Diversity in the Workplace

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Describe how greater diversity of workers has been impacting organizations.

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Diversity has had a positive impact on many organizations. A diverse workforce is one that can better relate to customers and other stakeholders in a globalized world. In retail, especially, a diverse workforce is more aware of the needs of a diverse consumer body.

An ethnically diverse workforce is especially useful as organizations move into global markets. For example, a company employing Indian Americans might take advantage of the strong ties of the Indian diaspora with India to increase exports to India or market to the diaspora. Latinx employees might be able to set up Spanish-language customer service or otherwise establish connections with Latinx customers or Central/South American markets.

As companies accommodate employees with disabilities, they are pushed to think about ergonomics in a way that can make workspaces more functional for all employees and more accessible for customers.

Hiring employees with mental health issues can bring new perspectives and solutions that neurotypical employees might not offer. Temple Grandin, for example, credits her autism as a key element in her success in animal science, including her innovative designs for livestock handling.

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There are at least two major ways that diversity has been impacting organizations.

First, diversity brings a greater range of ideas and insights to firms.  Firms with diverse workforces have more kinds of people to draw on instead of drawing on a more homogeneous group with less diversity of thought and opinion.

Second, diversity brings challenges to workplaces.  Firms have to be aware of the possibility of conflict and misunderstanding between different groups.  This brings about, for example, the need for much more training to help avoid things like sexual harassment or cultural insensitivity.

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