Diversity Analysis

This essay has a total of 2110 words and 9 pages.

diversity

Introduction
Companies in the 21st century are facing fierce competition, economic and global
challengers. In the midst of challengers organisations should have distinctive competences
to resist it. Survival depends on the maintenance of market share by having good image,
cost leadership, sound technical or service superioty, committed employees and speed of
market. Organisations success depends on how well the use of resource are utilised in
achieving the core competences. Human assets are becoming the most important resource
because of the rapid growth in the service sector. Human resources hold valuable knowledge
and information, which sets them a part as the source in creating intellectual capital
that sets a firm a part from its competitors (Kamoche, 2001) The most important resource
for successful organisation is its human resources therefore firms cannot treat human
assets as commodities. To create value, management should try to find ways to utilise
employees efficiently. The importance of human resource management to align with the
business strategy is fundamental to the firm's achievement of competitive advantage. As
Bratton and Gold (1999: 08) describes human assets have the characteristic of creating
value to the firm, be unique, difficult to imitate and substituted. In the past decade
diversity has been the forerunner in the argument of human resource management. Workplace
diversity is about acknowledging differences adopting to work practices to create an
inclusive environment in which our diverse skills, perspectives and backgrounds are valued
(Nicholas, 2000:14). This article will examine the benefits and the issues the firms would
have in capturing diversity. The article will also concentrate on the central issue of the
importance of integrating the human resource strategy with business strategy. Finally the
article would conclude the problems faced by the HR managers in implementing practices and
policies.


Diversity has been a competitive tool for most organisation because of the development of
technology that results in the relocation of resources and people, increasing
globalisation, aging of workforce, continued ethnic diversification (Hudson, 2002).
Diversity is commonly referred in relation to ethnicity gender and culture but its scope
is widened as far as age, disability, language, religouis beliefs, life stages and
education. Diversity is beneficial to companies as job satisfaction reducers cost on
turnover and absenteeism (Hudson, 2002). With the increase in job satisfaction higher
levels of production also can be achieved. This is similar to the Soft Approach of human
resource management. The soft approach takes the view the benefits will accrue in the long
run. Organisations persistence for good work practise will earn the reputation tag as a
good place of work. All these are consequences in the long term reiterated by the theorist
of the soft approach. Beer et al (1984) and Guest (1987) stated by applying human resource
policies firms could achieve committed, competent employees, which would be cost effective
in turn increasing the companies bottom line. Shiel (2001) based a review on South African
Beers (SAB) reputation for implementing equity-employment plan aimed at significantly
increasing the number of African, Asian and black people throughout the salaried staff, so
that these ranks would be more demographically representative of the markets served. These
were in place 27 years before equal opportunity legislation was introduced in South
Africa. This earned a good reputation for the firm, which was a benchmark for other firms.


Another benefit stated by Robbinson and Dechant (1997) from diversity is the ability to
create value through creative, innovative ideas to solve problems. A diversified workforce
will enhance the creativity as individuals are from different backgrounds. This in turn
would create innovate ideas. Ideas to be creative and innovative workforces and teams have
to be managed productively. This type of team building and creating groups tend to be
theorised under the Hard Approach of human resource management. Hard HRM emphasises
treating employees as a means to achieving the organisation strategy, as a resource that
is used in calculative and purely rational way. Hard HRM assumes that increasing
productivity will continue to be management's principal reason for improving HRM.
Creativity and problem solving can create conflict in organisations. Companies have to be
careful to foster conflict in a positive direction.


Organisations work in complex cultures locally and across boundries. Australian society
for example has changed in the past 20 years. According to the Australian bureau of
statistics out of the 18.7(m) population 43% are either born overseas or parents are
migrants. Further out of the total work force 23% are migrants. As the statistics reveal
the society the organisation operates have become complex therefore appreciating the
impact of these changes are crucial. Recent government statistics estimated in United
States revealed that minority groups have a collective spending power of well over $1
trillion USD (Kamoche, 2001). Women and minorities are starting new business and growing
existing ones at a much faster pace than their more - established counterparts. A talent
pool comprising diverse backgrounds and experience will help provide stronger
communications, new ideas and innovative solutions for this emerging marketplace,
resulting in a distinct business advantage for companies (Robbinson and Dechant, 1997).
The Scottish financial institution Halifax CEO quoted as saying " people do business with
like people, so it is important that our workforce represents the communities in which
they operate"(Hudson, 2002). The inclusion of ethnic workforce to represent the markets is
a strategic imperative, which is similar to the hard approach of HRM. But there are
academics that might argue to the contrary to this stating it is the organisations genuine
interest characterising the Soft approach of HRM.


Diversity is commonly referred in relation to ethinicity, gender and culture but it is
focused in other areas. As for example age diversity benefits have been the hallmark of
the UK giant consumer production producer Tesco. As stated by Hudson (2002) Tesco provides
training to all age groups whether it's a school leaver or a post-retired employee.
Tesco's ability to provides training builds a career regardless of age. A good example of
a gender based diversity programme is the Australian financial institution Westpac that
initiates workplace initiatives and sponsoring for women (Nicholas and Semmartino, 2000).
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