Diversity in the Workplace

      Most believe and understands that diversity brings more talent to an organization, increases creativity and perhaps leads to higher retention rates. But, in a global economy are organizations buying into the diversity and inclusion concept?  And have organizations made progress in recruitment and retention of diverse ethnic groups in their organizations?   

      Diversity in the workplace is a concern for many managers and business leaders. This concern revolves around the demographically changing workforce. Between 1994 and 2005, minorities comprised more than half the workforce. From 2005 through 2020, Asians and Hispanic workers will experience a rise exponentially. At the same time, the baby boomers will start turning 60. Most researchers agree that baby boomers will continue to work at least on a part-time basis.  So with the growth of minorities and aging workforce how are organizations going to manage such a diverse population? Is it a top priority?

      Organizations should implement diversity programs that balance organizational power, inclusion indecision-making, and equal opportunity. In time, these initiatives may lead to a competitive advantage.   According to Kirby (2000), organizations should devise ways of managing diversity in the workplace.

       Most senior executives a decade ago talked about creating a diverse and inclusive working environment, but according to Frank McClosky, VP of Diversity and Workplace Ethics at Georgia Power, diversity is not part of most organizations’ core strategy.  He recommends strategies that will foster an environment of diversity both practically in practices and undertakings.  The good news is that in the 21st century, global private sector organizations do have programs and training on diversity.  Today diversity and inclusion efforts are a part of the core strategy amongst top organizations, no longer are most companies giving lip service that in order to be competitive in a global workforce, a diverse work force is necessary.   

     In a survey, put out by the Forbes Insight Foundation (2011) that examined diversity and inclusion on a global scale in the workplace found encouraging news that diversity is an important part of the business strategy.  Three hundred and twenty-one corporate executive   from the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with annual revenues between $500 million and $20 billion responded to the survey.    Ninety-seven percent of the executives surveyed have programs in place specifically relating to recruitment and retention.  Forty-three percent of the surveyed companies planned to make diversity a part of business goals as it pertains to retention and development by 2014.  Lastly, 29% see the need for a pipeline of diverse talent in order to stay competitive.

     The key findings suggest that diversity was a key factor and a critical component of success on a global scale.  Many of the respondents concluded that it is crucial for an organization to retain and recruit top talent and that senior management must create a work environment that promotes diversity and inclusion.

    Moreover, in another study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (2010) found an increase of organization training on diversity issues. More training is being done in diversity and Inclusion.  There are more minorities that are boards of directors and organizations that practice diversity are having desired outcomes.  In that, more creative and innovative ideals and new markets have been made available, this increases profitability.

    Both surveys are encouraging and hopeful in that global organizations are buying into the concept that a diverse workforce is vital to the overall strategy. Organizations such as Intel, Mattel Toys and L’Oreal, as cited in the Forbes insight survey, epitomized the ability to harness the talents and creativity of their diverse workforces. Significant progress continues to be made to build and retain a diverse workforce.   But, with every success there are still hurdles to overcome.  Organizations with budget problems in a weak economy find it hard to implement diversity programs and negative attitudes still lingers amongst top management.  Perhaps in next five year more organizations will come on board with having diverse programs in their organizations.


 Forbes Insight (2011). Global Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Innovation through a Diverse Workforce. Retrieved from http://www.forbesmedia.com/blog/globaldiversity.

 Kirby, S, & Orlando, R (2000). Work-place diversity. Journal of Social Psychology, 140.3, 1-8.

McClosky (2002). Georgia Power, igniting the spark, Profiles in Diversity Journal • May/June 2002, Retrieved from http; // http://www.diverityjournal.com.

Robbins, S. P. (2005). Essentials of organizational behavior (8th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

 Society for Human Resource Management. (2010, June). SHRM Poll: Financial Challenges to the U.S. and Global Economy and Their Impact on Organizations.  Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/surveys.