Diversity management in the workplace has been a hot topic of discussion with regards to business growth and success for several decades. As they seek to grow their product, presence, or service in an ever expanding global market, businesses today have even sought the advice and expertise of so-called "diversity executives."
Such executives agree that diversity management is an ongoing process and begins at the smallest level of a workplace. One highly important characteristic, according to a 2011 Forbes magazine study, is authenticity in practice. This means that simply talking about diversity, or hiring a certain number of employees from various races and backgrounds, is not enough. Experts agree that diversity management must be actively put into practice within a company through actively engaging cooperation of diverse backgrounds, ideas, skills, and talents. Of course, this includes taking into account diverse cultural backgrounds, and consideration of the fact America's population is made up of a variety of cultures. A business can reach a higher number of clients when its employess and leadership represent those clients (and their needs) authentically.
In addition to authenticity, a second important characteristic of diversity management is to approach diversity holistically. For many years, "diversity" within the workplace was directly associated with "affirmative action." Experts now agree that diversity in the workplace goes beyond a mere difference of race, and should now incorporate differences of values, cultures, generations, ideas, and ways of thinking. A holistic approach to diversity management takes into account each of these things and more. Leaders are willing to not only hire people with different perspectives, but are willing to listen and incorporate ideas into their marketing and growth strategies. This characteristic of diversity management creates workplaces that are built around different teams of people who do not all think and work alike, but are able to work together in light of their differences. A holistic approach to diversity management also understands that diversity exists within the company, but outside the company as well. It considers the difference of background, values, and needs of its clients in addition to its employees.
For diversity management to be effective within a company, it must be authentic and approached holistically. As an ongoing process, diversity management is growing and changing as quickly as the population of a given market grows and changes.