School report notebook kit (cover, binder spine, divider tabs)
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Chapter 1: Implement diversity policy8
1.1Locate and review diversity policy8
Food for thought9
Key features of relevant current Legislations9
Importance of reviewing diversity plan12
Benefit of Diversity policy12
Food for thought12
1.2Determine its application to the specific work context13
Application of diversity policy in work context13
How to make organisation “Employer of Choice”13
Food for thought14
1.3Institute actions to ensure that the diversity policy is understood and implemented by relevant parties15
Importance of ensuring understanding of diversity policy15
Actions to ensure diversity policy is understood and implemented.16
Food for thought17
1.4Provide feedback and suggestions for improvement to ensure currency and efficacy of diversity policy18
Importance of feedback and suggestions18
Importance of maintaining currency and efficacy of diversity policy18
Food for thought18
Chapter 2: Foster respect for diversity in the work team22
2.1Address own prejudices and demonstrate respect for difference in personal interactions22
How to demonstrate respect22
Food for thought23
Importance of addressing own prejudices and demonstrate respect to staff23
Food for thought24
2.2Aim for diversity in selecting and recruiting staff25
Selection and recruitment of staff25
Action to perform for diversity during selection and recruitment26
Importance to aim for diversity during selection and recruitment27
Food for thought27
2.3Identify and address training needs to address issues of difference in the team28
Issues of difference in the team28
Action to address issues of difference29
Food for thought32
2.4Manage tensions and encourage collaboration and respect between staff who struggle to work effectively with difference33
How tension in workplace generates33
Respect between staff33
How to work effectively with difference33
Steps to manage tension and encourage collaboration34
Food for thought35
2.5Assist staff to see that working effectively with difference is a strength that can improve the organisation’s products, services and customer relations36
Working effectively with difference36
Organisation’s products and service36
Benefit of working effectively with differences36
Assist employees to understand strength of diversity37
Food for thought37
2.6Manage allegations of harassment and address complaints according to established organisational procedures38
Allegation of harassment38
Example of workplace harassment38
How to manage allegation of harassment and address complaints38
Food for thought40
Chapter 3: Promote the benefits of diversity44
3.1Promote the organisation’s workforce diversity in internal and external forums to enhance the company’s image and reputation44
Promotion of organisation’s workforce diversity44
Internal and External forum45
Image and reputation of company46
Benefit of promotion of workforce diversity in various forums46
Food for thought47
3.2Capture ideas and information from the diversity in the workforce to enhance products and services and contribute to competitive advantage48
Ideas and information48
Way to capture ideas and information from diverse workforce48
Food for thought50
3.3Support organisational efforts to value diversity51
How can staff support organisation efforts to value diversity51
Food for thought52
This workbook is about the skills required for:
· Implementing diversity policy.
· Fostering respect for diversity in the work team.
· Promoting the benefits of diversity.
This learner guide will help students to learn about locating and reviewing diversity policy to determine its application in a specific work context. It also helps to institute actions required to ensure understanding and implementation of diversity policy by relevant parties. It helps to provide feedback and suggestion to improve and ensure currency and efficacy of diversity policy.
The guide will help the student to address their own prejudices and to show respect for differences in their personal interactions. Discuss the importance of aiming for diversity while selecting and recruiting staff and identifying and addressing training needs to address any issues due to the differences in teams.
We will discuss how to manage tensions, encourage collaboration and respect between staff members struggling to work effectively.
The guide will also include information why promoting an organisation’s workforce diversity in internal and external forums will often enhance the company’s image and reputation and how collecting ideas and information from a diverse workforce can contribute to a competitive advantage.
What will I learn
The learning materials will provide opportunities to harness skills and knowledge to manage workplace diversity by implementing the organisational diversity policies, promoting diversity and highlighting benefits of a diverse workplace in the team.
Chapter 1: Implement diversity policy
This chapter will help you learn how to:
· Locate, review and determine diversity policy and its application in the workplace.
· Perform actions to ensure understanding and implementation of diversity policies and collect feedback and suggestions for improving them.
It is of great importance to any workplace that all staff members including managers, supervisors and employees understand what diversity is and how to promote and manage the many challenges that it can bring to the workplace. Diversity covers a very wide range of human attributes and qualities, all of which contribute to an organisation’s success.
As a hospitality worker, you will encounter a diverse range of colleagues and clients and it is important that you are able to understand that each individual is unique and that you recognise, accept and respect those differences. Some differences are as follows:
· sexual orientation,
· socio-economic status
· physical abilities
· religious beliefs
· political beliefs and other ideologies
· cultural background
· educational level
· learning / thinking styles
· physical capability
· working style
· interpersonal approaches
· life experiences
In addition, is it important to remember the following:
· four in ten Australians are migrants or children of migrants
· people from over 160 different countries live in Australia
· one in four Australians were born overseas
· 13.7% of Australians were born overseas in non-English speaking countries
· 18% of the Australian population has a disability
· One in five people seek mental health services in their lifetime
In order to work effectively with the diversity you will encounter in your workplace, whether colleague or client, you will need additional knowledge and skills. You will need to:
· Be aware of your own; cultural background, attitudes, values, experiences and biases which might influence your own work practices and abilities;
· Understand the need to educate yourself so you can best understand and address the needs of the clients with whom you are working. This might involve learning more about the social, cultural, psychological, political, historical and economic backgrounds of your clients and colleagues;
· Recognise that ethnicity, culture, educational level, sexuality, age, life experiences and physical abilities may have an impact on behaviour;
· Respect your colleagues and clients religious and spiritual beliefs and values;
· Assist clients and colleagues to eliminate biases, prejudice and practices that are discriminatory;
· Provide information in a language that everyone can easily understand. This may mean providing written, visual and/or oral explanation;
· Consult others who know or follow the same religious practices to gain a deeper understanding;
· Consider the specific needs of children, young people and elderly people;
· Understand that some cultural groups have very definite views on the opposite sex providing services to individuals, for example only female workers may be able to assist female clients. You may have to adapt your work practices to allow for this; and
· Consider cultural and religious views of homosexuality, transgender and non-traditional partnerships.
As a hospitality worker, you are not expected to know the cultural and religious practices of every cultural and ethnic group with whom you work. Acknowledging that you are aware of possible differences and seeking clarification about what to do before taking action is the key to overcoming potential problems.
Figure1.1 Diversity Appreciation
Some potential areas of difference may include the following:
Potential areas of difference
Inclusive and appropriate practice
In some cultures, not making direct eye contact is a sign of respect, so for some clients it may not be appropriate for them to do so.
It may not be appropriate in some instances, such as a male worker touching a female client.
Which part of the body can be touched? In some cultural groups it may be inappropriate to touch their head.
Forms of address – for example greetings
Can you address colleagues/clients informally? Or should you address them formally, for example as Mr or Mrs if they are older than you?
What is the correct way to pronounce their name?
In some cultures people may smile to cover their feelings of sadness, anger or just to be polite. They may not be feeling happy at all.
Some people may express their emotions overtly or covertly, for example grief and loss which may cause confusion as their response might be misinterpreted.
Appearance is a personal thing and who can deem what is appropriate or not appropriate?
What are the definitions of clean/tidy?
How should a client or worker’s personal belongings be handled?
Don’t make assumptions of a person’s behaviour based on your own culture/belief system/religion/values.
1.1 Locate and review diversity policy
Workplace diversity refers to the representation of a variety of differences of individuals in an organisation. It includes both the visible and relatively demonstrable personal characteristics like age, gender, ethnicity, race, as well as less visible personal characteristics, such as personalities, competencies, etc. It helps to create an environment where differences are accepted to bring various experience, backgrounds, and belief in the workplace and provide equal opportunities to the deserving candidates.
Many organisations will have developed a business plan as part of its strategic planning process. A business plan is the organisation’s blueprint to state its vision, mission and values, and will also detail policies, practices, goals and the strategies to achieve them. An organisation’s diversity policy outlines the agenda it will use to develop its workforce and will guide employees on what is expected of them.
Each organisation will have their own unique business plan reflecting specific behaviours, practices, goals and objectives to help transform their vision into reality. It is a key document underpinning the organisation’s policies and procedures. It is important to remember that sometimes the workplace is the only environment where people are exposed to other cultures. Therefore, when an organisation encourages staff to learn from each other, and to understand our differences, the organisation will become a more open minded and effective one.
By documenting strategies to include and support diversity in the workplace, this provides organisations with proof that they have the necessary strategies and activities in place designed to underpin the required legislation, standards and codes of practice of their particular industry. It also outlines to all stakeholders and potential stakeholders exactly what the organisation stands for.
Diversity policy helps an organisation to:
· Treat all potential staffs/employees fairly, with dignity and respect
· Provide open opportunities to all.
· Utilise and develop the potential of each employee.
· Provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for employees and visitors.
· Recognise and celebrate multicultural diversity and growth in the workplace.
Food for thought
In your current workplace/learning institute, how diverse is the workforce?
Key features of relevant current Legislations
Anti-discrimination/Equal Opportunity Legislation
Anti-discrimination legislation at both Commonwealth, State and Territory levels requires all reasonable steps to be taken in order to protect workers from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. A series of specific Commonwealth Acts cover age, gender, race and disability; and state and territory laws may also extend these interpretations further to cover such things as: breastfeeding laws in Tasmania, or religious dress laws in South Australia. State and Territory laws vary quite a lot and circumstances can dictate whether Commonwealth or State laws apply.
Equal opportunity legislation at Commonwealth, State and Territory levels coexists with and expands anti-discrimination themes and introduces the concept of equity. This means that everyone receives fair treatment and everyone knows what to expect in terms of rewards and consequences. When equity exists, everyone has equal access to opportunities.
age discrimination Act 2004
The Age Discrimination Act 2004 helps to ensure that people are not treated less favourably on the ground of age in various areas of public life including:
· Provision of goods and services
· Administration of Commonwealth laws and programs
The Act also provides for positive discrimination – that is, actions which assist people of a particular age who experience a disadvantage because of their age. It also provides for exemptions in the following areas:
· Migration, taxation and social security laws
· State laws and other Commonwealth laws
· Some health programmes.
For further information go to:
· http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP XXXXXXXXXX/OpenDocument
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 has as its major objectives to
· Eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities
· Promote community acceptance of the principle that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights as all other members of the community, and
· Ensure as far as practicable, that people with disabilities have the same rights to equality before the law as other people in the community.
For more information visit:
· http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP XXXXXXXXXX/OpenDocument
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 gives effect to Australia's obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Its major objectives are to:
· Promote equality before the law for all persons, regardless of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin, and
· Discriminate against people by their race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin unlawful.
Further information can be found in:
· http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP XXXXXXXXXX/OpenDocument
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 gives effect to Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and certain aspects of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 156. Its major objectives are to
· promote equality between men and women
· eliminate discrimination by sex, marital status or pregnancy and, concerning dismissals, family responsibilities, and
· eliminate sexual harassment at work, in educational institutions, in the provision of goods and services, in the provision of accommodation and the delivery of Commonwealth programs.
For further information:
· http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP XXXXXXXXXX/OpenDocument
Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (formerly called the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986)
The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (formerly called the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act XXXXXXXXXXEstablished the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now known as the Australian Human Rights Commission) and gives it functions about the following international instruments:
· International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
· Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (ILO 111)
· Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
· Convention on the Rights of the Child
· Declaration of the Rights of the Child
· Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons
· Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons, and
· Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
Also, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner has specific functions under the AHRC Act and the Native Title Act,1993 to monitor the human rights of Indigenous people.
Australian Human Rights Commission Regulations 1989 (Cth)
Section 3(1) of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) defines discrimination. The Australian Human Rights Regulations 1989 (Cth) lists additional grounds which will constitute discrimination under the Act.
For further information:
· http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP XXXXXXXXXX/OpenDocument
The importance of reviewing the diversity plan
The implementation of a Workplace Diversity Policy will helps to create a workplace supporting and harnessing equity and fairness and help to eliminate any kind of discrimination, harassment, and bullying in the workplace.
The policy will, directly and indirectly, help to ensure that organisational goals and business objectives are achieved thru diverse and effective work culture. Once formalised and implemented, regular review helps to maintain the currency of the policy.
The regular review helps to:
· Develop and follow to achieve measurable objectives to assess the organisations’ performance in maintaining diversity in the workplace during recruiting and retaining candidates.
· Maintain organisations’ diversity policy and procedure to comply with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements.
· Revise remuneration arrangements to ensure appropriateness and equitability for the employees working in the organisation and does not discriminate based on diversity like gender, age, cultural background, ethnicity, disabilities etc.
· Develop and update strategies to encourage the Company’s diversity through appropriate training and mentoring program.
The benefit of the Diversity policy
· Encourage and increase innovation and creativity of the team.
· Improve client satisfaction.
· Help organisation to attract and retain quality employees.
· Reduce recruitment and training costs of new hires.
· Improve employee satisfaction and productivity
· Improve teamwork.
Food for thought
Is there any specific legislation related to diversity in your state?
1.2 Determine its application to the specific work context
The policy applies to all job applicants and currently employed staff of the organisation. It mainly focuses on overall aspects of employment.
Application of diversity policy in work context
· Attraction, selection, and recruitment of staff
· For attraction potential candidates, workplace diversity policy and action plan can be made available in the information provided to the applicants and also on the internet.
· In the job advertisements, highlight principles and practice of workplace equity and diversity in the organisation and selection for all vacancies based on merit.
· Use a variety of media or specialised recruitment companies to attract a more diverse and representative applicant pool.
· Use diverse selection committees composed of mixed gender, age, and ethnicity.
· For applicants with a disability, provide special arrangements for interviews if required.
· Retention of staff
· Provide appropriate induction to new employees
· Assessed employee’s behaviour against Code of Conduct.
· Support employees to apply for learning and development to meet their needs
· Enforce a zero-tolerance for harassment, bullying, and discrimination.
· Staff training and development
· Provide diversity/ cultural awareness training to each employee
· Discuss discrimination/ harassment issues in Induction training.
· Job Classification
· Include candidates from the diverse area in each job level/classification.
· Encourage candidates/staff to compete and move in different job classification.
· Reward based on merit and performance without discrimination.
· Manage diverse workforce with a program that respects, recognises and rewards all employees effectively.
· Resolution of conflict
· Instead of focusing on the differences, look for common ground between conflicting parties, and build on it.
· Interpersonal relationships
· An interpersonal relationship describes how individuals or groups from different background communicate and interact with each other.
· Listen and respond to people from diverse background.
How to make organisation “Employer of Choice.”
Every company needs talent. While companies have different strategies to address recruitment, many find promoting their values and commitment to diversity helps to attract best talents.Employer Of Choice
· Building an image of their company as an employer, which respects the input of its employees.
· Having policies and programs in place to demonstrate their commitment to diversity.
· Having managers who reflect the broader community.
· Scholarship programs for women and “under-represented” groups, such as Indigenous people to encourage them to be part of the industry.
Many organisations focus on talented and knowledgeable staff for the growth. Companies need to draw upon a wider population to find the best people for their organisations.
Food for thought
Can you think of any two other contexts in the workplace where diversity can be applied?
1.3 Institute actions to ensure that the diversity policy is understood and implemented by relevant parties
It is important to institute an action to ensure workforce, and relevant parties understand and implement the diversity policy.
The first step in determining how current diversity practice in an organisation meets workplace objectives should include identifying whether or not staff have easy access to the organisation’s diversity policies and procedures and are aware of their importance, and if they understand the content of these. If translation services are required, staff need to understand how they can access translated materials.
Policies should be written and stored in a way which allows and encourages staff to easily access and understand them. Their location and importance should form part of the new staff orientation process for any new employee.
Policy access could be supported by:
· Translation – either written or recorded;
· Flowcharts identifying responsible positions for key roles such as safety and anti- discrimination officers;
· An up-to-date organisational chart with names of people holding key positions; and
· A document signed, following the new staff orientation process, by both employer and new employee acknowledging the accessibility and content of key organisational policies, procedures, issues discussed, and that they were understood by the new employee; and
· Surveying all staff to assess their awareness of where the organisation’s diversity policy is stored, and broadly what it contains. This can provide useful feedback on staff awareness of this very powerful document. Survey results are useful to help develop strategies to improve staff awareness, or confirm the success or existing policy. In conjunction with signed orientation papers, survey results can indicate organisational compliance in the event of a legal challenge.
Every effort should be made to quantify procedures and practices which uphold and promote anti-discrimination, diversity and equal opportunity policies and procedures in order to determine whether they are achieving the desired outcomes.
Some examples of how to quantify if procedures are achieving desired outcomes include:
· Holding periodic reviews to check progress, and using an objective measurement to determine success;
· Formalising diversity practice as this helps to ensure that relevant discussion and review takes place in a timely manner, and that any trends, reviews or feedback are given appropriate consideration by management; and
· Utilising a formal process also assists in recognising the importance of providing objective means to analyse whether current diversity practices are meeting workplace objectives.
· Practices can be formalised in a number of ways, including:
· Scheduling revision or discussion during workplace staff meetings on a regular basis, supported by writing up an agenda and minutes;
· Implementing and documenting formal feedback strategies amongst staff on a regular basis (such as surveys and questionnaires, annual workplace reviews and other feedback mechanisms); and
· Allocating sufficient resources e.g. ensuring an appropriate staff member is available to deal with staff issues and one who actively promotes the opportunity to discuss issues in a safe environment.
The process of formalising diversity practice through frequent reporting, implementing strategy and allocating resources is generally a management role.
Importance of ensuring understanding of diversity policy
With changing demography and emerging global markets, organisations embrace workplace diversity to show their commitment to change. Employees also benefit from the workplace with new ideas, respect from co-workers and business gains. It is important for any organisation to ensure each staff understands the diversity policy to work in mutual harmony and efficiency. Some of the importance are:
Increase mutual respect
Understanding of diversity policy helps to foster mutual respect among employees. It focuses on a synergistic work environment where diverse workforce understands the strength and talents of a diverse workforce and hence gains respect for their co-worker’s contribution.
Helps in conflict resolution
Conflict is inevitable in any workplace. However, when employees understand the importance and strength of diversity, they acknowledge others’ differences and help to find common ground for production and quality. With increasing respect for a colleague, the likelihood of conflict reduces and in case of conflict, the chance of the conflict resolution increases.
Increases business reputation
Diversity policies help the employee to learn about working together in difference which encourages them to work on a common ground to build a reputation for the company, leading to increased profitability and opportunities for workers. Diversity policy also helps business to improve its reputations by focusing on a commitment to diversify its workforce using aggressive outreach and recruiting efforts. Customers will also become loyal as business practices of the company are socially responsible.
Increases job promotion
Diversity policy helps employees to think beyond the walls of an organisation. It equips employees with multicultural understanding which helps them to learn multinational business strategy and creates opportunities for possible expatriate assignments.
A diversity policy also helps workforce with exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds. It helps them to learn from co-workers with different work styles attitudes.
Relevant parties are those individuals and organisation who are directly or indirectly associated with the company. The party could be an employee, partner, colleague, or associate of the company. Relevant parties influence the work culture, environment and overall quality delivery of the company.
Actions to ensure diversity policy is understood and implemented.
· Displaying policy on noticeboards and other public areas
With colourful notice board with policy, it attracts employees to check on the content and generates interest. This is a valuable method of creating awareness as it allows employees to actively see the focus area of the company. It also helps to share information on various training and employee development programs focusing on diversity.
· Distributing copies of policy to staff
Diversity policy can be shared and distributed to each staff so that they can have their copy and can check on the policies and procedures to ensure they follow the diversity policy in the workplace.
· Explaining policy to staff at meetings or other forums
The regular preaching of policy to the staff at the meeting and other forums helps staff to understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. It creates value in the mind of employees and can be helpful in ensuring welcoming attitude and behaviour in the diverse workplace.
· Reinforcing key messages from policy in supervisory discussions, performance appraisals or other interactions.
With the reinforcement of key messages from the policy during the supervisory discussion, performance appraisal or other interactions helps to add weight to the value organisation carries for the diversity. When an organisation puts a value, it is automatically followed and incorporated by the staff and other stakeholders of the company.
Food for thought
Can you think of other actions that can be taken in an organisation to ensure there is diversity in the workplace?
1.4 Provide feedback and suggestions for improvement to ensure currency and efficacy of diversity policy
Importance of feedback and suggestions
Any policy and procedures can be improved with proper feedback and suggestions. The feedback on diversity can motivate the employees to feel valued and perform better. They can share the pain points and issues of working in a multicultural environment which can only be identified and handled with proper feedback.
Proper feedback can also improve the performance of the workplace. It helps to formulate better decisions to improve the diverse working environment and increase performance.
Feedback also acts as continuous learning. With an investment of time to ask and learn about other’s experience working can give continuous feedback which helps to align work with goals, improve strategies and improves working relationships in the team.
Importance of maintaining currency and efficacy of diversity policy
With the changing world, companies need to work with a diverse workforce. With diversity in the company, there can be various issues arise due to differences. Some of the reason to maintain currency and efficacy of diversity policy are:Currency & Efficacy
· To be up to date with any legislation changes relating diversity.
· To promote the healthy working environment, custom and practice in the workplace.
· To ensure any issue arise in the workplace due to discrimination or differences are firmly handled and addressed.
· To train employees on the expectation of their behaviour to comply with the policy.
Question 1: Identify any five (5) types of diversity you can see in your workplace / classroom?
Question 2: What is the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Commonwealth) focused on?
Question 3: What actions can be taken to ensure understanding and implementation of a diversity plan in a workplace?
Question 4: Explain importance of feedback and suggestion to improve diversity plan?
Chapter 2: Foster respect for diversity in the work team
This chapter will help you learn about the following:
· Addressing your own prejudices and showing respect for difference in your personal interactions
· Aiming for diversity in selecting and recruiting staff
· Identifying and addressing training needs to address issues of difference in the team
· Managing tensions and encouraging collaboration and respect in the team and help staff to understand the strength of working with differences to improve products, services, and customer relations.
· Managing allegations of harassment and addressing complaints according to established organisational procedures
2.1 Address own prejudices and demonstrate respect for difference in personal interactions
Prejudices is a prejudgment, usually negative, made about a person because of their sex, gender, beliefs, values, or another diverse personal characteristic without the adequate knowledge. Prejudice cause a negative impact on the emotional well-being and one's sense of self-respect. People who perceive that they are constantly being judged negatively, based on their diverse nature, can develop difficulty in performing to the best of their ability. Prejudice often comes from stereotyping about specific groups of people.
How to demonstrate respect
It is vital to demonstrate respect in the workplace by the employee to each other. Proper respect fosters the environment of cooperation and engagement to achieve the common goal of the organisation.
Some of the basic approach to demonstrate respect in a workplace are:
· Show courtesy, kindness, and politeness to all people.
· Encourage colleagues to express opinions and ideas.
· Listen carefully to others before expressing a viewpoint. Never cut off while another person is talking.
· Be open and welcome for ideas and work together to use them for improvement of the workplace. Credit colleagues and other staff for their ideas.
· Never insult people, name calling, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
· Do not nit-pick, constantly criticise over little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronise. A series of seemingly trivial actions added up over time, constitutes bullying.
· Ensure proper body language, voice tone and expression is used while interacting in the workplace.
· Treat people fairly and equally despite their age, gender, race, religion or any differences. Follow policies and procedures to ensure all are treated equally.
· Encourage and praise colleagues for their input and contribution.
Food for thought
Have you been showing respect to the colleagues / friends around you? How do you show your respect to them?
Personal interaction is a way of communication with others that involves the exchange of information, feelings and meaning by using verbal and non-verbal messages. It helps to connect and work effectively with colleagues to make decisions, solve problems, and achieve company goals. Personal interactions can create positive emotions resulting in job satisfaction and better performance in the workplace.
Importance of addressing own prejudices and demonstrate respect to staff
Prejudice cause a negative impact on the emotion and well-being of the one whom prejudice is made. It causes discrimination, or actions or behaviours taken against individuals and can create feelings of shame, anger, and sadness in victims. The net effect will be low morale, low productivity and sense of untrusty in the team. Also, people work better if they are respected and admired for their work. With less to no respect, people will feel low moral and will be uninterested to perform the duty and task provided to them.
To achieve the goal of the organisation, each team member should work together on a common path; the prejudices will act as a barrier for the same. Hence, each team member should leave own prejudices and show respect to the diversity and differences of the personals in the workplace.
Food for thought
Can you think of any incident in which you were prejudged for your diverse nature? How did you handle the situation?
2.2 Aim for diversity in selecting and recruiting staff
Selection and recruitment of staff
Selection and recruitment of staff is the process of identifying and putting right men in the right job. It matches the skills and qualifications of a candidate with the organisational need. Recruiting right candidate ensures quality output and less employee turnover for the organisation.
To select right candidate, proper screening and testing are done during the selection procedure.
Selection and recruitment are two phases of the employment process. Recruitment encourages potential candidates to apply for the job and creates a pool of applicants. While selection checks among the applicants and chooses the appropriate ones based on abilities, skills, and knowledge for the required job.
Selection and recruitment process
Review job applicants: Each application is reviewed against the minimum eligibility criteria required for the job position. The skills, academic, experience or other qualification, are checked while screening. At the end of the process, a list of candidates to move ahead with is created. Rejected candidates are retained on file for a period.
Tests of candidates: The successful candidates are tested for job skills or knowledge to determine whether the candidate is qualified for the position. Tests may include an aptitude test, intelligence test, personality tests, skills tests, physical tests, etc. These tests help to identify potential candidates based on objective results.
Interviews: It is an interaction between the interviewer and the potential candidate to identify the suitability of the candidate for the required job. Such interviews should be conducted properly without discrimination. Once the interviews have been completed, candidates will be selected by the results of the testing and the interview.
Choosing a candidate: The candidates selected after test and interview are compared against a pre-determined list of qualification or criteria required for the job. This is the stage where the decision of hiring is made.
Background and reference check: Background check includes verifying a candidate's educational records, criminal record, or any other information provided by the candidate. Reference checks involve contacting references provided by the candidate who had worked with the candidate in the past. If a candidate has lie about any of the information, the candidate is rejected.
Medical examination: Based on the job requirement, medical tests are conducted to ensure physical fitness of the potential employee. It will decrease chances of employee absenteeism.
Appointment Letter: The selected candidate is appointed by giving a formal appointment letter.
Action to perform for diversity during selection and recruitment
During job posting,
· Recruit externally, use various recruitment agents, and media to access an adequate and diverse pool.
· Each job descriptions should be clear in describing the competencies and experiences needed for the job. It should clearly mention that company is seeking for a diverse workforce.
During selection and recruiting - job interviews,
· The interview panel should contain diverse individuals who are well respected and related to different cultures and characteristics. This will ensure the clear and open discussion among the team members and reduce biases in any specific candidates.
· In the screening process, the interview panel should review how each candidate might enhance diversity in the company. Some applicants may expressly identify themselves as diverse while other might not so proper screening is required to check the diversity.
· Don’t assume about the compatibility of the diverse candidate’s ability to work in the team or the position. For example, one should not assume that a female candidate would not be compatible with the all-male team.
· Don’t label any of the candidates as the “most promising” until all candidates are considered. This will ensure that all qualified candidates are equal considered.
· Prepare with the answers related to the diversity of the workforce that any candidates may ask. Diverse job candidates often ask questions to check if an organisation is truly inclusive and supportive of a diverse workforce and if they will be comfortable to work in the company.
Importance to aim for diversity during selection and recruitment
· Recruiting diverse staff helps us to understand and meet the needs of people from different perspectives, and creates a positive working atmosphere.
· Diversity in the workforce leads to a variety of ideas, knowledge, and ways of doing things.
· Builds a reputation for valuing diversity which can help to attract talented employees. This leads to greater commitment and higher productivity.
· By making diversity recruitment deliberate, the organisation can attract candidates who might not otherwise be included.
Food for thought
How can organisation aim for diversity during the interview phase?
2.3 Identify and address training needs to address issues of difference in the team
Issues of difference in the team
There are differences in how people from various cultures approach, understands and getting things done. These divergences if not understood and handled appropriately can likely to cause frustration, conflict and performance issue in the workplace. Some of the issues caused due to the difference in the team can be listed as:
Due to prejudice, discrimination and a lack of respect in the workplace, conflict rise among employees. If not handled quickly and appropriately, it can turn violent. To avoid such conflicts, the organisation should provide a diversified work environment and sufficient diversity training for all employees.
Difference in lifestyle
Though one's personal life should not be of concern in the professional area, sometimes gay and lesbian workers experience disrespect and discrimination from colleagues leading to an uncomfortable working atmosphere and poor productivity.
Ethnic and cultural differences
Some individuals show negative prejudices against people of different culture, religion, colours or ethnicity than their own. Such prejudice if present will create the uncomfortable working environment. The organisation should not tolerate such behaviour and should deal with them immediately. Proper company policies and training help build acceptance and respect among well-diversified employees.
Due to differences, employees can pass comments to each other causing the harassment situation. It should be identified and prevented in the workplace. Comment made should be free of any discrimination or harassment like racial, sexual or discriminatory nature. For example, "I love English women" or "We don’t prefer Asian."
A diversified workplace can have certain communication issues when hired employee has little or no English proficiency. It can reduce productivity due to communication barrier among team members. Communication training and hiring bilingual staff can help to improve communication in the workplace.
In a larger organisation, employees can range in age from teenagers to senior citizens. In such condition, generation gaps can cause an issue due to the difference in mindset.
In some cases, workers with mental or physical disabilities face discrimination from insensitive colleagues. In some cases, the organisation can overlook needs of disabled employees like ramps or special needs equipment. It is important to create a fair and comfortable work environment for disabled employees.
Action to address issues of difference
Each employee must understand discrimination, its consequences and analyse oneself for their own cultural biases and prejudices. Organisations should also need to enhance its management policies to handle diversity in the workplace.
To address issues of difference, following action can be taken:
· Focus on personal awareness on diversity. Organisations should develop, implement, and maintain ongoing training to help its employee change their behaviour as a one-day session of training is not enough to change the behaviour of people.
· The organisation can use various social gatherings and business meetings to communicate about the importance of diversity. As each member gets involved and can speak up their mind it those activities, they will act as good mediums to discuss and interact.
· The organisation can also induce mentoring programs to provide new employees with access to information and opportunities. They should be provided with constructive and critical feedback for learning about mistakes and successes.
Ongoing training provides continuous input to the workforce on the importance of diversity and strength difference can bring in the organisation. Some of the training conducted in the organisation to create awareness of diversity are:
Some of the training needs are:
· Cultural competency training
Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures. In the diverse workplace, one should be aware of one's own culture as well as knowledge of other cultural practices, tolerant attitudes. Proper training on the work culture and cultural competency to the employees can help to harmonise the working environment.
· Culturally-specific training
When an organisation is planning to expand/work in the specific community, it is important to learn the culture, way of doing, the behaviour of the specific community or place. To be equipped with the required knowledge on the specific culture, employees working on or planned to work on specific areas/community should be provided with culturally specific training.
· Diversity training
Diversity training helps employees to gain a cultural awareness of the company and benefit the organisation or company. The workplace in the modern world is growing with the employees from different ethnicity and racial diversity. The diversity training helps employees to acknowledge this difference and embrace the ways to handle the diversity in the workplace.
· Equal opportunity training
Every organisation should ensure that their employees and prospective candidates have equal opportunities in training, employment, promotion, benefits and resources irrespective of their age, race, gender, religion, political association, ethnic origin, or any other individual or group characteristic. The individuals should be provided opportunity based on the performance, contribution, ability, and qualification. The organisation should ensure that each employee is aware of the equal opportunity and practice the same in the workplace.
· Ethics training
The purpose of Ethics Training is to ensure each employee is well aware of the ways to identify and handle ethical problems related to their moral intuitions and understand and follow the organisational values and code of ethics. This training helps the employees to judge the moral legitimacy of their decisions and help them to make decision-based on moral principles and values.
· Grievance management training
A grievance is a formal complaint that is raised by an employee towards an employer or another employee in the workplace. It creates discontent or the feeling of being victimised at the workplace. The grievance arises mainly due to miscommunication and misunderstanding in the work environments. Each employee should be well informed on how to log grievance and handle it properly.
· Human rights training
Human rights training helps to understand and ways to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. It also focuses on rights and responsibilities of each employee regarding discrimination and harassment in the workplace. It focuses on the ways to identify and respond to the incidents of discrimination and harassment with proper procedures.
· Recruitment and selection training
For an organisation, recruitment and selection of right candidate are vital. It helps to find the right person for right work and covers diversity goal of the organisation. Employees participating in recruitment and selection should be provided with appropriate training to cover practical interviewing skills and candidate selection methods.
· Workplace bullying, discrimination or harassment training
Workplace bullying, discrimination or harassment can create a negative environment in the workplace which cause loss of interest, low productivity, low morale as well as high employee turnover. To provide a safe workplace, each employee should know about the bullying and harassment. Anti-bullying, discrimination and harassment training helps to cover the gap.
Food for thought
What type of trainings have you taken to address issues of difference in your workplace/learning institute?
2.4 Manage tensions and encourage collaboration and respect between staff who struggle to work effectively with difference
How tension in workplace generates
Tension in the workplace generates mainly due to a misunderstanding between the team members and colleagues while performing certain work. There can be many reasons for a tension in the workplace. Some of the reasons are explained above under “Issues of difference in the team” section.
Collaboration in the workplace occurs when two or more individuals work together to share ideas and thinking to achieve a common goal. It reflects teamwork in the organisation and helps to make staff more productive. To collaborate, staffs need to work as a team with equal participation in brainstorming, generating ideas and implementing them to resolve problems/provide a solution.
Respect between staff
Respect is a consideration for self and others. It considers other people's privacy, physical space, belongings, their viewpoints, philosophies, physical ability, beliefs, and personality.
Employees must recognise the importance of respect for others. They should refrain from making negative remarks or jokes that disgrace other’s skill, abilities or other attributes.
Respect in the workplace helps to prevent unnecessary conflict in the workplace. People know when they are given respect and when respect is lacking. Some of the ways to show respect in the workplace are explained in the section “How to demonstrate respect”.
How to work effectively with difference
Teams that work well together with differences can improve productivity and creates harmonious organisational culture. Some of the ways to work effectively with differences are:
Clear roles and responsibilities. In a workplace, it is important to have clear roles and responsibilities defined for each employee. It helps to understand what each member is supposed to do and also creates better team cohesion and productivity.
Communication: Each employee should keep the communication open, clear, honest, and respectful so that they can express their thoughts without hesitation. Asking questions and listening to one another helps to improve the clear communication. The differences and strength of each colleague can be can be identified and hence helps to build better team dynamics and stronger relationships.
Respect: It is vital for any team to show respect to each other. Respect helps to understand the importance of each other. As the difference in skills and personalities of employees when bringing together, helps to accomplish the goal. With mutual respect, each team member can honestly and freely contribute his or her strengths to function as one to achieve the common goal.
Encourage creativity: With the difference in background, each team member can bring their ideas and creativity to work. The creativity should be encouraged and provided with a supportive environment. Without placing judgment on the different idea, the team should brainstorm on the idea and can work out on the best idea.
Steps to manage tension and encourage collaboration
1. Address It Immediately: If staffs struggle to work effectively with a difference, it needs to be resolved immediately as unresolved situation impact on workplace climate or culture hampering productivity, performance, and workplace relationships.
2. Listen to Both Sides: Collect detail about the concern and try to understand perceptions of everyone involved. Identify the nature and detail of the conflict in a calm and composed way. Identify what each people need and what’s important to them. Identify their need without being judgmental as often both parties contribute something to create the disbalance in the conflicting situation.
3. Bring Both (All) Parties Together: Allow each party involved in the conflict to share their version of the issue. This step will highlight issues and facts that the other party was unaware of.
4. Find Common Ground: Generally, each party involved in conflict has some common ground which another party can agree on. This will bridge the gap and helps to move ahead with the conflict resolution.
5. Encourage Compromise: To resolve any conflict and to work together, it is vital that each party must be willing to sacrifice something. It may take a while to come up with the solution as both sides will have their viewpoint of what should happen to resolve the issue. With information on areas of importance for both parties, give and take can be done to come up with the solution.
6. Confront Negative Feelings and be positive: Even though the conflict is resolved, the feelings that arose during the conflict stage may still exist. Also, the solution may not fully satisfy everyone. Hence it is important to confront any negative feelings caused and focus on the positivity of the solution.
Food for thought
Have you encountered/seen any situation where there was tension among the colleagues? How was it resolved?
2.5 Assist staff to see that working effectively with difference is a strength that can improve the organisation’s products, services and customer relations
Working effectively with difference
It is vital to work effectively in a team with diversity. The diversity will bring diverse experience and perception to the team. With diverse knowledge and skills of culturally distinct workers, it can help the organisation to response in the changing global environment. When managed properly, employees with diversity can work effectively by leveraging individual strengths and complementing the weaknesses of each other to be more productive in the workplace. Few ideas to work effectively is provided under the section “How to work effectively with difference”.
Organisation’s products and service
A product can be defined as anything that an organisation offers to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that could satisfy a need or want of the customer. The product includes both tangible goods such as food, beverage, a seat in aeroplane, car, etc. as well as intangible objects including services, events, persons, places, suggestions, ideas, etc.
Services are a special form of a product consisting of activities, benefits or satisfactions offered for sale that is intangible and do not result in the ownership of anything. A service can thus include banking, airline travel, communication services, hotel services and so on.
Customer relations is the process used by the organisation by to establishes and maintains relationships with their customers. Customer relation requires constant communication with customers, resolving issues promptly and treating them as opportunities for improvement. With diversity in the customer due to global immigration, a diverse workforce can act as a catalyst to provide better customer relation to them.
The benefit of working effectively with differences
Staff needs to see the benefit of working effectively with differences. The strength of difference can improve the organisation’s products, services, and customer relations. Some of the advantages are:
1. Staff better reflects customers and the community.
2. Employees get a chance to learn and grow personally and professionally with new ideas, cultures, and perspectives.
3. Able to meet the needs of tourists, newly arrived migrants and Australians with foreign cultural heritage.
4. If staff speak a variety of languages, they will be able to help foreign guests effectively.
5. It helps implement new products or services and news sales or marketing strategies aimed at different cultures.
6. Shows the business to be an Equal Opportunity Employer attracting talented individuals.
7. Diversity brings different approaches and solutions to workplace problems.
8. Being an employer of choice that attracts and retains the best employees.
9. Enhancing the company’s image and reputation in the community and marketplace.
10. Decreasing the business’s vulnerability to legal challenges.
Assist employees to understand the strength of diversity
It is important for any organisation to help staff to see the difference as a strength rather than the source of conflict. Some of the ways to help staff to understand strength are:
· Provide regular training on the importance of diversity and its impact on the organisation.
· Involve employees in employee engagement surveys and respond as openly and honestly as possible.
· Discuss and promote diversity and its benefit during social gatherings and business meetings.
· Give success stories and examples of workplace where diversity and difference has helped to improve the organisation
· Provide mentoring programs to help them understand and build a better workplace with diverse individuals.
Food for thought
Can you identify any other benefit of working with differences in the workplace?
2.6 Manage allegations of harassment and address complaints according to established organisational procedures
Allegation of harassment
The allegation of harassment is a claim or assertion that someone has harassed them. It is a statement of belief that some wrong or harm has occurred. For example, female staff can claim that her male colleague has sexually harassed her; she believes the co-worker has crossed the line into behaviour that is illegal, contravenes the university’s policies, is unacceptable, and harms her.
The allegation does not mean it is true or false. Generally, allegation follows by an investigation which is a fact-finding process to clarify and assess the issues. Evidence relevant to the allegations is gathered and addressed against the established standards of what constitutes harassment.
Example of workplace harassment
1. Sending offensive or abusive emails, messages, SMS, or other communication.
2. Making fun of a person in a humiliating way.
3. Abusing and embarrassing a person loudly in front of other people.
4. Repeated ridicule and being put down.
5. Spreading or starting false or malicious rumours about a person.
6. Repeated threats of being fired.
7. Sabotaging another person’s work to make them look bad or get into trouble.
8. Withholding information or messages which make it difficult for a person to do their job.
9. Maliciously excluding or isolating a person from workplace activities.
10. Repeated and persistent unjustified criticisms about minor or insignificant matters.
How to manage allegation of harassment and address complaints
To manage allegation of harassment and address complaints, the organisation must follow complaint handling process followed by the action item based on the outcome of the analysis.Issue
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, using verbal or written method, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by individual or organisation affecting another individual, staff or customer. The complaint is handled in any organisation by formally or informally.
Informal complaints procedure:
1. Individual who has been discriminated against or harassed seeking advice only from their supervisor/ specialist officer as they wish to deal with the situation themselves or asking their supervisor to speak to the alleged harasser on their behalf.
2. Alternately, a supervisor or manager could observe inappropriate behaviour occurring and act even though no complaint has been made.
3. The supervisor or manager should calmly and sensitively discuss the individual’s concerns with the alleged harasser and reinforce the organisation’s policies on appropriate workplace behaviours.
4. This discussion should be conducted privately to ensure the matter remains between the two parties only.
5. The investigation is not required if the alleged harasser admits the behaviour. The complaint can then be resolved through conciliation or counselling.
1. The allegations are of a less serious nature.
2. The individual subjected to the behaviour requests an informal resolution, possibly to maintain a working relationship with the alleged harasser.
Formal complaints procedure:
1. Investigation of the allegations
2. Application of the principles of natural justice
3. Making a finding as to whether the discrimination or harassment occurred, or whether it is likely it occurred
4. Submitting a report with a recommended course of action to the appropriate decision-maker (senior management)
5. Implementation of an appropriate outcome
1. The person alleging discrimination or harassment has been victimised
2. The complaint involves serious allegations of misconduct and informal resolution could compromise the rights of the parties
3. The complaint is against a more senior staff member
4. The allegations are denied and the person who claims to have been harassed wishes to proceed
5. The person alleging discrimination or harassment wishes to make a formal complaint from the outset
Food for thought
Come up with examples of harassment which can be resolved by using informal and formal procedures. Think of two (2) examples for each.
Question 1: Why it is important to address your own prejudices and demonstrate respect for others in the workplace:
Question 2: How can focusing in diversity during selection and recruitment process helps organisation?
Question 3: Describe any three (3) types of training suitable to share information and address differences in the team.
Question 4: State any five (5) ways of managing tension and encouraging collaboration and respect in a team.
Question 5: How can organisation help staff to realise strength of working effectively with differences?
Question 6: What are the different procedures to handle allegations of harassment and address complaints?
Chapter 3: Promote the benefits of diversity
This chapter will help you learn about the following:
· Promoting the organisation’s workforce diversity in internal and external forums to enhance the company’s image and reputation
· Capturing ideas and information from the diversity in the workforce to enhance products and services and contributing to competitive advantage
· Supporting organisational efforts to value diversity
3.1 Promote the organisation’s workforce diversity in internal and external forums to enhance the company’s image and reputation
Promotion of organisation’s workforce diversity
Strong diversity management can provide organisations with a competitive advantage in the market. To attract and retain diverse employees, organisations need focus on an effective diversity program.
Some of the strategies to help the organisation in obtaining diversity are:
Diversity programs must be part of strategic plans
Diversity program should be part of strategic plans which focus on the quantitative goals and specific timelines to achieve them. These will provide direction and promote action by employees.
Formation of the diversity committee
To make the diversity policy success, employee buy-in is a must. To achieve that, a stand-alone diversity committee should be created. The committee should contain members representing all facets of organisation’s workforce. This committee can help to develop a diversity statement and programs to support diversity like: lunch and learns with featured speakers, diversity workshops, mentoring, knowledge sharing sessions, etc.
Get involved in the community
Consistent encouragement should be provided to employees to participate in professional and civic organisations that promote diversity. It helps to provide networking opportunities as well as fosters collaborations and access to a larger pool of diverse candidates. Community involvement also helps to strengthen the relationship in the team as they come together to serve groups they are passionate about.
Focus on diversity during the hiring process
To make workforce diverse, the organisation must enforce deliberate measure in hiring practices. While hiring, the organisation should search beyond the traditional hiring sources to ensure diverse qualified candidate apply for the position.
Internal and External forum
Organisation’s workforce diversity can be promoted in various internal and external forums. More the organisation promotes its diversity, higher the chances to become successful and the company of choice for talented candidates. Some of the internal and external forums where diversity can be promoted are:
· Business meetings
While conducting business meetings, during the discussion, workforce diversity can be shared and presented to the prospect clients. This will showcase the values and improve company’s image and reputation.
· Conferences and seminars
This is very effective medium to present company’s diverse workforce and its positive aspect in the larger external audience. During the conferences and seminars, the company can display banners as well as include topics of diversity in the presentation during the seminars and conferences.
· Newsletters and bulletins
The company can publish monthly or quarterly newsletters and bulletins covering its work, achievement, and workforce diversity success stories. These newsletters bulletins are circulated among employees as well as with the clients and in the company website. Any interested individual can check them and understand the workforce diversity of the organisation.
· Professional networks
When company representatives participate in any professional networks, they can present the diversity of the organisation and the hence enhance company’s image and reputation. Articles, cases can be shared in the network.
· Staff meetings
It is one of the easy and reliable methods to promote workforce diversity in the company. Manager, spokesperson focuses and discuss the benefits of the diversity and how it is helping the company.
· Staff updates
The company can conduct regular staff updates on the organisational diversity, its policies and positive impact on the growth thru various communication mediums like emails, all hands meeting.
Image and reputation of the company
Image and reputation of any company is the view of stakeholders toward the company. It is formed from the business activities and communications undertaken in its marketplace. The stakeholders can be customers, employees, community, special interest groups, etc.
Every organisation should take good care of the image and reputation of the company to become successful. It requires an extra effort on corporate branding, and the actions the organisation takes during its day to day activities.
Companies that promote diversity are often viewed favourably by customers, business partners, and the media. It helps to enhance company image and reputation with positive feedback. It also helps to showcase its image as a good place to work increasing chance of recruiting talented individuals.
The benefit of promotion of workforce diversity in various forums
Research indicates that businesses with more diverse workforces are performing better on a whole range of measures like profit, innovation, better decision making, better talent pool, etc. Some of the major benefits of promoting workforce diversity in various forums are:
Better talent pool: With the regular promotion of diversity in forums, eligible talent from the various background can relate themselves with the company. It will attract candidates from different background and increase the overall candidate pool to choose from. This will help the organisation to find people with required skills, right personality and motivation to join your company.
Happier Customers: In the modern world where people migrates a lot, the customer of the organisation will also be comprised of a diverse background. Promoting diversity helps to increase customer satisfaction.
Improved Attraction and Retention of Staff: Promoting diversity helps the organisation to improve its reputation for inclusiveness. It helps the organisation to attract and retain employees. Many candidates feel that diverse workforce adds extra value while selecting companies and job offers.
Improved reputation: Promoting company’s diverse workforce helps to provoke positive feelings among the customer base which in turn improves company reputation and the likelihood of sales increment.
Food for thought
Have you encountered any organisation promoting its diversity in various forums? How did it impact to your viewpoint towards that company?
3.2 Capture ideas and information from the diversity in the workforce to enhance products and services and contribute to competitive advantage
Ideas and information help an organisation to improve its products and services. Generally, those ideas are generated from higher management only. If each staff from diverse background shares ideas and information, it can immensely help the organisation to enhance its products and services and even help to improve competitive advantage.
Ideas and information
Ideas are any conception existing in the mind because of mental understanding, awareness, or activity. Ideas are abstract creations of the human mind to resolve or achieve something.
Information is the knowledge communicated or received related to specific fact or circumstances. It helps to answer the question of some kind. It is related to data and knowledge where data represents values attributed to parameters, and knowledge signifies understanding of real things or abstract concepts.
Ideas and information come from various sources like study, communication, research, experience, etc. With a diverse workforce in the organisation, they can share various ideas and information to help the organisation to enhance its products, services and ultimately contribute to competitive advantage.
A competitive advantage is an attribute that helps a company to outperform its competitors. Competitive advantage may include access to natural resources, such as high-grade ores or a low-cost power source, highly skilled labour, geographic location, high entry barriers, and access to new technology. Diversity in the workplace can give the competitive advantage to the organisation by providing with unique ideas and information which can be implemented to provide better products and services than its competitors. They can also increase innovation, acceptance and problem-solving capacity of the organisation helping it to gain competitive advantage.
Way to capture ideas and information from diverse workforce
It is vital for any organisation to establish and grow a culture of innovation. Innovation requires ideas which can be generated with the diverse workforce available in the organisation. Some of the ways to generate and capture ideas and information from diverse workforce are:
Support from management: Ideas and information can lead to innovation. But to get ideas from the diverse workforce, the organisation should recognise and formally integrated process and strategy to encourage the employee to present their ideas.
Create the right motivation and culture: The ideas and information can be shared by employees only if they are provided with the right environment. The best ideas are generated by those who take pride in their organisation and personal accomplishments and are aware of the business goals, missions, values, and strategies.
Listen and acknowledge the idea: Actively listen, acknowledge and give feedback to employees who submit ideas. Don’t interrupt or add suggestions or changes immediately as it will give the impression to employees that their ideas aren’t good enough, reducing the chance of repeating the similar behaviour in future.
Provide tools to capture and collaborate: Appropriate tools, technology, and means of communication should be provided to the staff to ensure they collaborate and share their ideas with other colleagues. Staff should be provided with adequate time and resources to formalise their idea and present to the higher management.
Implement the idea: If management thinks the idea from the staff is adequate and can add value to the business, work on the idea to convert it into value. Staff who has shared the idea can be part of the realisation process.
Share the story: If an organisation has implemented an employee idea, share it with the entire organisation. It will give recognition to the individual as well as help to promote other employees to share their ideas and information.
Food for thought
Research online to find three (3) instances where a company implemented ideas generated by their employees to come up with new products, services or gave them competitive advantage?
3.3 Support organisational efforts to value diversity
How can staff support the organisation’s efforts to value diversity
Diversity goals and vision: Employee should understand organisational diversity goals and vision and its impact on individual roles and responsibility. The role and responsibility should be performed to help the success of the diversity initiative.
Actively engagement: Employee should actively engage in the diversity effort of the organisation by participating in employee engagement surveys, employee resource group, or volunteer in committees that organise diversity-related events and activities.
Learn about other’s cultural: Employee should take time to learn about different cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds represented by colleagues by sharing and learning customs and practices associated with the cultures.
Understand others: Employee should understand how people want to be treated. General practices that are comfortable for one may not be comfortable for others. Offensive jokes or backbiting should be avoided in any case. Most importantly, employees should always be respectful.
Be spokesperson: Employee should act as a spokesperson for diversity issues even though they are not related to him/her. Any organisation will find it difficult to ignore the powerful voice created when groups representing different diversity dimensions unite
Welcome ideas: Employees should welcome ideas that are different than their own, and support team members. The creativity that comes with diversity can not only help to generate new ideas but can also make work more interesting and fun.
Commitment: Employees should be committed to continuous improvement and willing to learn, accept feedback, and listen to peers.
Communicate and educate: To make organisation diverse, it requires time and patience. The employee should understand that not all employees will appreciate the value of diversity or behave respectfully. Generally, negative behaviour comes from ignorance hence try to train and educate others.
Food for thought
Can you think of any other ways that employees can support organisation efforts to value diversity?
Question 1: Explain any two (2) internal and two (2) external forums where an organisation can promote its diverse workforce.
Question 2: Why is it important to capture ideas and information from a diverse workforce?
Question 3: How can an employee support organisational efforts to value diversity?
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19 Blackman, A XXXXXXXXXXKey Advantages of Promoting Diversity in Your Business. [online] Business Envato Tuts+. Available at: https://business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/advantages-of-promoting-diversity-in-your-business--cms-28259 [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
20 En.wikipedia.org XXXXXXXXXXCompetitive advantage. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_advantage [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
21 Sarkissian, A XXXXXXXXXXHow Can Diversity Give a Company a Competitive Edge?. [online] Yourbusiness.azcentral.com. Available at: http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/can-diversity-give-company-competitive-edge-16863.html [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
22 Hall, B XXXXXXXXXXsimple steps to get great ideas from your employees | Interact. [online] Interact Intranet Software. Available at: https://www.interact-intranet.com/10-simple-steps-to-get-great-ideas-from-your-employees/ [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
Review job application
Test of candidates
Choose a candidate
Background and reference check
Issue of difference
Ethinic and Culture
Personal awareness thru Training
Social and professional Gathering
Recruitment and Selection
Workplace bullying, discrimination or harassment
Roles and responsibility
Part of Strategic plan
Involvement in community
Diversity during hiring
Conferences and Seminars
Newsletters and Bulletins
Better talent pool
Attraction and Retention
1. Support from Management
2. Motivational culture
3. Listen and acknowledge
4. Tools to capture and collaborate
5. Implement the idea
6. Share the story
Diversity goals and vision
Learn about other's culture
Communicate and educate
Career Calling International (CAQA Resources)
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