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Diversity in the Workplace

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Diversity in the Workplace Amber Barger ORG536 – Contemporary Business Writing and Communication Colorado State University –Global Campus Dr. Phillip Jackson November 26, 2013

DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE As companies start to regain their footing after the recent economic downturn,

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factors such as the rising number of immigrants, mergers of large corporations, the popular use of temporary workers and the increasing globalization of business, has forced the American workforce to become more diverse (White, 2009). While businesses begin to communicate more with other businesses around the world, it is equally important to remember the advantages of becoming diverse domestically. According to Guffey and Lowey (2001), diversity comes in many forms. Race, age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities and religion are only six of the endless qualities that make up diversity. Fortunately, American corporations have begun to raise the bar when it comes to diversity in the workplace. What makes a company successful at fostering diversity? Daniels (2004), identifies a few strategies that companies are using to foster a healthy diverse culture. Companies begin by interacting with outside minority communities such as colleges where minority groups are well represented. While on these college campuses they participate in job fairs where they offer internships or job positions to qualified minority students about to graduate from college. After a company successfully hires a person within a minority group, they offer formal training and leadership development programs. The programs are designed to provide enough tools and resources to retain that employee with the idea of eventually promoting the employee within the company. Further, the company also provides a senior manager who is supportive of the diversity efforts and is vital in creating a culture where minorities will thrive (Morsella, 2009). The manager who is responsible for creating the culture where minorities can thrive, is also responsible for making sure the minorities of the company feel as though

DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE they really belong and are an asset to the company. This is accomplished by encouraging all employees, including managers at senior levels, to volunteer in and around minority communities. They are often times asked to donate resources and to raise funds for

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communities in need. Some companies even sponsor minority groups or offer scholarships designed for minorities who want to obtain a higher education, but do not have the necessary resources (Morsella, 2009). Finally, companies who are making such an effort to foster diversity in the workplace, also make sure that the diversity at the upper management or board level is equal to that of the general employee population (Daniels, 2004). Daniels (2004), further explains that people of minority qualities made up 21% of the boardroom population in 2003, which is up from 19% in 2001. The passion of minorities to obtain these positions can be attributed to the percentage increase. Many companies have realized that diversity is critical to the survival of the business. Companies have also realized the importance of the benefits of diversity in the workplace. Diversity can be modeled through preferences, strategies or production. Many companies strive for diversity not only because of the individual well-being of employees, but also the overall superior performance of the company as a whole. Colvin (1999), reports that companies who are more diverse either matched or out-performed the S&P 500. Essentially, being diverse meant that a company reaped profits from Wall Street. With maximum performance of a company being the major goal, why wouldn’t companies become more diverse? After all, diverse companies are not only “doing the right thing” but also receiving maximum results.

DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE Many companies have also realized that diversity in the workplace also makes for

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happier customers. Prenhall.com says “catering to minority customers is far more effective when a company addresses the distinctions that drive purchasing decision among various ethnic groups. So putting more people of color on the sales floor, and in executive positions, is really a no-brainer in any company”. Customers that can relate to representatives are more inclined to do business with that particular company. To give an example, Toyota works to find highly capable minority employees by going outside of the automobile industry to get someone who is energetic and shows potential in becoming an automobile dealer. After they find the right person, Toyota then puts that person through a lot of training, giving them the tools and resources they need to become successful in the industry (Prenhall.com). Toyota’s ability to look for personal traits instead of a person’s years of experience in the field has given them the reputation of being minority friendly. This has potentially given them an advantage over other automakers, also giving them the potential to out-perform Wall Street. As the business environments continue to increase in the level of globalization, companies find it rewarding to continue to invest in the development and expansion of their own diverse teams. They do this by following the guidelines and strategies outlined by Daniels earlier. The more a company reaches out to the minority communities, the more recognition the company gains; also earning them a top-notch reputation by consumers. Another benefit of becoming a minority-friendly company is that the company eventually becomes a self-reinforcing cycle (Colvin, 1999). This means that future minority job candidates will seek the company as a place to work because of the reputation the company holds with their predecessors.

DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE

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By having a diverse staff, a company has the ability to answer customers’ needs and efficiently answer questions that customers may not have had initially. The references used for this paper show the positive attributes diversity bring. It seems diversity not only equates profit, but it also increases productivity, provides a more enjoyable environment in the workplace, and allows customer satisfaction to increase. With all of these factors backing diversity, the question boils down to “Why didn’t we start becoming more diverse sooner?”

DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE References Daniels, C. (2004). 50 best companies for minorities. Fortune, 149(13), 136-146. Gordon. (n.d.). Prentice Hall. Retrieved November 22, 2013,

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from

http://www.prenhall.com/managementzone/gordonob7/GordonCH03.pdf Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2011). Business communication: process and product (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning. Morsella, T. d. (2009). Finding Diversity-Friendly Companies. Finding Diversity-Friendly Companies. Retrieved November 20, 2013, from

http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/job/finding-diversity-friendlycompanies.asp. White, G. (2009). Diversity in workplace causes rise in unique employee benefits and changes in cafeteria plans. Journal of Management and Marketing Research, 2, 1-9. Retrieved November 20, 2013, from the EBSCOHost database.

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