Diversity in the workplace is all about encouraging acceptance, mutual respect, and teamwork regardless of differences in gender, age, race, language, religion, or communication styles among teammates. In today’s world, embracing diversity has become a significant part of rewarding business practices.
There are enormous benefits of having a diverse work culture. Innovative process and products are the results of having a workforce from an extensive variety of backgrounds and demographics. When divergent minds work together to achieve the same goal, the outputs are enduring.
However, diversity and inclusion have their own issues as well. Business leaders need to understand various challenges of diversity in the workplace to prevent and address those on time. We have created a list of the most common issues faced in diversified work culture.
Challenges Associated With Diversity
1. Different Ages and Generations
In the next five years, 75% of the workforce will consist of millennials and will change the work culture. Older employees may find it challenging to adapt to changes in the workplace and the work culture the young generation will bring about.
In large organizations, there are different age groups, from youngsters to senior citizens. Therefore, it forms the cliques and social circles, and some employees may feel isolated in the team.
2. Language and Communication Barriers
Language and communication hurdles are constant in organizations with diversified employees. Companies often hire employees whose native language isn’t English, so they sometimes find it difficult to understand the accent and get the message across. This language barrier can result in miscommunication and productivity loss.
3. Gender Equality
In many parts of the world, gender diversity initiative is in its starting phase. The reason why women are low in numbers than men is culture. Women need to juggle between work, household chores, and childcare. In some places, the traditional system still restricts women from earning. And if a woman starts work, she gets paid less than the man in a similar position. This inequality has led to the least number of working women and the challenge is to maintain a healthy ratio of gender diversity.
4. Ethnic and Cultural Differences
Since the retirement of credit card giant – American Express’ CEO Ken Chenault, the Fortune 500 companies are left with only 3 African-American CEOs. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, individuals with Amerian-African sounding names will 14% less likely get a call back for a job offer.
It’s sad that the issues of diverse ethnicity and culture are still there in the companies. Even when the outlook of the world has changed so much, built-in bias is always a challenge.
Solutions to Diversity Challenges
1. Identify and Define the Issues Existing Within the Workplace
It may sound easy; the initial step to solving any diversity issues in the companies is to identify it. The end-goal is to create a work culture with acceptance and equivalent opportunities for everyone. Once the organizational leader identifies the challenges of diversity in the workplace and differences among employees, they will be better able to specify diversity issues to determine the changes needed to address those.
2. Communicate and Stick to Company Policies
One way to deal with some of the problems faced by diversity in the workplace is to review existing organizational policies and training and to develop new ones plus implement those that are relevant to specific issues, if necessary. It would help companies establish a culture of acceptance. Diversity initiatives must be the mission statement and the onboarding process of the organizations.
3. Provide Proper Training Related to Diversity Issues
Diversity training such as productivity training programs, productivity enhancement, retention, and engagement can benefit an organization in many ways. Companies can offer training as freestanding programs, and the results can be integrated into other initiatives.
Apart from this, creating avenues for employees to advise each other and to collaborate and engage in various projects is another great way to help bridge the gap between different age, cultural, and ethnic groups, and help maintain healthy relationships.
4. Accountability of Employee Actions
An organization shall not tolerate any inappropriate behavior with an employee and address it at the earliest. The higher management must be open to communication about any issue faced by the employees. This process will provide potential victims of discrimination, and prejudice with a medium through which they can report inappropriate actions with fear of nemesis.
Nevertheless, how people feel about working with others individually; they are different from each other in some way. A workplace is a professional environment, and there is a need to be treated as the same by everyone regardless of rank or title. Eventually, including diversity with acceptance will be an added advantage for the companies to overcome the challenges of diversity in the workplace. And these companies tend to perform 35% above national industry medians.
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