One of the most pressing issues faced in the management of human resource is that of managing the diversity in workforce. It is strategically critical as it helps organizations to choose the best talents in order to get competitive edge. There are several implications of managing a diverse workforce including the augmentation in numerically representing ethnic and minority groups, empowering multicultural workforce to take part in the decision making process and ensure that every component of the organization includes and respects the diversity in workforce.
Despite several frameworks being developed in the area of managing a diverse workforce, there have been few studies which have concentrated on the contribution of cultural distinctions and the complexities experienced by the human resource department in managing a diverse workforce. Most diversity models have considered including the workforce as a homogenous and generic class (Alcazar, Fernandes & Gardey, 2013).
Our writers will create one from scratch for
The differences in workforce with respect to gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, social status, culture and ethnicity, religion and personality needs to be acknowledge by organizations. Moreover, one of the main aims of strategic human resource management should be to channelize the several challenges in managing a multicultural workforce by respecting and acknowledging both invisible and visible discrepancies for organizations to thrive and prosper. The importance of diversity in manpower has significantly increased due to the technological breakthrough which has spurred globalization and internationalization (Shen et al. 2009).
Diversity management and strategic human resource practices
One of the main aims of strategic human resource management entails in carrying out clear processes, roles and tasks that aid to maintain, direct and attract the manpower in an organization. Globalization has redefined the core roles of development and training, selection and recruitment and performance pay and management.
Selection and recruitment
Prior studies have observed that most companies value the effective management of workforce diversity and believe in providing equal opportunity to all employees in the firm. In fact, multinational organizations have started formulating policies that help in curbing workforce discrimination which may be based on race, sex, ethnicity and the like. Human resource policies have been framed which helps in providing equal opportunities to lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and persons with disability so as to get the best talents available in the market. Successful organizations like Xerox, Westpac, IBM and the like have already included and implemented policies which support the effective management of diversity in order to gain competitive edge (Martin-Alcazar, Romero-Ferandez & Sanchez-Gardey, 2012).
Despite this, studies have determined that most firms carried out discrimination in the selection and recruitment process. This has been attributed mainly due to the lack of creating practices and policies which offer workforce opportunities for career growth, planning and development, attaining work life balance and providing counselling to disadvantaged communities. In fact, scholars have maintained that effective diversity management can help in complementing affirmative practices so as to tackle issues related to misrepresentation of the fairer sex, ethnic and racial minority groups (Shen et al. 2009).
One of the pivotal functions of strategic human resource is to provide training to employees. It is essential that employees have up to date information about the systems and processes in an organization and at the same time are enlightened on the manner in which they may attain career growth in the organization. Training is a manner in which workforce diversity may be encouraged by firms. Organizations have also organized multicultural workshops so as to promote diversity.
Culture is one of the main factors which impacts diversity in workforce. Scandinavian nations and Portugal have a feminine culture and hence have more female employees as compared with other countries. Most Asian countries including those in the Middle East and the Indian continent have a paternalistic culture and this is reflected in the workplace which is dominated by males.
Despite this, there have been several incidents of discrimination in the workplace. One of the most pressing issues was the widespread complaint against Walmart for discrimination on the basis of gender. Walmart was accused of discriminating against women employees by not giving them chances of promotion and pay or hiring women in departments having bleak career growth (Hines, 2012).
Prior studies have determined that most training sessions on diversity have failed to promote, retain and train ethnic and minority group individuals as well as women. This is mainly due to a lack of accurate training processes held by human resource in most firms. Although diversity training aids supervisors in understanding cultural and individual discrepancies, there is an immediate requirement to include methodologies which focus more on emotions. In fact, most diversity training workshops fail to address the issues with reference to fairness, inclusivity and equality (McGuire & Bagher, 2010).
Strategic human resource methodologies should focus on devising diversity training which are both skills based as well as awareness based. Awareness based training helps in increasing the awareness of individuals and bringing forth certain problems in workplace diversity. This cognitive approach entails in developing the significance of workplace diversity as well as sensitively dealing with issues related to prejudices and assumptions with respect to culture. Skills based training in diversity entails the human resource to impart knowledge on the core concepts of cross cultural understanding, skills to facilitate issues with differences in culture, adaptability and flexibility and establishing successful intercultural communication (Noor, Rahman & Uddin, 2011).
Pay and performance
Organizations tend to devise pay and performance policies which comply with positive practice in promoting workforce diversity. Sadly, studies have noted high level of discrimination in the performance and pay. Prior studies have noted discrimination in providing equal pay, career growth and promotion opportunities. In this case, women and individuals belonging to ethnic and minority groups have been discriminated. Discriminations with respect to providing lesser pay to women as compared with men and lesser opportunities for promotion and empowerment of women in the workplace have been determined. One of the significant human resource problems with workforce diversity is the discrepancy in pay. Prior studies have determined that one of the global issues with workplace diversity is discrimination on the basis of gender. In this context, female employees are provided lesser pay and promotion opportunities as compared with males (McGuire & Bagher, 2010).
Implementing human resource diversity policies
Scholars have determined that there exists widespread debate and a lack of consensus with human resource experts to translate and embed ethical practices and policies in the diversity principles carried out in firms. Most international organizations have a lengthy policy on diversity, but in practice such policy is hardly implemented. Also it has been observed that many multinational firms have failed to establish diversity training and policies in offices located in foreign nations (Shen et al. 2009).
Hence, it is critical for human resource implement diversity principles at the strategic level. It is essential that human resource communicates with the management in order to reflect diversity in the vision, mission, objectives and goals of an organization. Sometimes, the human resource team may need to implement culture change if the ongoing culture is adverse to diversity friendly strategies. Hence, strategies have to be formulated so as to train and educate individuals to have mutual understanding and respect for each other. The human resource management can formulate diverse diversity friendly processes in the tactical level so as to promote a diversity friendly organization. In the operational stage, diversity policies may be implemented by human resource by imparting knowledge to personnel, recognize networking groups, providing flexible employment so as to promote work life balance and promote communication with diverse affinity members (Martin-Alcazar, Romero-Ferandez & Sanchez-Gardey, 2012).
The current pressures have led to stringent competition in the business market at a global level. This in turn has led to an alteration in the composition of the labour market which has become more flexible. Workplaces today have diverse personnel and hence it is essential that strategic human resource management focuses on effectively managing diversity by address inherent issues with respect to discrimination. Sadly, human resource in most organizations have failed to successfully implement diversity policies which has led to de-motivation, conflict, low organizational performance and higher turnover of employees. Hence, human resource should devise strategies which takes into account diversity as a legal and compliance issue and accordingly select and hire personnel from ethnic and minority groups.
Alcazar, F. M., Fernandes, P. M. R. & Gardey, G. S. (2013). Workforce diversity in strategic human resource management models: a critical review of the literature and implications for future research. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 20(1), 39 – 49.
Hines, A. (2012). Walmart sex discrimination claims filed by 2, 000 women. Huffington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2014 from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/06/06/walmart-sex-discrimination-women-_n_1575859. html
Martin-Alcazar, F., Romero-Ferandez, P. & Sanchez-Gardey, G. (2012). Transforming human resource management systems to cope with diversity. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(4), 511 – 531.
McGuire, D. & Bagher, M. (2010). Diversity training in organizations: an introduction. Journal of European Industrial Training, 34(6), 493 – 505.
Noor, M. A., Rahman, M. & Uddin, M. (2011). Training in diversity management. European Journal of Business and Management, 3(4), 31 – 38.
Shen, J., Chanda, A., D’Netto, B. & Monga, M. (2009). Managing diversity through human resource management: an international and conceptual framework. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20(2), 235 – 251.