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managing work diversity
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    HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGIES Workforce diversity refers to the vital change in the workforce’s composition and is now becoming a common practice in most organizations across the world as the populations and cultures are becoming more and more diverse. This diversity in terms of demographics is seen to be accompanied by pressures in the economy as globalization and technological advancements of the economy are increasingly enhancing the need by employers for a highly trained workforce. Furthermore, political pressure posed by women, immigrants, older workers, and persons living with disabilities have brought about legal changes in the rights of employment for several groups that were previously excluded by customs or law from technical jobs and desirable professionals (Kossek, Lobel & Brown, 2006). Given such changes, it is of essence for organizations to design and implement diversification programs for the workforce. Such changes involve changes that are delicate  but sweeping in how business is conducted: changes in the mission, values, culture, practices and policies of organizations. Workforce diversity arises as a result of societal changes that have effects on organizations and thus the organizational changes brought about by workforce diversity cannot be isolated. Somewhat, they relate to other upcoming trends in the management of  public personnel including employee and development, targeted recruitment, non-adversarial conflict resolution and Total Quality Management. However, they also contradict with other upcoming trends in the human resource management brought about by the same pressures: temporary employment, alternative service delivery methods, and simplification of jobs (Pitts & Wise, 2010). The changes brought about by workforce diversification results in changed expectations in roles for all groups especially in the public agencies: managers and supervisors, elected and appointed officials as well as public personnel managers. Due to the  fact that the underlying assumptions and objectives of diversification strategies contradict with the ones for other trends in management, programs or strategies for workforce diversification results in conflicts which make effective performance by groups more demanding and difficult (Hendry, 2012). There are numerous successful as well as unsuccessful workforce diversification strategies in the public sector. And there is sharing of common characteristics for successful  programs as well as unsuccessful ones. The objective of this paper is to discuss the strategies that human resource managers undertake so that the workforce is diversified. To be able to understand such strategies and how successful or unsuccessful they are, it is of essence to have a clear and elaborate understanding of workforce diversity and its impact in an organization. Successful diversification programs will see the mission or vision of an organization being achieved in a step by step process, all workforce involved,  productivity as well as efficiency and effectiveness of the workforce (Kossek, Lobel & Brown, 2006) without any discrimination. On the other hand, ineffective strategies become unsuccessful because their long term impact on the culture and mission of the organization is inadequate (Pitts & Wise, 2010) and this is mostly associated with cases of insufficient commitment from the top level management. To be successful in the creation of workforce diversity programs encompasses being able to attract and retain individuals of the highest quality in the talent pool (Kochan et al., 2003). This means looking beyond the methods of recruiting and venues for such quality  people and then acquiring knowledge on how to manage sensitively the human potential (Hendry, 2012). It calls for an ever-increasing awareness of how diverse people from different environments are able to deal with communication, authority, overall etiquette in  business and relate them to their communities of affiliation (Tompkins, 2002).   Promoting the diversity of the workforce is a process that cannot take place in a day  but rather takes place in many stages and on numerous levels (Kossek, Lobel & Brown, 2006). First it requires for the human resource professionals to recruit qualified and competent staff and then be able to accommodate individual needs within the context of the work team as well as the organization. In today’s world that has seen globalization take effect at an advanced level, with technology moving faster that most organizations’ pace, businesses cannot thrive without the implementation of a workforce diversity culture. We have seen workforce move from one country to another, companies have expanded and the number of multinational companies has increased significantly, business is being conducted online in all corners of the world and talents are really being outsourced across the globe irrespective of the countries of srcin. Because of this, it would be mad to assume that organizations can operate effectively without workforce diversity initiatives. Besides being able to tap talents and abilities of individuals from diverse backgrounds, organizations can enhance and improve their image by opening up opportunities for business to any person regardless of gender, colour, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability (Pitts & Wise, 2010). Strategies used in Diversifying the Workforce There are so many strategies that human resource personnel use in order to ensure workforce diversity from hiring and recruiting to retaining the workforce. Diversifying a workplace which involves defining of the orga nization’s initiatives and strategies for doing so is one strategy. Generally, any initiative aimed at diversifying a workforce should be able to realize some of these goals, if not all: maximizing the satisfaction of all employees across all groups in an organization, retaining a workforce that can be termed as world class and sustaining an environment that is able to foster understanding and learning (Hendry, 2012).   Leadership is another strategy that is significantly fundamental to ensure diversity in the workforce. The success of any initiative in an organization is in most cases assessed by the commitment shown in the process of achieving that initiative (Kochan et al., 2003). An initiative to diversify a workforce can be put in writing and even signed with each individual swearing to uphold the initiative, but without commitment it is just as good as not dreaming. In this case, the senior managers including the CEO, evidently support in all ways (financial, emotional, physical) and promote the initiative for diversification. Most senior managers employ this strategy as it is easy to lead by example (Tompkins, 2002). In this case diversity is fused into the processes of the organization and ensures that it is integrated into the company’s values and obje ctives (Pitts & Wise, 2010). Thus, all the employees would just follow suit as the processes requires them to do so. In this case even a new employee in the organization is absorbed into the system that is already diversified and is committed to diversity. In this leadership strategy, leaders or senior level management are seen to embrace diversity. A diverse workforce is generally a competitive advantage. Being able to promote a culture that can value employees because of their uniqueness in terms of skills, perspectives and experiences irrespective of their disabilities, gender, race or colour makes a distinction to an organization that is all-inclusive, relevant and sincerely understanding of the needs and wants of their customers. In essence, it is a great asset to customers as well as business intelligence (Kossek, Lobel & Brown, 2006). Internally, the more understanding and respecting the senior management is of their employee’s diversities, the easier it is to be able to make challenging conversations more at ease. This is especially critical when dealing with culturally, religiously or otherwise diverse group of people including customers (Hendry, 2012).
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