, pointed out that there was no good shoe available for aerobics. The firm took this advice and began marketing aerobic shoes, which became very profitable and served as a breakthrough for Reebok in the very competitive athletic shoe industry. Another example occurred at the giant  chemical firm DuPont, which used input from African-American employees to develop and successfully market agricultural products for small farmers in the South.

            A final major reason for the emerging challenge of diversity is that more and more organizations are entering the international arena. A natural by-product of going international is increased diversity, in this case cultural diversity. If domestic organizations have and promote diversity, then as they expand globally, they will be accustomed to working with people who have different cultures, customs, social norms, and mores. The international arena is not threatening place for diverse firms, a fact that is particularly important because of the major role that international operations and sales will play in the growth, and even survival, of companies in the global economy.

Characteristics of Diversity

            There are many aspects encompassed by diversity, however most widely recognized characteristics involve age, gender, ethnicity, and education. When talking of age, we can not ignore the fact that US workforce is getting progressively older, and this trend will continue with passing of every day. The percentage of employees under the age of 35 is declining fast, and currently half of the US workforce is between 35 and 54 years old (Luthans, 2002).

Major factors contributing to aging workforce include declining birthrates, improved health and medical care, and removal of mandatory retirement rules, allowing people who are capable of doing their jobs to continue working well into their sixties and even beyond. The changing age composition of workforce is forcing organizations to make a number of adjustments. An organization is now bound to employ a mix of employees of varying ages. Organizations have to learn to deal with old as well as young employees, who have values markedly different from each other.

            Besides age composition, there are also changes occurring in gender composition. Women have been entering the workforce in record numbers over the last four decades. In Seventies, women accounted less than 40 percent of the total workforce, and now they make up more than half of the workforce (Luthans, 2002). This diversity development is dramatically changing the policies and day-to-day practices of organizations.

There are however a number of serious issues related to pay and opportunities for women. Despite laws which spell out equal pay and opportunity for women in light of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, companies are finding it difficult to compensate both the genders on equality basis. The current statistic reflect that women are still being paid far less than men. A detail of salary differentials for managerial positions of men and women is described in Table 1.

            Another major contributor to diversity is the ethnicity. Ethnicity refers to the ethnic composition of a group or organization. Census statistics indicate that between 2000 and 2050, not only will the US population will increase from 281 to 392 million, but the ethnic mix will also change dramatically. Pie charts on Table 2 reflect the situation more clearly.

According to these projections, Latinos will far pass African Americans as the nation’s largest minority. Whites who made up around 70 % of the population in 2000, will be reduced to around 52 % in 2050. Asian and African Americans will also comprise of big minorities following the Latinos by the end of 2050. These changing racial patterns point to greater workforce diversity. The challenge for management now and in the future will remain dealing with these ethnicity changes, as with the changes regarding gender, in terms of policies and practices concerning pay and promotions.

            Education is another major facet of diversity. On the one hand, there is the challenge to meet the expectations of the highly educated with shrinking opportunities for promotion because of the downsizing and flattening of organizations, and on the other hand, there is the challenge of bringing employees up to speed in knowledge-based organizations. As technology increases and the skills required to remain competitive in the quality-conscious, global economy continue to rise, companies will have to train and educate their employees at regular intervals.

Continuous up-gradation of skill levels of the employees corresponding to the changing environments and technology, have become need of the hour. Companies may find it hard to cope with this enormous requirement. This challenge is why firms like Motorola now require their employees to have at least 40 hours of education and training annually. A significant amount from budget is required to fulfill such tasks, and Motorola is allocating more than $ 100 million annually for this purpose.

Communication Patterns in Diversity

            Communication is a major aspect which differentiates humans from other forms of life. We all communicate with each others, all the time. Communication is a hard process since it not only involves sending a message across but it heavily relies in the context it has been conceived and transmitted. We even have a different view of the same thing when seeing in the same context and at the same time. This is caused by the difference in perception and varies mostly from culture to culture. Our culture influences how we approach problems, and how we participate in communities. Culture includes groups that we are born into, such as gender, race, or national origin.

It also includes groups we join or become part of, may be by a change in our economic status, or by becoming disabled. As people from different cultural groups start to work together, cultural values may sometimes conflict. We can misunderstand each other, and react in ways that can deter what are otherwise promising partnerships. Sometimes we are not even aware of cultural implications (DuPraw & Axner, 1997), which ultimately lead to false expectations or misunderstandings.

            Even within a culture, the people communicate differently. One aspect of communication style is language usage. Across cultures, some words and phrases are used in different ways. Moreover, there is a difference in communication style of men and women as well. In general, men talk to give information or to report. Women, on the other hand, talk to get information and to connect or to gain rapport (Sachs, 1995). Another major aspect of communication style is the non-verbal communication. In China and Japan, for example, a facial expression that would be recognized around the world as conveying happiness may actually express anger or mask sadness (Okun & Fried, 1999).

            Diversity even exits at nation level. Even two closely knit nations will have lot of differences which would affect the working environment and individual/group relationships. A comparison between cultures of two different countries like United States and Russia leads us to many similarities and contrasts. In similarities, for example, both countries are multi-ethnic, continental, great powers, and settled by a variety of diverse groups. People of both the countries are energetic and inventive.

On other hand, communal and social fiber differentiates both the countries. In America, individualism and competitiveness are more common whereas in Russia, the affinity for the group gets priority. In restaurants, Russians do not hesitate to join a table with strangers rather than dine alone. Russians are more likely to be cautious and conservative defenders of the status quo. Americans like change. Americans will not tolerate a thing going wrong, Russians don’t mind that (Goehner, 1998). This gives us a fair idea about difficulty in managing a workforce comprising of people from two different cultures.

Benefits of Diversity

            Benefits of diversity are enormous. In a diverse workforce environment there is always a rich resource of ideas for how to do things that provide numerous alternatives to chose from. Several studies have proved that the standard of living and life expectancy in a country improve considerably with women entering the labor force and are given the equivalent status and same treatment as men (Friedman & Ammo, 2002). One of the major reasons for many countries to remain under-developed and impoverished, is suppressing the rights of women and keeping them uneducated and out of the labor force.

This is fully supported by the fact that there is an annual loss of 4 percent in GDP of the United States due to racial discrimination, as stated by the U.S. Joint Economic Committee (Friedman & Ammo, 2002). The same rule also applies to a firm that does not diversify its workforce thereby losing huge benefits. An organization that engages in discrimination remains devoid of versatile workforce which is capable of contributing actively and positively towards the attainment of company goals.

            Another research study has confirmed that organizations with senior executives consisting of multicultural and female members had significantly higher growth rates than firms with employees consisting only of white males. The incremental sales growth of companies with multicultural teams was 8 percent higher than companies utilizing teams consisting only of white males.

Diversity also help firms when they compete in foreign markets. A firm having a mix of Hispanics in the United States can easily expand its business into Latin America. Other examples in this regard are the vast markets of China and India. Those organizations in United States which have people from these countries in their workforce will find it very convenient to capture markets of these countries. It is for sure that companies that do not enforce workforce diversity will find themselves at a big disadvantage when competing globally (Friedman & Ammo, 2002).

            There are many other benefits of implementing workforce diversity as well. If a company is made up of a representative mix of the community, including people with a disability, older and younger people and culturally and linguistically diverse people, it is guaranteed that this workforce will be more responsive to the diverse nature and needs of clients and customers. The customer satisfaction thus obtained will certainly increase its business and eventually result into growth of such a company. Diversifying workforce also provides a broader pool of candidates to choose from and a broader range of knowledge, skill and experience.

A more accessible workplace for employees would provide a more accessible workplace for clients and customers. A mix of age groups in a company creates an environment of healthy competition. Mature aged staff can have a steadying and responsible influence on younger staff. Benefits of workforce diversity are long term and contribute more towards attainment of strategic goals of a company than merely focusing on tactical achievements. Diversifying workforce in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, skill and experience prepares an organization for an outlook most suited for a global perspective (‚ÄúBenefits of a diverse workforce,‚ÄĚ 2006).

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Research shows that diversity improves the quality of decisions, provides superior solutions and innovative ideas. A diverse workforce comprises a multitude of beliefs, understandings, values, ways of viewing the world, and unique information. Firms that can harness difference in productive ways stand to benefit through bottom line returns. Information sharing and constructive task based conflict are the keys to the ‚Äėvalue in diversity‚Äô argument.

Heterogeneity in group or team membership reflects variety in attitudes, knowledge, information and beliefs generating new ways of viewing problems, tasks or decisions and overcoming the ‚Äėgroup think‚Äô issues often associated with homogeneity. Research has shown that well-managed diverse teams experience and allow ambiguity in early phases of development, exhibiting greater clarity over time. This leads to greater innovation in diverse teams. These teams have been shown to repeatedly outperform homogenous teams.

            Whilst there is evidence that short-term progress is affected by conflict and communication problems in diverse teams, research shows that diverse teams foster speed and innovation over whole development cycles. It is the existence of a conflict of ideas that has been shown to produce substantially higher quality solutions in diverse teams and groups.

More alternatives are considered and higher quality work is produced. Time is an important consideration: diverse teams take longer to develop routines and communication norms but outperform homogenous teams over time. The long-term pay-offs of diversity relate to organizational learning and the creation of knowledge. When HRM strategies are used to tap in to the decision-making, problem solving, innovation and creativity benefits of diversity, organizational learning is fostered and knowledge firms emerge. Firms should develop workforces that are flexible and conducive to new and unique ways of thinking.

Challenges of Diversity

            Besides providing massive advantages, diverse workforce poses lots of challenges as well. On one hand, it is offering an organization with the creativity, energy, and new approaches to solving problems and on the other hand, differences in backgrounds, values, and norms can also result in conflict, disruption, and loss of productivity. Few common problems arising out of a diverse workforce may include arising frustrations due to staff speaking other languages on the job. There can be a resistance to working with members of another ethnic, racial, or cultural group. Miscommunication due to limited or heavily accented English may result in loss of precious time wasted in trying to communicate properly.

Ethnic or racial slurs or jokes may create confrontations and tension in the work environment. There can be numerous charges of discrimination in promotions, pay, and performance reviews thereby creating a massive challenge for the human resource department to handle the situation. A diverse environment may offer little or no social interaction between members of different groups. There can be a number of problems in recruitment and retention of employees as well (‚ÄúProductivity Saboteurs,‚ÄĚ 2006).

            In a diverse environment, there are usually cross-cultural interactions. Historical cultural experiences induce bias which affects behaviors and attitudes. Very often, the dominant group remains unaware of the mistrust generated because of its discriminating attitude. These experiences are however passed on to next generations by the oppressed group which keeps creating rifts and hampers the working of an organization. The dominant culture enjoys the privilege of being in the decision making position but has to remain careful in its decision affecting ethnic culture. The ethnic group while working in diverse environment has to confront and survive repression and seclusion.

            Some cultures view conflict as a positive thing, while others view it as something to be avoided. From culture to culture, there are different ways that people move toward completing tasks. When it comes to working together effectively on a task, cultures differ with respect to the importance placed on establishing relationships early on in the collaboration.

The roles individuals play in decision-making vary widely from culture to culture. In some cultures, it is not appropriate to be frank about emotions, about the reasons behind a conflict or a misunderstanding, or about personal information. These variances in culture within a diverse organization necessitates constant training sessions aimed at fostering harmony and understanding (Henderson, 1994).

            Diversity can also reduce the cohesiveness of the group and may result into frustrations and increased employee turnover. A study reveals that males working in homogeneous environments were more attached to coworkers and to their jobs. In increasing heterogeneous environment, male employees from the dominant group or culture often find minority groups infringing into their domains. As heterogeneity increases, absenteeism and turnover increased among males from dominant group or culture. Interestingly, it has been noted that this negative reaction to diversity existed among white males, and not amongst women or minorities (Friedman & Ammo, 2002).

Individual Approaches to Managing Diversity

            Individual approaches to managing diversity typically take two interdependent paths; learning and empathy. Learning is based on acquiring real or simulated experience whereas empathy is based on the ability to understand feelings and emotions of others. Many managers are often unprepared to deal with diversity because of their inexperience. To better prepare themselves, managers must work hard to learn and experience as much as they can about developing appropriate behavior.

At the heart of this learning process is communication. Managers must openly communicate one-on-one with young and old employees, women, minorities, and those challenged with a disability in order to determine how best to understand and interact with them. In this way managers can learn more about a diverse group’s personal value and how the individuals like to be treated.

            Managers can also begin to develop a personal style that works well with each member of a diverse group. For example, to their amazement, many managers have learned that people who are challenged with a disability do not want special treatment. They want to be treated like everyone else, asking only for equal opportunities in employment.

Many managers are unaware of their biased treatment of these employees. In this learning process, managers can also encourage diverse employees to give them candid feedback regarding how they are being treated. In this way, when the manager does something that an employee does not feel is proper, the manager quickly learns this and can adjust his or her behavior. This form of feedback is particularly important in helping organizations gain insights to effectively manage diversity.

            Closely linked to the individual learning strategy is empathy, which is the ability to put oneself in another’s place and see things from that person’s point of view. Empathy is particularly important in managing diversity because members of diverse groups often feel that only they can truly understand the challenges or problems they are facing.

For example, many women are discriminated against or harassed at work because of their gender, and despite surface efforts to discourage these problems, discrimination for women have become institutionalized through male dominant management. Discrimination and harassment have in essence become the way things are done. These problems have sometimes resulted in sex bias or sexual harassment suits against organizations, and in recent years, the courts have favorably ruled on these charges.

            Empathy is an important way to deal with more subtle problems because it helps the manager understand the diverse employee’s point of view. For example, many women in business offices say that they are willing to get coffee for their male counterparts or bosses if they are on their way to the coffee room, but, importantly, they feel that they should be given similar treatment and have coffee brought to them on the same basis. By learning how to empathize with these feelings and by offering encouragement, guidance, and backup support, the manager can play an important individual role in more effectively managing diversity.

Organizational Approaches to Managing Diversity

            Organizational approaches to managing diversity include a variety of techniques which can be applied at all levels of an organization. Some of the most common techniques involve testing, training, mentoring, and programs designed to help personnel effectively balance their work and family lives. The testing approach indicates that tests which the organizations take for selection and evaluation are commonly culturally biased (Solomon, 1996). As a result women and minorities may be able to do a job for which they are being tested even though their test scores reflect that they should be rejected as candidates. Most tests traditionally in selection and evaluation are not suited or valid for a diverse workforce. In recent years a great deal of attention has been focused on developing tests that are indeed valid for selection and evaluating diverse employees.

            One way to make tests more valid for diverse employees is to use job-specific tests rather than general aptitude or knowledge tests. For example, a company hiring word processing personnel may give the applicants a timed test designed to measure their speed and accuracy. The applicant’s age, gender, or ethnic background are not screening criteria.

This approach differs sharply from using traditional tests that commonly measure general knowledge or intelligence. People from different cultures often did poorly on the traditional tests because they were culturally biased toward individuals who had been raised in a white, middle-class neighborhood. Older applicants may also do poorly on such culturally biased tests. On the other hand, the job specific tests have proven to help prevent diversity bias by focusing on the work to be done.

            Another organizational approach of managing diversity is the training. Recent surveys indicate that majority of US companies currently have diversity training. Basic purpose of this training is making top management believe about diversity, setting high strategy priorities of diversity relative to other competitive objectives, and for making of diversity supportive policies and procedures.

Diversity training is often two pronged. Members from a diverse groups can be trained for an entry-level skill or how to more effectively do their existing or future jobs. The other approach is to provide training to managers and other employees who work with diverse employees. Whatever the approach adopted, most diversity programs get the participants directly involved. A major problem of diversity training however is that trainees do not believe that they can successfully carry out the diversity training objectives back on the job in their specific environment.

            Mentoring is another technique of managing diversity at organizational levels. It is a very crucial but very helpful organizational approach to managing diversity. A mentor is basically a trusted counselor, coach, or advisor who provides advice and assistance. Lately it has been noted that many organizations have started assigning mentors to women and minorities (Caminiti, 1999).

The prime reasons of mentor programs are to help support members of a diverse group in their jobs, socialize them in the cultural value of the organization, and help their chances for development and advancement. The specific benefits that mentors can provide include identification of skills, interest, and aspirations an individual has, and providing instructions in specific skills and knowledge to successful job performance.

            The mentors can also help a diverse employee in understanding the unwritten rules of the organization and how to avoid saying or doing the wrong things. Moreover, the mentors can answer questions and provide important insights, offer emotional support, serve as a role model, and create an environment in which mistakes can be made without losing self-confidence.

In nut-shell, mentors are the advisors for diverse employees who also serve to facilitate the communication flowing in all directions with in an organization. It should however be understood that a diverse employee can not be allocated with a mentor for very long terms. The mentoring period should be short term in order to give confidence to the employees so that they are able to fully exploit their own capabilities and skills in diverse environments, at their own.

            Organizations are also employing various work and family programs to manage diversity. In the typical family today, both the mother and father have jobs. Initially the needs of the dual-career family were met through alternative work schedules, which allow the parents flexibility in balancing their home and work demands. The most common alternative work schedule arrangements are flextime, which allows employees greater autonomy by permitting them to choose their daily starting and ending times within a given time period called a bandwidth. This bandwidth has a core period which all employees must attend.

This period is typically the one with the heaviest workload. The core period can be preceded and followed by the flexible start and end timings. Another alternative work arrangement is the compressed workweek. This arrangement, which has been widely used in Europe, compresses the workweek into fewer days. For example, a typical 40 hours week can be compressed into four 10 hours days. These arrangement allows employees to spend more time with their families.

            Another work schedule that is gaining in popularity is telecommuting. This entails receiving and sending work between home and the office and is currently being used to supplement the typical work arrangement. For instance, employees may come into office on Monday and Tuesday, work out of their homes on Wednesday and Thursday via telecommuting, and come in again on Friday. By varying the on-site arrangements of the personnel, companies are able to reduce the number of people who are in the building at any one time, thus cutting down on the amount of floor space and parking spots they need to rent.

Research shows that work/family programs decrease family conflict, job dissatisfaction, and stress-related problems. But it is difficult to empirically demonstrate the direct positive impact that these programs have on performance outcomes. However, a comprehensive research study did find a strong linkage between work/family programs and the use of high-commitment work systems containing employee involvement/participation and total quality initiatives (Carlson & Kaemar, 2000).


            Diversity is a major dynamic reality faced by the modern organizations. Diversity exists when there is an all-inclusive mixture of differences and similarities in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, education etc. There are a number of reasons for the rise of diversity in organizations, including the increasing number of women, minorities, and older employees in the workforce and legislative rulings that now require organizations to ensure equal opportunity to all. An organization should not be discouraged by few pitfalls of diversity. Managing diversity amicably results in more benefits than problems. To make best use of the diversity, one of the major responsibilities of human resource managers of today is to accommodate the dynamic needs of entire workforce.

The human resource management has thus become a tough job in the diverse environment. There are various approaches to manage diversity. At individual level, a manager has to adopt to learning and empathy. At organizational levels, the approaches include testing, training, mentoring, and the use of alternative work schedules and work/family programs. The best way of managing diversity in an efficient way is to enroll leadership from all facets of society. Diverse leadership in an organization will be able to take along everybody with high spirits and dedication in the right direction.


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