Inclusiveness, a competitive advantage
Cardinal Stritch University
Dr. Elvira Craig de Silva
May 2, 2012
Becoming a diverse organization makes good business sense for both for profit and not for profit companies. Creating a diverse workforce provides tremendous opportunities for organizations and individuals to tap into the ideas, creativity and potential contributions inherent in a diverse work force. The composition of America’s workforce is changing. According to the census Bureau, nonwhite will represent more than one-third of the U. S. population by the year 2010 and close to half of the U. S. population by the year 2050. By the year 2005, the ethnic minority share of the workforce will reach 28 percent. It is also projected that the Hispanic-American population will be the largest minority group in the U. S. by the year 2010. In order for companies to fully and aggressively compete in the marketplace, they will need to consider these statistics and work towards attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce. This will be critical if they are to survive. They will also need to recognize that the market they cater to is becoming more diverse. Diverse groups are a growing percentage of the buying power in the United States. In order to maintain competitive advantage in the sector they serve, organizations will need to truly understand its customers, clients, members and employees and will need to create an Organizational climate that is welcoming to all.
Managing diversity is a big issue facing businesses today. Many businesses feel that being in compliance with anti-discrimination laws means that they are successfully diverse. Compliance is only the first step in the process of workplace diversity; they must operate as an inclusive corporate culture to be profitable. From compliance to inclusion, the workplace diversity concept is evolving. Companies must link workplace diversity to their strategic goals and objectives and understand the six key advantages of doing so; adaptability to a rapidly changing marketplace, attracting and retaining the best talent, reducing costs, return on investment, greater market share with an expanded diverse customer base, increased sales and profits. Once the goal of inclusion is met, the organization will have an extremely dangerous competitive advantage; diversity.
Compliance versus Inclusion
Diversity in the US has evolved since the 1960s. Diversity back then was based on the assimilation approach, with everyone being part of the melting pot. Companies were to be in “compliance” which meant that you were informed of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation and adhering to them. Today, being “compliant” has not proved to be profitable. The goal today is “inclusion” which means employees are empowered and organizational culture fosters a respectful, knowledge-based environment where each employee has the opportunity to learn, grow and meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success. To achieve this level of inclusion, organizational leaders must have a clear understanding of how they define diversity as well as what exactly the organization does with the experiences of being a diverse workforce.
Strategic Planning Advantages
In order for a company large or small to operate, there is a level of strategic planning that takes place within the organization. However, employers must know, understand and inform its employees of the advantages related to diversity planning. The first advantage of tying workplace diversity to organizational strategic goals and objectives is that there is greater adaptability and flexibility in a rapidly changing marketplace. Workplace diversity can be viewed as having both direct and indirect links to the bottom line. In business, the...