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Diversity: A Word Not Overused—And a Huge Part of Smart Business Today

Jun 22, 2016 in Workplace Diversity

We are all flooded with expert opinions that, as more and more women, minorities, people with different lifestyles, especially LGBT, enter our workforce, the diversity of their viewpoints, interests, needs and cultures do and will continue to create monumental complexities for supervisors and managers.  If the statistics are correct on the continuing rate of increase of women, minorities, and LGBT in the workforce, and in leadership roles, by the year 2020 the company that has not prepared for this event may very well find itself included in those other statistical data showing the numbers of businesses, large and small, that for one reason or another, failed to survive.

Similar to professionals in other disciplines, most HR experts wonder and speculate about what the business environment will really be, in the future if, as predicted, minority employment continues to increase while fewer non-minorities enter the workforce.  The answer to this is simply that there will be a need for substantive changes in some company policies, programs, and procedures to accommodate this influx.  However, there should really be no reason for major reengineering of the infrastructure of the business to the point that it will be unrecognizable from the way business was formerly conducted.

Title VII, together with amendments which have followed, set the stage and established the blueprint to guide employers in the hiring and promotion of minorities and women in the workplace.  It can be no coincidence that those business organizations that cooperated and complied with civil rights laws should discover the many advantages of employing these groups, and that they were by and large successful.  Similarly, there is no reason now to believe that those organizations that accept the principles of diversity management will not be equally successful.

From a practical and realistic view, most company leaders and managers have had the challenge of managing diverse groups of employees for a number of years.  We may speculate as to what the exact percentage of increase may be, but the projected demographic statistics of US population figures should provide us with some reliable evidence as to the probabilities of diversity employment.  Whatever the exact percentages may be, it is certain that supervisors will be required to devote an increasing amount of their time to the management and direction of a diverse internal workforce.  Individual opinions notwithstanding, the point must be acknowledged and understood by every supervisor and manager, and particularly every HR leader, that full-scale diversity management is here in a big way, and it is not leaving.

These changes will not take place without a challenge; however, the companies that are prepared to step up to the challenge and look at it as an opportunity, will be the winners from a competitive as well as a societal standpoint.  In any event, companies will need all the help they can get in order to prepare their managers and general employee population to play properly in the diverse sandbox that is the today’s workplace.