Managing Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity encompasses the entire range of human qualities that are different from one’s own, not just ethnicity, race, and gender. In the workplace, diversity can affect performance, motivation, success and the ability of coworkers to coexist. Managing diversity in the workplace focuses on the attempt to maximize the ability of each and every employee to contribute to the goals of the organization.
When discussing diversity in the workplace, many assume that managing it requires fairness, often defined as treating everyone exactly the same. However, if for example, some employees have a limited grasp of English compared to others, how is treating everyone the same even approaching fair? Managing diversity recognizes that different employees bring different skillsets to the workplace, and being fair does not always equal treating everyone the same.
A good manager will develop strategies in order to handle diversity issues. First and foremost, one should ensure that good faith efforts are put forth in attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce. Similarly, appropriate accommodations should already exist in order to meet the needs of disable employees. Third, a good manager should be aware of his or her own biases. Knowledge is the first step to recognition. Managing diversity in the workplace requires asking oneself, what does respect look like? When you understand how different people and different groups understand respect, then a diverse workforce can be a harmonious organization.