Diversified Human Resources:
Managing for Positive Outcomes

Diversified human resources comes about as the result of the employment of employees of different ethnic and cultural background, belief and personality traits, and also of different ages.

Diversity is a reality and is fast becoming an important HR issue in a globalized work environment.

One of the urgent needs of organizations in this situation is to take a number of initiatives such as:

  1. adopting ethical HR policies to ensure that no particular group of people is discriminated against
  2. implementing effective communication channels
  3. providing employees with effective communication skills especially executives and supervisors
  4. making available opportunities for employees to attend language classes to ensure they can clearly understand every important information communicated to them and to help them perform well in their jobs

Communication skill is one of the most important competencies required in a diversified human resources situation.

Human resource diversity is one of the important "Human Resources Current Issues".

Benefits Derived from Diversified Human Resources

  1. The possibility of attaining an evenly-balanced number of men and women in management. But actual job requirements must determine employment needs.
  2. Your organization can enhance its attractiveness as "an employer of choice".
  3. There are situations where employees of a certain cultural background can effectively bring about more positive outcomes under specific circumstances.
  4. It benefits job seekers, employees and employers.
  5. It provides managers with specialized skills in people management

Approaches to Managing Diversified Human Resources
Three approaches are recognized, namely:

  1. Anti-discrimination approach or put positively as "equal employment opportunities".
  2. For example, enactment of anti-discrimination Acts and Labor Relations Acts.
  3. Affirmative action
  4. For example, recruiting from a certain group of people such as women and minority groups to bring about balance in the workforce.
  5. Diversity management.

The first two are imposed by legislation whereas the third is initiated by and is mostly the responsibility of organizations.

The law on management of workforce diversity differs from country to country.

Cultural values and norms may affect the way how you manage your people.

It is beneficial for you as an employer to comply with the relevant legislative provisions whether in the home country or adopted country. The legislation compels organizations to offer fair and just employment to all job applicants and also employees in service.

HR policies must result in fairness of outcomes and fairness of the process of distributing those fair outcomes.

Take Action On Discrimination
As an employer, you need to prevent or eliminate discrimination against a particular employee or group of employees due to gender, cultural background, belief, physical appearance or personal orientation.

Also ensure that your employees do not practice any discrimination against other people. Your organization is vicariously liable for their discriminative acts.

Anything can happen if your management of a diversified human resources is not carefully planned.

It is stated that there are two types of discrimination: direct and indirect.

Direct discrimination occurs when you prefer another person because of he or she is of similar race or have the same attributes that you have.

Indirect discrimination happens where application of the same rules will discriminate against some people. For example, employees must be of a certain height.

It has been found that discrimination occurs more often against women than men.

But the opposite can happen. The government of a country may pass legislation requiring that women must form the entire workforce of a certain government agency. This is discrimination against male employees.

There is no known case in the private sector where the workforce consists of males only or females only. There are some indications of organizations having males only executives.

The High Costs of Discriminatory Practices
Discrimination can result in any or a combination of the following:

  1. lower employee morale
  2. real possibility of high turnover
  3. lower productivity
  4. widespread absenteeism among employees
  5. less number of qualified applicants to choose from
  6. high probability of losing customers
  7. high possibility of legal action taken against employers
  8. government intervention by way of new regulation

Affirmative Action
Affirmative management action means treating everyone the same. This sounds good but in fact this can lead to indirect discrimination.

Under this situation, your organization's policies, procedures and practices can discriminate against groups of employees having specific characteristics. These include women employees and employees with unique disabilities.

You can reduce the discrimination by establishing benchmarks that measure how successful your strategies are in minimizing or eliminating discrimination at work.

Diversity Management
It is important to remember that discriminative acts are also subject to laws governing human rights.

Verify whether your employee management practices put certain groups of employees at a disadvantage. Value differences and take them into consideration when making decisions.

If you find any shortcoming, alter your policies and practices. For example, see to it that the criteria for selection under your promotion policy does not discriminate. Your recruitment and selection policy is another.

Management of a diversified human resources must reflect society's and market diversities. Adopt the principle of treating your people based on their merit and ability.

The need to effectively manage diversity has become all the more urgent especially in the face of a globalized workforce, and changing social values.

Failure to effectively manage employees of diverse cultural background can adversely affect the productivity of employees and organization.

If and when this happens, your organization cannot compete against other organizations in a globalized environment. Failure by your organization to strategically utilize its diverse workforce puts it at a disadvantage.

Strategically plan the management of your diversified human resources to reap the financial benefits wherever your organization operates in the world.

Info on how diversity cut across functional areas

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