Diversity management leverages diversity. It acknowledges the reality that people differ in many ways, that this has implications in the workplace, and that there are ways to address diversity issues in the interests of the workplace.
By focusing on managing the differences within a company’s workforce, capitalising on the benefits of diversity and minimising workplace challenges, diversity management contributes significantly to the bottom line. That’s according to Derek Hendrikz, MD of Derek Hendrikz Consulting, a Services SETA accredited corporate training company.
What is diversity management?
Diversity management is about harnessing the power of difference. Diversity encompasses elements like gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and personality type. The aim of diversity management is to represent the unique values, cultures and characteristics of all individuals in an organisation. Diversity management develops cross-cultural capabilities that make it easier to do business in culturally complex environments.
What is the benchmark of effective diversity management?
One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is to stay relevant. They can only do that by deconstructing and continually recreating themselves. To do that, they need to look at power, reference systems, relatedness and identity in their workforce. An effective diversity management programme encourages participants to understand the diversity issues that apply to colleagues in their industries, as well as those that apply to customers in their industries. Successful diversity management empowers people to behave as role models and demonstrate to others respect for diversity. Leaders in turn need to understand cross-cultural communication and promote the benefits of a diverse workforce, as well as using the skills of a diverse workforce to enhance business performance.
How can effective diversity management give companies a competitive advantage?
A diverse workforce does not automatically translate into bottom line benefits. Diversity must be managed, and companies must commit to ensuring that their employees’ unique skills, perspectives and knowledge are channelled into producing results.
Diversity awareness helps people to function effectively in a diverse working environment by undermining social categorisation. Diversity can increase organisational profits by improving human resource efficiencies and enabling superior decision-making, problem-solving, creativity and innovation – key factors in the creation of knowledge-based companies.
It also means that companies develop a greater ability to implement new product and service developments and new sales and marketing strategies for diverse customer bases. Effective diversity management leads to improved individual and organisational performance because of the powerful effects of diversity on problem-solving, decision-making, innovation and creativity.
For more information visit www.derekhendrikz.co.za