Why is organizational diversity important? Historically, diversity in the workplace has been
recognized as an employment equity issue. Now, however, diversity in the workplace is being
recognized as a benefit that will contribute to an organization's bottom line. Increased employee
and customer satisfaction end up as increased productivity, all of which are measurable
outcomes (Goff, 1998). Diversity goes beyond employment equity to nurturing an environment
that values the differences and maximizes the potential of all employees, one that stimulates
employee creativity and innovativeness (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (U.S. MSPB),
1993). To create an organizational culture that supports workforce diversity involves several
important elements. These elements include a needs analysis, administrative and management
support and commitment, education and training, culture and management systems changes and
continuous follow-up and evaluation.
In many of my resources, a needs analysis was the second crucial element after senior
management support and commitment. I feel a needs analysis should be prepared first to provide
information to senior management in sequestering their support as well as to adequately
determine workforce and organizational needs for creating a diverse workplace. First, find out
what employees are concerned about. Most often used for this are focus groups and surveys.
The needs and expectations of a diverse workforce can vary by organizational and functional
levels, location, ethnicity, and gender (Baytos and Delatte, 1993). Second, determine the needs
of the organization. By asking certain questions, an organization can determine its needs based
on its culture and resources (U.S. MSPB, 1993). Does the organization have trouble retaining
employees who would add to its diversity? In...