Diversity is crucial and inevitable for any service organisations to create opportunities for more innovative ideas. Diversity involves individuals from different ethnic background, culture, age, gender, status and personality characteristics to communicate and share values. To promote and implement diversity, managers should have an effective recruitment strategy. Although diversity creates opportunities, it can create contemporary issues. The issues on diversity are rather complex. This is due to the changing nature of social trends organisations need to adapt. For example, there has been an increase of women entering in the workforce by 40 per cent since August 1961 [ABS, 2013.] and an increase of employment in part-time and casuals since 1979. The percentage of full-time employees fell from 42 per cent to 39 per cent, while part-time increased from 25 per cent to 36 per cent [Lawson, 2007.].
There are other several trends which influence the nature of diversity in the service industry. These include the recognition of Australia characteristics as more of a multicultural country. The country is also known as an aging population and is skewed towards white-collar services. An increase of technology development creates more of a diverse country through networking. This suggests that social attitudes, cultural trends and values can often change. For example, Qantas had the difficulty of maintaining the company’s consistency in terms of performance due to the changing nature of diversity. Work-life balanced positions are more in demand. Thus Qantas has responded in employing more casual and part-time employees. This change has driven Qantas to reduce costs and improved its international competitiveness. There has also been an increase in participation of women in the workforce. Qantas has the total 42 per cent of women in which only 23 per cent of women occupy senior roles [Broadbridge, D. (2013: 68)]. Thus Qantas had implemented family practices to maintain women within the airline. This reinforces that, there is a need of ongoing diversity management to gain a productive diversity. Hence organisations are able to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. Managing diversity is defined as “the challenge of meeting the needs of a culturally diverse workforce and of sensitizing workers and managers to differences associated with gender, race, age and nationality in attempt to maximise the potential productivity of all employees” [Ellis and Sonnenfield (1994: 82)].
Tesco, a UK customer focused retailer has identified the essential of diversity management. To reach its maximum potential goals, Tesco has established a clear mission statement – “we make what matters better, together” [Tesco PLC, 2013]. The retailer’s mission statement promotes productive diversity. Tesco has recognised the importance of inclusion to ensure high employee satisfaction. The strong communication between managers and employees encourages each employee to maximise their own potential productivity against the organisation values and its benchmark. The industry further provides flexibility to all employees where “everyone is welcome” to motivate employees to become further productive. Therefore as a result, Tesco has gained significant benefits. These benefits include an increase of diverse knowledge and skills towards customer services, innovative opportunities, positive reputation of the organisation and an increase of service productivity. Thus it reinforces the importance of effective diversity management to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
A financial company, Westpac has also incorporated diversity management strategies to ensure the company achieve its vision – “To be one of the world’s great companies, helping our customers, communities and people to prosper and grow” [Westpac Group Ltd, 2013.]. Westpac has established The Westpac Group Diversity Council and diversity policy to ensure their objectives have been achieved. The...
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