By Nguyen Thi Thuong
Diversity encompasses religion, ethnic groups, race, gender, citizenship status, age, mental conditions, and military services, among other distinct variations between people. Over the recent years, organization managers and leaders have increasingly delegated more responsibilities to teams (Cennamo & Gardner 2008, p.870).
Managing diverse team members presents several challenges. However, these challenges can be mitigated when leaders make concrete efforts to encourage a heterogeneous environment by promoting open communication, a culture of tolerance, and conflict management policies to address any arising issues (Patrick & Kumar 2012).
One can manage culturally diverse team members by practicing the following strategies:
Managing diverse teams requires special focus on effective communication. Language and cultural barriers can be overcome more easily when language neutral pictures and other visuals are incorporated into the communication. (Cornelius et al., 2000, p.70). A Manager also needs to understand the communication styles that the different cultures prefer.
Fostering diversity in group work:
Oftentimes, workers from different cultures tend to stick with their own people. This can create barriers, misunderstandings and reduce productivity. Managers should create teams with members from diverse backgrounds to overcome this. Team members will get to know and value each other’s perspective and break down cultural misunderstandings and preconceived notions. Culture, experience, and background can provide value to the organization and increase productivity (Hays-Thomas 2016)
Creating an open environment:
It is especially important that Managers actively create an open environment in which minorities and other ethnic groups are treated equally and fair. Managers can set an example by recognizing different cultural and religious holidays.
Discuss how managers and leaders lead and treat a diverse workforce equitably and fairly and with examples cited in the workplace.
Globalization has led to changes in workforce demographics worldwide which also requires managers to find a strategy to lead and treat that diverse workforce equitably and fairly. This begins with management needing to understand individual workers’ needs, differences in aspirations, expectations, and characteristics (Cennamo & Gardner 2008). Equipped with that knowledge, management can establish a fair and open environment that encourages respect among employees.
One of the first steps in creating a diverse workforce is to adjust the hiring process. The recruiting policies should encourage diversity through overcoming bias in the interviewing and assessment process. To achieve this, the managers can create a diverse interview panel that ensures the candidate selection is strictly based on their merit (Colgan 2011, p.100).
Adobe Systems, the company that got famous with its “Photoshop” product, employs 39% of minorities in its workforce. Adobe has 36% women in its workforce and employs 24% of women in executive positions. 5% of its workforce identify themselves as LGBTQ and another 5 % if the workforce are employees with disabilities. (Fortune ,2019).
These numbers are not achieved alone by applying diversity rules to the hiring process for new employees. Many positions in the company are filled through internal promotion. In 2019, Adobe started a new initiative called “Opportunity Parity” in which the company put special focus on fair and equal promotions and movement across demographic groups within the company (Adobe, 2019).
MasterCard, which offers financial services, has over 13400 employees globally and continuously introduced its older employees to social media to address generation barriers. MasterCard achieves this through a “Social Media Reverse” mentoring program for older employees to become more familiar with the media platforms (Burjek, 2019).
Management can also ensure equity and fairness by creating inclusive policies as well as programs. When practices and policies are inclusive of all the workforce, discrimination or favoritism of particular employees is reduced (Cox & Blake 1991).
Prior to enforcing workplace rules, management needs to ensure that every employee understands the new policies. Any policy changes need to be addressed to the workforce through inclusive practice to ascertain they do not affect only certain groups (Cox & Blake 1991).
Diverse management plays an important role in a company and can bridge the inequality gap between male and female workers and different ethnic, religious and minority groups. From the research, I have learned that diverse management practices can actually create more productive teams and thus help the organization increase productivity. Diverse management allows managers to compose the best possible workforce for the task, taking advantage of the benefits and unique skills that different groups bring to the team. An environment in which diverse teams are willing to cooperate towards the company goals is more resilient to economic change.
Cennamo, L., & Gardner, D. (2008). Generational differences in work values, outcomes, and person-organization values fit. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23, 891–906.
Colgan, F. (2011). Equality, diversity and corporate responsibility: Sexual orientation and diversity management in the UK private sector. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal, 30, 19–734.
Cornelius, N., Gooch, L., & Todd, S. (2000). Managers are leading diversity for business excellence. Journal of General Management, 25, 67–78.
Burjek, A. (2019, April 25). 2019 Workforce 100: Ranking the World’s Top Companies for HR. [Online) https://www.workforce.com/news/2019-workforce-100-ranking-top-companies-hr [Accessed 1st April 2021].
Cox, T. H., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing cultural diversity: Implications for organizational competitiveness. Executive, 5, 45–56. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/AME.1991.4274465
Hays-Thomas, R., 2016. Managing workplace diversity and inclusion: A psychological perspective. Taylor & Francis.
Patrick, H.A. and Kumar, V.R., 2012. Managing workplace diversity: Issues and challenges. Sage Open, 2(2), p.2158244012444615.
Fortune (2019) Best workplaces for diversity. [Online]
Available at: (https://fortune.com/best-workplaces-for-diversity/2019/adobe/)
[Accessed 4th April 2021].
Adobe (2019) Adobe diversity and inclusion year in review. [Online] Available at(https://www.adobe.com/content/dam/cc/en/diversity/pdfs/adobe_diversity-and-inclusion_year-in-review_fy2019.pdf). [Accessed 1st April 2021].