Diversity in the workplace encompasses much more than the topic of race. There is also diversity in age, education and gender. The matter of race is what is most often thought of when diversity in the workplace is the topic. There are a number of companies that have been identified by Fortune as the “Best Companies for Minorities.” These companies have been deemed successful for a variety of reasons, including leadership, recruitment, retention and promotion, marketing and community outreach, and supplier diversity (Hispanic Business, 2013). Diversity within the company can be beneficial on several levels. This paper will explore fostering diversity within an organization, specifically, the company in which I presently work.
There are five key suggestions for fostering diversity according to Daniels (2004). Those include: 1) making an effort to hire, retain, and promote minorities, 2) interact with outside minority communities, 3) hold management accountable for diversity issues, 4) create a culture where people of color and other minorities feel they belong, and 5) match a diverse workforce with diversity in an organization’s management ranks and on its board. To illustrate to my boss how important it is to foster diversity within our own organization, I prepared a report to show what some of the leading minority-friendly companies are doing.
By hiring, promoting and retaining minorities within the workforce, there is the opportunity for increased innovation. Hewlett, Marshall and Sherbin (2013) explore two types of diversity- inherent and acquired. The inherent diversity is traits specific to you- gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Acquired diversity relates to traits gained through experience. An example of such is an appreciation of cultural differences based on time working outside the United States. This is not something that all employees would have direct experience with. Through the hiring, promoting and retention of minorities, there is the opportunity to increase the level of acquired diversity within the company.
Interaction with outside minority communities provides an introduction of the company to more people, benefitting the company as whole. As consumers recognize that the company is diverse, they are likely to be further enticed. According to Guffey and Lowey (2011), consumers are attracted by companies which support their values. It is important for companies to interact with various communities and there are a variety of ways to do so, and many do not cost a great deal. Lending support and interaction to the community is the right thing to do, and should not just be to gain recognition. From participating in community activities such as a walk, to providing a sponsorship for an event, giving back makes for a better company.
As the recession appears to be behind us, and hopefully, hiring will be possible again the in the near future, management should be held accountable for diversity issues. ...