This report will focus on evaluating whether employing a diverse workforce is important and why, for businesses in today’s world. Also, to be discussed are the benefits and challenges experienced by companies after adopting diversity and the consequences they face if they do not and, how to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees. Diversity is a broad topic and will be examined thoroughly along with how it relates to the globalization and leadership concepts and how they all play a part in the workplace. Also, with the information gathered from secondary research that will be conducted, a few examples within the text will be used to show the problems Google, a business who struggles with diversity, faces because of this. The three main objectives to be examined are the limitations that females face in the attempt to ascend to higher levels in corporate work, the struggles of ethnic minorities in Google and the advantages of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Finally, what managers can do to tackle prejudice and discrimination at work will also be advised in the conclusion and throughout the text.
Definition of Diversity
Adopting diversity in the workplace is a very important move to make in today’s business world. This concept can be defined as one that encompasses acceptance and respect. Per (Gladstone.uoregon.edu, 2018), it means being able to understand that everyone is unique, and recognize our distinctive differences. Similarly, per (Global Diversity Practice, 2018), diversity is the notion of “empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin”. These two definitions of diversity are very similar in the sense that they recognize that diversity is an all-encompassing ideology which embraces respect for all and it is something where difference is recognized (CIPD, 2017).
There are the differences between the old, traditional perspectives on diversity which can be viewed as surface-level and obvious in comparison to the inclusive model which demonstrates that there is in fact more to an individual than meets the eye (Daft, 2016). These various factors make up the blueprint of a person, they also play a part in how these individuals view the world and how they are perceived by others, in this case at work. Looking at managing a workforce via the traditional model or at ‘face value’ is insufficient to cultivating an inclusive culture. This is the opinion of Steven Huang and he says ‘our race and gender are only two of our and these are traits that may not necessarily be the defining part of our identity’, so believing that one is wholesomely inclusive whilst fostering the traditional mindset is misleading (Huang, 2017). However, promoting diversity through the inclusive model is beneficial to both the employer and employee as it creates a positive atmosphere where all are made to feel welcome as they are aware that their differences are embraced and considered right down to the core and not just at the surface level. Nonetheless, adopting a fully diverse workplace does have its shortcomings. First, minority groups may feel undervalued and outnumbered causing them to rarely speak up and secondly, the majority groups may begin to feel withdrawn because of efforts to enhance diversity. These two factors alone can pose a threat to an organization in that cultural conflicts arise and can distract teams from solving work problems and, team members can create tight-knit networks, blocking out and showing forms of hostility to others in the workplace (Bika, 2018).
LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace
One of the objectives to be analyzed in this report is the extent to which LGBTQ+ community is represented in the workplace. The need for inclusion of this community into society is at a peak as times have substantially changed and the world is not the same closed-minded structure as it once was. LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and more. This is a spectrum of gender which is a very sensitive part of many people’s lives and should be respected by others in general as well as at work.
Abby Anand, an LGBT Ally for Capgemini, believes that saying words like ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ and ‘bisexual’ should not be viewed as taboo but rather, they are words that need to be said even more, for people to feel more comfortable hearing them. Her role as an induction leader allows her to welcome all new starts in Capgemini and she uses this as an opportunity to discuss LGBTQ+ community and terms to encourage them to open their minds and become more accustomed to the possibility and reality of working with people of different sexual orientation (Capgemini, 2018). Companies who openly back the LGBTQ+ community are reaping the benefits; LGBT customers are some of the most reliable as they reward companies who are in support of them. Statistics show that in the US alone, the spending power of the LGBT community is approximately $800 billion a year (Zappulla, 2017). Despite the amount of support the LGBTQ+ community receive from those who are not a part of it, there are still members of society who are openly against the supporting of LGBTQ+ and distance themselves and their company from the lifestyle to ‘save face’ however, this has proven more likely to damage their reputation as more members of today’s society are inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and do not hesitate to boycott those who are not. The CEO of Chick – Fil – A, a well-known fast food chain in America, Dan T. Cathy, came under fire for openly being in support of traditional marriage, inferring he is against gay marriage. He said in an article published by the Baptist Press, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that”. Despite Cathy not directly opposing the notion of gay marriage, in 2011, the gay rights groups bashed him and his company when it was made known that an independent operator in Pennsylvania supplied food to an event that was funded by a group designed to abolish same-sex marriage proposals. However, Dan Cathy chose to stand firm in his beliefs. (Boone, 2018).
Today, there is the ‘global gay’ identity termed by many writers that refers to when gay people across countries have the wish to fit into and the modern world version of ‘the gay life’ based on freedom in a rich society. Case in point, in East Asia, there has been a decline in arranged marriages over the past 30 years with more people in favor of marriages entered through free choice (Altman, 2018). Gay men have been stereotyped as maintaining similar characteristics to heterosexual women and though unsure whether this is reflected in their leadership style, gay men and heterosexual women may still be subject to prejudices in their quests to management (Barrantes and Eaton, 2018).
In summary of the above stances on the LGBTQ+ community, it is quite clear to see that due to the shift in today’s societal values, being inclusive of people regardless of their sexual orientation is very important as it not only boosts the esteem needs of the individuals as explained in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, but it also shows that a company is non-discriminatory and this can be used to their advantage in increasing the quality of team work and financial results. It is also clear that companies who associate with others who are anti-LGBTQ+ or inclusive receive backlash from supporters and can even experience a plunge in sales as they are boycotted.
Ethnic Differences in the Workplace
Diversity goes hand in hand with ethnicity as it is an obvious indicator of the extent to which a company is inclusive of various cultures. Ethnicity is common characteristics such as culture, language, religion, and traditions, which add to a person’s identity (Intercultural.ie, 2018). Leomie Anderson, a black model and entrepreneur spoke on the challenges she has faced in the modelling industry. She mentions instances where the makeup artists for runways fail to find the correct shade for her skin tone on many occasions and believes that it is important to employ a diverse range of makeup artists so they can cater to models of darker skin tone like herself (Stern, 2018).
Business examples and views Suki Sandhu, the CEO and founder of ‘OUTstanding’, is in support of cultivating and embracing an inclusive workplace environment as he says, “Role modelling is fundamental to ensuring equal opportunities and more inclusive cultures so we need anyone who proves ethnicity need not be a barrier to success to come forward to inspire the next generation of BAME leaders”. (Nair, 2018). Footlocker is a fitting example of a company that pays attention to diversity and inclusion as statistics from (Fortune, 2018) show that 82% of the people they have employed are in fact minorities, 15% of these minorities are executives, 68% employed are front-line managers and 30% are mid-level managers. Footlocker have appeared on ‘Best companies to work for’ lists and have received employee reviews that emphasize the nature of Footlockers commitment to promoting an inclusive working culture. Below is a recent review from an employee of Footlocker: “It is unique that this company actually allows you to be yourself. A lot of companies say that they allow self-expression and individualism, but Foot Locker actually does” (Fortune, 2018).
This goes to show that if companies work to improve organizational values and culture, not only will they increase business reputation, they will also in turn increase employee satisfaction which will trickle down to cause a rise in employee productivity.
The glass ceiling premise states that not only is it more difficult for women than for men to be promoted up levels of authority ladders at work but also that the obstacles women face relative to men become greater as they move up the hierarchy (Baxter and Wright, 2000). Times have changed as the following cases evidence a shift towards a more inclusive future where women are viewed just as important and capable as men in the workplace at high levels. Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street bank, is looking to women to make up half of its global workforce, starting with new analysts by 2021 as it ups efforts to tackle gender and racial discrepancies across the panel (Ngai, 2018). A spokesman for Virgin Money UK said that when selecting an investment bank, it looks at whether it’s signed up to the Women in Finance Charter, a government-backed initiative to encourage women in financial services. Women hold 4 of 10 places on Virgin Money’s board with at least one director being ethnically diverse (Buckley, Helier and David, 2018).
In this report, a wide variation of sources has been used, ranging from journals, articles, online newspapers, videos and books. This research includes a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data.
Google is an example of a company that has been seen struggling with the incorporation of diversity into the company for several years now. Till date, Google has many white male employees working for them with a large gap between this number and other ethnicities. “Women now constitute 30.9% of the global Google workforce, as compared to 30.8% last year. Google is now 2.5% black and 3.6% Latino in its U.S. offices, both also a one-tenth percentage point increase from the year prior” (Bach, 2018). This data highlights the incompetence of Google when looking at diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity. It is vital that companies open up to the idea of an inclusive workforce as it will promote an overall prosperous business. Google was amongst the few companies that pressed a federal appeals court to rule that a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace offers protections to gay employees (U.S., 2018). Globally, Google is 3% black and 5.3% Latino. 1.2% of Google’s global population are black women, and 1.7% of its global population are Latina women (Fortune, 2018). In the US, just under 67% of leadership positions were held by white staff and 2% by black employees. Google is struggling profoundly to adapt to the changes in today’s perception of the working world. The same opportunities should be available all regardless of their differences.
Conclusively, per the results from the secondary research collected, it can be agreed that diversity in the workplace is in fact significant and fundamental in today’s business world to succeed and have a solid advantage over competitors. It is a known fact that women are underrepresented in the corporate world and it is recommendable that including them will be a positive and promising shift in the direction of diversity today. Fostering a diverse culture at work can increase the understanding of the market as the same way the company is diverse, the market is too.