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The article by Celia Young discusses workplace diversity policies and procedures. Although there are different directives and recommendations published and currently in place all around the world, the author suggests that for most organizations diversity is all about statistics and not providing equal opportunities. Although lower ranks of organizations are filled with diverse people, there is little or no change at the executive level. According to Young, setting quotas is not the right approach to create a fully diverse organization. She focuses on the fundamental question, instead of the regulations. Allowing people who look different to enter the company is not a part of the ideology behind diversity policies, only a tool. An organization should look for ways to attract diverse people with different views and allow them to be different as well.
The question of retaining diverse employees is crucial, as studies show that losing workforce from diversity groups happens at a higher rate. An organization needs to focus on creating an inclusive environment. This is where the author finds the gap between what companies “show” to the outside world through their statistics and what they are really doing. Norms of beliefs should be eliminated to create equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination.
The power dynamic diagram shows that the higher the individual is in the hierarchy, the more positional power they have. Young describes eight different reasons why diversity at work does not function as it should and suggests solutions to change the organizational culture to include within the company principles. They are based on acceptance, inclusion, embracing diversity, flexibility and responsibility. Changing the company culture is the only way that organizations can become truly diverse, benefiting from the variety of views, ideas and being able to understand customers from different backgrounds.
Reading the article from a diversity expert of twenty years has made me realize that creating diversity through policies is not possible, it needs to be initiated from inside the company. The views of executives are adapted at a higher level within the company than non-managerial employees’. This makes us ask two simple questions:
What would be the ideal inclusive environment to embrace diversity?
Managing diversity should be an ongoing project and a part of the company mission statement. It should not focus on the numbers and statistics, but the qualities of people. Employees from different backgrounds and beliefs are able to bring innovative methods, thoughts and ideas to the company. The company needs to eliminate stereotyping and compare people’s achievement based on facts and figures. Individuals should be involved in discussion, different projects developments, who do not necessarily share the beliefs of their managers. Equal opportunities need to be provided for learning, development and promotion. Differences between employees based on beliefs and way of thinking should be managed and accepting difference should be made a company priority to apply to all employees.
What are the benefits of embracing diversity for organizations?
Many companies do not realize that there are many benefits of allowing people from different backgrounds communicate their ideas or participating discussions. For example, a Muslim employee at an international bank will understand customers from the same background and their attitude towards credit, money and interest. A working single mum will understand which holiday destination and type other people in the same situation would prefer. Employing people from different backgrounds and giving them an opportunity makes customers view the company as a truly flexible and innovative organization.