Diversity and affirmative action are terms that work together to improve the representation of individuals that are underrepresented in organizations or groups; however, these terms are different (United States Government, 2011). Affirmative action is a term that is based on the legal directives, and it requires federal contractors when measuring employment practices, and it is used to develop a community reflective workforce. Affirmative action resulted from discriminatory employment practices; it was developed to ensure that qualified women and minorities are recruited, hired, trained and promoted like other groups (United States Government, 2011). Affirmative action does not only avoid discriminatory practices, but also necessitates and seeks to remove the damage caused by discrimination; it concentrates on taking positive directives to bring women and people from minority groups into the organization.
Diversity, on the other hand, is the differences in a variety among employees in an organization; it includes race, gender, ethnic, competency, multiculturalism, nationality, sex orientation, physical appearance, religion and disabilities. Diversity is based on the believe that abilities of different employees benefits organizations more; the organization increases its productivity and profitability. However, when it is encouraged, it eliminates discrimination of women and minority groups. Diversity, unlike affirmative action, is not rooted in the law, it is a business strategy aimed at increasing importance of distinction among employees at workplace (United States Government, 2011).
People of different cultural diversity have difference beliefs and a clash in the beliefs can cause conflicts resulting to a hostile working environment. For instance, people from Muslim and Christian religion might have a different belief concerning women dressing code; this might cause conflict if it is not handled well (Brown, 2008).
When people of different cultural diversity come together in workplaces, they come with their different perceptions on the way of doing things and perception about certain groups of people. For instance, heterosexual people might perceive bisexual people as people who do not know their sexual identity and therefore, they might consider them as confused people (Brown, 2008). This perception might affect their working if not carefully dealt with by the organizational leadership.
People from different races and ethnic groups come together in workplaces; these people might also have different languages, and the group with the largest number of people might choose to communicate in their language making others feel intimidated and out of place. If this issue is not addressed in time and effectively it might lead to discrimination in workplaces; this element should be addressed by advocating for the use of common language (Brown, 2008).
The element of social groupings arises when people of different social classes and beliefs come together in a diverse workplace; this people might intimidate others who feel that they do not fit in the social groups. Others might also feel discriminated, and this might affect their performance at work.
Following the benefits that come with diversity, many organizations have embraced diversity in workplaces, however, organizational leadership need to address the challenges that come with diversity, for them to be successfully implemented. Communication in the workplace is significant for the better running of the organization and good relations among employees and between employees and management. A diverse workplace can be faced with barriers of communication such as language, cultural and perceptual differences, and if they are not addressed they can lead to ineffective communication in the organization (Brown, 2008). Therefore, the organizational leadership should address such communication barriers to avoid confusion and lack of teamwork, as well as low morale in the organization.
When an organization chooses to diversify, there are employees who refuse to go along with the others; they do not accept the social and cultural changes at the workplace. They hold onto the old mentalities and ways of working, such employees also silence new ideas proposed by the company, if this is not addressed in time; it is likely to inhibit progress in the organization (United States Government, 2011). The organizational leadership should quickly address this issue by making employees realize the benefits of diversity, and involving them in diversity initiatives in the organization.
Diversity–related policies are challenging to implement, this is because not all employees are willing to enforce and implement the policies and if it includes employees in positions of authority, then the implementation becomes more difficult (Brown, 2008). Therefore, the organizational leadership should work hard to win most employees especially those holding positions of authority, this can be done by using employee assessment results, and research data to convince them of the benefits of diversity at workplaces, and presenting a strategy that is more effective in maximizing the benefits in the organization.
Diversity management is another challenge that should be addressed by the organizational leadership for diversity to be effectively implemented; a department should be delegated the role of enforcing and implementing diversity policies. The department is expected to follow up and make sure that things go through according to plan and monitor its effects on the organizational performance.
An organization that embraces diversity and equality is bound to grow, employees of different genders, races, physical abilities among other differences make the organization stronger and endowed with different skills.
To ensure diversity in the workplace, an analysis should be carried out on the current employee population to check on statistics of gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, race, sexual orientation, among other aspects of diversity (La Trobe University, 2008). These statistics can be found in the employment database or in the Human Resource Department’s employment report.
After collecting the data and analyzing them for diversity, a diverse committee should be formed; the committee members should formed on voluntary basis. This committee will discuss diversity in the organization, as well ideas that will promote diversity and equality. The committee will also set goals on diversity in the organization and come up with strategies that will help them achieve the goals.
The committee will then review the equal employment policy of the organization to make sure companies comply with federal laws, this includes unfair treatment and harassment of employees (United States Government, 2011). The committee will also review the organization employment policy to make sure that it is up-to-date with the nation’s policies on employment.
Recruit employees for new positions, and make sure that advertisements are placed in ethnic newspapers, and encourage women and people from minority groups to apply. Another way is giving incentives to current employees who recommend qualified employees with a difference in diversity (United States Government, 2011). This step will encourage recruitment of employees of different diversity in the organization.
Training existing employees on diversity issues, encouraging them to cope with employees from different religion, sexual orientation among other diversities and learn to appreciate their fellow employees despite their differences in diversity; this will help employees to work together in harmony.
Disciplinary measures will be put in place for those who will be found discriminating other employees because of their differences in diversity, and procedures put in place for filing a complaint against an employee who engages in discrimination. For those who will be found discriminating others will counseled, and put on probation or terminated.
After implementation, monitoring of diversity is encouraged to ensure its effectiveness in staffing. Methods can be using in monitoring include tracking of applicant diversity, this involves checking the applicants profiles to check for diversity, the applicants should include people of different diversities, if that is not the case then it means that diversity was not considered when advertising for the job openings.
Another method is checking for diversity of candidates who are invited for interview. This is important because applicants might be of different diversities but not invited for job interviews, the job interviews should also show a difference in diversity and then the criteria used for choosing people for interviews should be analyzed and reviewed for diversity.
The hiring records from the time of implementation of diversity program can be tracked to find out if diversity is considered in new hires. This is to ensure that when hiring no one is discriminated because of the differences in diversity, and if diversity is not presented in new hires, then the hiring process should be reviewed for diversity (United States Government, 2011).
The promotions should also be tracked for diversity to check its effectiveness, promotions should be awarded to employees of different diversity without any discrimination. If the promotion records exempt certain groups of people, it means that the criteria used in promotion is not sensitive to diversity; therefore, it should be reviewed (United States Government, 2011).