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Leading a Diverse Workforce Essay

This report is an introduction to the circumstances of the diverse workforce. It explains the causes of diverse workforce leads into past, present trends. Where focus has centred on the consequences, there are some advantageous and disadvantageous outcomes which lead to “pay-off” of the organization. Therefore, discussion moves forward to the difficulties that managers would face and the management solution. The report concludes with a discussion

2.0Causes of Diverse Workforce
“Workforce diversity is a workforce consisting of a broad mix of workers from different racial and ethnic background of different ages and genders, and of different domestic and national culture” (Naik, 2012). The emergency and development of diverse workforce is basically the result of globalisation, which is the current developing trend of the world. To meet the challenge of globalisation, it is extremely necessary for an organisation to have a diversity strategy than a domestic one (Naik, 2012). The diverse strategy enables the organisation to enlarge their customer base and market since the various backgrounds of employees make it much easier to communicate with global customers. There is also another cause of diverse workforce which is the requirement of the law and responsibility for the society (McInnes, 2013). There are usually some disadvantaged people in our communities who may suffer discrimination and a lot of hardships. In consider of that, the government has made anti-discrimination legislation to protect the rights of those disadvantaged people. Therefore, the organisation recruits people such as women, aboriginal and disabled individuals to form a diverse workforce as abidance by the law and as a social obligation.

3.0Past and Present Trends
The trends of the workforce diversity in the organisation are dramatically difference between past and present, for the aspect of gender, generation and cultural. As the globalisation is prevalent around the world, especially in Australia where the place is encouraging multiculturalism and immigration, there are more organisation engage the workers with different cultural, it makes the workplace more diverse, such as the Vodafone and ANZ Bank. For example, ANZ Bank started to promote a diverse workplace since 1990s. They believed that the staff with a vibrant and diverse background and life experience can help to forge strong connections with all their customers. Besides, in the past, the women in the workplace were automatically assigned to temporary or part-time jobs because their first priority was taking care of their families. It shows that most of the gender work in an organisation is male. However, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2011, p.3) indicates that “The proportion of women in the Australian workforce and in leadership positions is increasing since 1960 with 52% and compared with 70% in 2009”. Nowadays, most women tend to work as a permanent worker and do not see it as temporary because women are become more independent. Therefore, the gender diverse in the workplace has a huge change from homogeneous to diverse, thus the organisation have been learning to treat women as the equals of men and discrimination against female employees are now against the law.

4.0Consequences of Diverse Workforce
4.1The advantages of having diverse workforce
First of all, it can increase an organisation’s creativity, flexibility and innovativeness (Cole, 2013). More fresh ideas and different perspectives could be provided by diverse employees from various cultural backgrounds and mind-sets since they are more willing to think outside of the box (Belcher, 2014). Secondly, the diverse workforce can attract more different customers as the employees are capable to communicate across cultural boundaries which therefore give the organisation a competitive edge and help meet the needs and wants of globalisation better (Belcher, 2014). What is more, the image and reputation of an organisation could be enhanced through a group of diverse people and then retention can be improved because it appeals to some other competent talents (Cole, 2013). Loyalty of employees would also be reinforced since they are in a fair and friendly working environment. Last but not lease, the proper utilisation of diverse workforce will result in greater productivity (Belcher, 2014).

4.2 The disadvantages of having diverse workforce
In fact, diverse can lead to a conflict and some negative effect. Jensen (2011, para. 10) demonstrates that “Communication is the key to breaking down the cultural; barriers between people”. As people with different cultural may easily have a communication problem, they will always cause misunderstanding which will harm working relationships and damage working environment and atmosphere. Therefore, a company ne beds a well planning to engage different background, culture, experience, ability and age of employees, and provide an effective policy on every member of the workplace.

5.0The “Pay-off”
The advantages and disadvantages of diverse workforce are heatedly debated. As we mentioned above, a diverse workforce can assist an organisation in many aspects such as working environment, productivity and creativity. Generally speaking, a diverse workforce enables an organisation to be much better. Though a diverse workforce would cause some misunderstanding, the problems will be solved as long as the managers are able to handle it. Eventually, with the development of the diverse workforce, it turns out that the benefits outweigh the costs.

6.0Challenges for managers
The change of workforce requires leaders to pay more attention to adjust policies for diverse employees made up of ages, genders, nationalities and more. Meanwhile, employees also need to know how to work and communicate with people who are different with dissimilar cultural background. “Diversity management practices are specific activities, programs, policies, and any other processes designed to improve management of diversity via communication, education and training, employee-involvement, career management, accountability and cultural change” (Cieri, Costa, Pettit, & Buttigieg, 2008, p.6). The people with various cultural backgrounds a typical kind of diversity. They could forge strong connections with customers coming from diverse background; however, it might cause conflicts and misunderstandings because of their different understandings for things. In this case, in order to make full use of this kind of employees and force a nice working environment, managers are supposed to deliver the concept of accepting and understanding other cultures and let the employees share cultural value.

Multigenerational team is another kind of the diverse workforce. Because of backgrounds, circumstances or the different education level, multigenerational workforce is much easier to bring about conflicts and misunderstandings. As a result, the function of leaders becomes significant and essential. They analyse and manage conflicts, organise all the work. More importantly, leaders know what kind of job each generation is qualified. For example, the younger generation is more likely to do the creative work while the older generation is better to do with the management.

As it enters the 21st century, workforce diversity has become an essential business concern. Diversity could be a positive factor to contribute to the local business, but misunderstanding is a major barrier. Australia as a developed country is attracting people from all over the world to come for study and work. Therefore, the government should make a comprehensive policy to improve diverse workforce issue, such as the working condition and foreign workers’ permission standard of the entrance system in Australia. Person with disability is a typical kind of diversity. They might have achievements that the normal people could not reach. Although they are not as efficient as others, they might have specific achievements that normal people could not reach. In this case, in order to make full use of them, leaders give this group more welfare as well as set up particular facilities to assistant them to work more efficiently and effectively.

Reference list:
Cieri, H., Costa, C., Pettit, T. & Buttigieg, D. (2008). Managing a Diverse Workforce: Attraction and Retention of Older Workers. Retrieved from http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/mgt/research/acrew/ageing-workforce-wp-2008.pdf Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2011). Human Resources: Managing Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces, p.1-9. Retrieved from www.education.vic.gov.au/hrweb/Document/Mange-Diverse-Inclusive-Workplace.pdf Jensen, M. (2011). Special Issue on: Impacts of Diversity in the Workplace:
Maintaining Open Communication. Aviary Group. Retrieved from www.aviarygroup.ca/special-issue-on-impacts-of-diversity-in-the-workplace-maintaining-open-communication/ McInnes, R. (2013). Workforce Diversity: Changing the Way You Do Business. Diversity World. Retrieved from http://www.diversityworld.com/Diversity/workforce_diversity.htm Naik, P. (n.d.). Challenge for Business Survival-Managing Workforce Diversity. IOSR Journal of Business and Management. Retrieved from http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jbm/papers/7th-ibrc-volume-2/15.pdf

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