The Characteristics, features, and functions that differentiate one employee to others, is known as Work Force Diversity and managing such things in the organization is known as managing cultural diversity in the work place. In every organization people come from the various places and from the various regions of the world, and they all show a different culture that matters a lot while performing the duties in the organization. This variation or difference in the employees culture in business terms also known as cultural diversity in the workplace, which put impacts on the employee performance. Let see how culture diversity in the workplace impact the work force ability of an employee.
An accumulation of knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, experience & religion by a group of individuals is collectively called culture. The people normally do not think about these elements.
- Cultural Competence
Culture is not static & it changes from time to time as an on-going process. The cultural competence refers to the utilization of interpersonal and social knowledge & skills that shows the comprehension & admiration of the differences & similarities among individuals & groups.
Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
The working environment of the organizations is changed into diversified surroundings. In modern days the organizations strive to retain workforce that belong to different cultures & geographical areas. There are some advantages linked with Cultural Diversity in the Workplace as well as some disadvantages. But if the organizations properly managed its diverse workforce, then maximum advantages would be obtained & almost all the side effects of diversification of the workforce would be eliminated. The advantages may include development of employees, increase in the creativity & problem solving, business growth & improvement in the customer services etc. For this purpose, information technology (IT) provides the assistance in connecting different employees to share knowledge & experiences with each other.
Reasons for Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
There are basically two main reasons for this Cultural Diversity in the Workplace which are as follow.
01- The changing structure of the population of the country
It has been proven from the research that Cultural Diversity in the Workplace is a universal trend. The population of the country changes because the birth rate in the ethnic group of minorities increases along with an increasing rate of immigration. On the other side, globalization is increasing day by day because every domestic or large organization is facing foreign competition & these organizations work in the international markets. For this purpose organizations try to operate in an advanced manner by searching & retaining talented employees from different cultures.
Benefits of Cultural Diversity in Workplace
Cultural Diversity in the Workplace provides potential benefits to the organization, but the management should have to deal with diverse workforce carefully. Following are the main advantages of a diversified workforce from different cultures.
01- The productivity & efficiency of the employees increase as they are valued by the Business Organization. Therefore, they work with more commitment & motivation.
02- The new talented employees come with new ideas & concepts which would be fruitful for the organization to solve certain issues.
03- The diverse employees assist in designing a diversified product for different geographical groups. The unique marketing efforts are advised for the respective markets.
04- The customer services can be made effective through culturally diversified workforce.
05- The business growth is directed towards right track by employing from different cultures.
Disadvantages of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
In olden days, the managers considered culturally diverse workforce as a harmful aspect of the organization, because at that time they could not properly manage the diverse workforce. But still now if the diverse employees are not effectively managed, they would provide serious disadvantages to the organization which are as follow.
01- The financial costs of the organization increase due to high rate of absenteeism, lawsuits or turnover. Also the organizations spent much money in training a new diversified employee and when that unsatisfied employee leaves the organization, loss is bearable by the organization.
02- Cultural Diversity in the Workplace also results in low productivity as people from different culture feel prejudice and sometimes they do not accept the policies & norms of the organization. This would result into low commitment & motivation which in turn reduces the productivity & innovation of employees.
03- In some cases the leave of diversified employees from the organization creates a bad image about the organization with respect to culturally diversified workforce. When there is a shortage of labor in the organization, the new diversified employees are not attracted towards the organization due to its bad image.
Issues in Managing Cultural Diversified Workforce
In managing the cultural diversified workforce, there are two main issues which are as follow.
01- People Management
02- Knowledge Management
- People management
The management of diverse employees in the organization is one of the big challenges of today’s modern world. For this purpose, the manager should identify the difference that an employee hold & therefore the manager should value it so that this difference can be employed in the favor of the organization. For making diversified workforce as a useful asset of the organization, there are certain concepts & beliefs that prevent the process.
It is the belief of an individual (employee) that his culture is superior to the person of another culture. This would create a mono-cultural concept in the organization in which only one method of performing duties & tasks is promoted under a single set of ideas & beliefs. As an ultimate result, the smooth functioning of the organization is hindered.
- The Glass Ceiling
The glass ceiling is a non-visible hindrance that prevents women & other minority groups to acquire the position of top management. There is an unidentified concept among the workforce of the organization that the women or other individuals belonging to minority groups are not eligible to become the top executives in the organization.
- Knowledge Management
Knowledge is a value able resource of the employees & when it is effectively utilized, it gives value to other assets of the organization. Another important fact in this regard is that the when diversified employees use their knowledge in the progress of the organization, their knowledge does not reduce, but rather it increases. In the area of knowledge management, the main thing is the sharing of knowledge that different employees possess because generally the employees are not willing to share their value able resource. This creates a challenge for the management to effectively handle the knowledge of their employees due to the following two reasons.
01- Language barrier between employees of different cultures.
02- The direction of knowledge flow, which may be from top to bottom or bottom to up or might be in both ways.