What is a diverse organization?
A diverse organization is a working environment where people with a variety of differences between them coexist and collaborate. These differences entail race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Being a diverse organization is not limited only to how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others too, as their perceptions affect their actions and communication. In diverse organizations with wide diversity of employees, human resources ought to build efficient guidelines and address issues such as communication, adaptability and change, in order for the company to maintain smooth and effective operations. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Successful corporations realize the need for diverse working environment and they are determined to take immediate action and spend resources on managing diversity in the current complex workplace.
2018 was an eventful year for diversity in corporations, with many companies driving new diversity strategies and others struggling to create a culture of inclusion. We can expect in 2019 more executive apologies, #MeToo after effects, more diverse leadership, more inclusive products, and more celebrities speaking out about the importance of diversity.
Benefits of Workplace Diversity
In the complex digital world we live in nowadays, globalization pushes organizations to seek opportunities in global markets, different industries and cooperate with numerous brands or suppliers in order to gain competitive advantages and realize growth and financial gains. They have to take risks for innovation and sometimes to even work with competitors to reach their objectives. So far, companies believed that they can face these challenges of our era with streamline and lean operations, by creating homogeneous environment but in our continuous changing and demanding business environment, diversity is the solution. Organizations need to embrace diversity and identify ways to satisfy their different customer groups in numerous different markets by providing a plurality of products and services.
Primary goal of each organization is to serve its customers, satisfy their needs. Customers, however, have different needs, different tastes and different budgets to consider, based on their generation, background, income, or geographical location. Therefore, companies need to stay flexible, pursue different key success factors for different segments of their target group and develop a range of business models and capabilities. For example, some automotive manufacturers like Toyota, have different models for specific countries based on their needs and also expanded their services offering financing and vehicle insurance too, in order to gain competitive advantage in the markets. It is important for an organization to employ people in its workforce that can match and reflect different business models for the different environments in which the company operates.
It is important to underline that a corporation’s success and competitiveness relies heavily on its ability to embrace diversity and realize the significant benefits. Organizations with a diverse workforce can develop and provide a wider variety of solutions to potential problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring with them to the organization individual talents, knowledge and experiences, and they could suggest innovative and feasible ideas to face challenging fluctuating markets and ever changing customer demands. Especially when employees feel comfortable with each other and communicate well, diversity leads to a large pool of viewpoints and the company can choose one or combination of them to build a strategy and reach its objectives faster and more efficient. Furthermore, multitude of skills, capabilities and linguistic or cultural experiences enables companies to offer services to their customers on a global basis. Last but not least, companies that embrace diversity instill inspiration in all their employees and motivate them to strive for operational excellence and use their highest ability. As a result, organization- wide strategies can be implemented easier and companies recognize return on their investment, higher productivity and important financial gains.
DO’S and DONT’S in Leading a Diverse Organization
The business world today is complex and needs simple solutions from the organizations in order to prosper and grow. Markets are changing, demand is changing, customer needs and wants are changing. Organizations need to acknowledge, accept, and embrace diversity in a constructive way. Leaders of a diverse organization is important to be open- minded, welcome differences that each employee brings to the company, and not force homogeneity. Leaders should exert power and control by sharing responsibilities across multiple departments and diverse group of employees instead of centralizing the decision-making and concentrate power in one person. It is important for a company to empower its employees and the next generation of leaders, as in this way employees feel more engaged and committed to the organization. Every location or environment in which a company operates has different conditions and therefore local leaders should have entrepreneurial freedom to try innovative business models, processes or organizational structures that they think fit their markets or customers. Flexibility is a must and a significant success factor for businesses in modern times.
How can WGA Consulting help?
WGA is passionate and dedicated to helping clients make and execute the big decisions on: strategy, operations, transformation, technology, organization and compliance. WGA’s guiding belief is that as trusted advisors, we must measure our results from the enduring financial success of our clients. This belief and passion can be seen in our growth, our people, our services, and our relationships.
Our experience across various industries allows WGA to offer singular and unique objective recommendations and execution services that will give manufacturers the ability to adapt, renew, and prepare themselves to succeed in a turbulent environment. We provide Strategy Consulting that can help with strategic, scenario, and contingency planning, and Business Transformation and Organization Change Management services that can facilitate the integration of any structural changes. From strategy to operations, we are committed to helping our clients build their functional skills and sustain performance. We recognize that only through our clients’ success can we achieve ours.