You may know that there has been an increased emphasis placed on diversity in the workplace over the years. It makes sense that having an atmosphere of collaboration consisting of professionals from different ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds can add to the creativity and innovation of the finished project. However, inefficient and unprofessional diversity management can lead to a number of problematic issues. Keep reading to discover seven problems associated with not managing workplace diversity.
Effective communication is crucial to a productive and successful workforce. When communication barriers exist or there is simply a lack of communication among colleagues, things tend to fall apart. Problems in communication are quite prevalent within a diverse workplace due to the existence of a number of native languages being spoken, broad cultural differences and opposing world views. Without leadership intervention, these communication issues can lead to big problems such as loss of productivity, costly mistakes and low employee morale. Hiring bilingual employees, offering training materials in multiple languages and presenting diversity workshops can minimize these issues.
Where diversity exists, so do stereotypes. Making assumptions about groups of people based on faulty beliefs or stereotypes is hurtful and is a sure way to cause a divide among workers. Be sure your company has a no discrimination policy in place and that it is strictly enforced. Again, diversity sensitivity initiatives can be of tremendous benefit when it comes to enhancing understanding.
Your company’s reputation can be greatly enhanced when job seekers and industry leaders learn that you place value on hiring a diverse workforce. However, it can also be damaged if word gets around that there are problems among groups of employees within your organization. You can cut down on tensions by addressing incidents immediately, as well as by ensuring all members of your staff feel valued, included and engaged. Work with your HR team to create initiatives that reward and encourage workers across groups for their individual merit, contributions and accomplishments.
4. Opposition to Change
Some employees may not embrace the diversity initiatives your company is putting in place. In fact, some may even push back against them. Such opposition can cause a great deal of tension and upheaval in the workplace. In order to overcome this opposition, you’ll want to alleviate any fears resistant employees may have, according to DiversityInc Best Practices. Educational programs that spell out the benefits of diversity can go a long way toward increasing understanding and diminishing the fears that are underlying opposition.
5. Poor Retention
If misunderstandings surrounding diversity exist and they are not addressed properly through workplace diversity initiatives, you could see a large influx of employee resignations. Losing your best and brightest due to poor management practices would be a shame and is a cost your business can likely not afford. That’s why having a plan in place for promoting and managing diversity within your organization is so important.
In addition, if you do not have clear-cut policies in place that are sufficiently monitored and enforced within a diverse workplace, you are opening your business up to potential lawsuit. Don’t take that chance. Be vigilant, consistent and professional when it comes to addressing personnel issues surrounding diversity.
Poor implementation of diversity efforts is a primary contributor to the failure of such initiatives. Not only do your policies and programs surrounding diversity need to be sound, you must also be sure they are delivered properly and monitored regularly. Consistent delivery in which all employees are included and held accountable is essential. Monitoring the results of your efforts is also necessary. When things aren’t working, taking immediate steps to make changes in order to resolve problems.
8. Lost Profits
Finally, you should understand that all of the above problems that are associated with no managing workplace diversity result in a decrease in profits for your business. When mistakes are made due to poor communication, employee morale is low because stereotypes are left unaddressed or productivity suffers when there is high turnover rates, you are losing money. An efficient and effective workplace diversity management system can lessen the chances of lost profitability.
These are eight of the most common issues associated with not managing the diversity in your workplace. As you can see, steps can be taken to effectively solve these issues and create a harmonious workforce that embraces differences.