Diversity and inclusivity are important aspects of any organization; diversity refers to the understanding and respecting the following aspects: ethnicity, gender, age, sex, and physical ability of people at the organization. On the other hand, inclusion refers to the equal treatment of the individual’s opinions and recognition of the individual’s contributions within an organization. Inclusion ensures that similar or different opinions are given equal treatment or welcomed within the organization (Stamper & Combs, 2021). Currently, businesses have extensively understood the importance of inclusivity and diversity within an organization; this has been due to the current shifts in the global market where companies with policies supporting inclusion and diversity are perceived as vital and find ways through the changing global population.
Diversity and inclusion are essential aspects of any organization’s human resource management department, irrespective of size. Human resource managers are currently faced with a myriad of challenges due to the rise in the need for an inclusive and diverse organization. Diversity and inclusion have also helped organizations become more creative and flexible (Stamper & Combs, 2021). Some advantages that a more diverse organization can enjoy include: a more diverse company can have a pool of talents acquired from people of different races and gender, among other aspects of diversity. The talented individuals are equipped with different problem-solving skills and are also the source of information to help in research and development.
Trends in Diversity and Inclusion at Workplaces
One of the current trends in diversity and inclusion is enabling diverse gender identity and gender expression. This trend has been seen over the recent past where there has been a lot of effort by managers to ensure diversity at workplaces. Through their recruitment processes and human resources management, the organizations have struggled to adapt to the trend’s changes. Some of the strategies that the organizations have used to carry out an inclusive practice include giving people access to gender-neutral bathrooms and restrooms at the workplace. The organizations have also been forced to adopt inclusive practices to provide the transitioning employee with health benefits and use neutral languages to communicate with non-binary and transgender individuals.
Another trend in diversity and inclusion is the multigenerational workforce that coexists in the offices today. The current workplaces are very diverse, and it is believed that they are made up of multiple generations which were not present before. Every generation has a unique expectation based on their experiences in their professional lives. Every generation brings different ideas and experiences to the company. Therefore, it is vital for the company for human resource managers and company leaders to note the characteristics and abilities of each generation.
Diversity Equity and, Inclusion is also key trend in today’s office environment. Many offices have recognized the importance of fairness and have acknowledged its impact in the workplace. Equity in the workplace is defined as a fair and unbiased process for every organization member (Bernstein et al., 2020). In achieving justness and ensuring impartiality and fairness outcomes in an organization, the human resource manager and other company leaders, including the employers, need to be watchful about the challenges, barriers, and advantages and find a neutral ground to bring everyone on board.
The other trend is the hiring of diverse professionals. The companies are now adopting new trends at their workplaces by employing or hiring a diverse individual who ensures that the company to the vision and mission of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. The diversity professionals have the following responsibilities at the workplace: they organize educative sessions within the company about diversity and inclusion, create an inclusive culture in the workplace, and introduce new ideas that can foster diversity and inclusion. The diversity professional also ensures the implementation of inclusive language and manages complaints, harassment, and workplace discrimination.
Challenges Facing Human Resource Managers
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of benefits that a company nay enjoy due to diversity at the workplace. The company can have different perspectives, opinions, and ideas, which can lead it to become more innovative, leading to a better way for the company to serve its clients and gain a competitive advantage (Buengeler, Leroy & De Stobbeleir, 2018). A diverse workplace can also build a stronger team, leading to workers’ engagement and better productivity. But having a diverse and pulling a diverse team together has been a challenging task for human resource managers. Some of these challenges that might be faced by the human resources manager in a diverse workplace may include communication issues, cultural misunderstanding, and a slower decision-making process.
Communication challenges are one of the challenges human resource managers face in a diverse working environment. Several factors bring about the communication challenges, such as lack of a standard communication style, preferences, language barriers, and having people who are physically challenged among the team, for instance, having people with hearing loss on the team (Piller, Zhang & Li, 2020). Another possible factor contributing greatly to communication challenges in a diverse workplace is having people from different generations. The younger generation in the team may prefer a given method of communication that the older generation may not support. The human resource department may face many problems trying to standardize a common method of communication which can take a lot of time to build and adopt due to different opinions resulting from diversity.
Misunderstanding among the employees is also a key challenge to human resource managers in a diverse workplace. The misunderstanding at the workplace may arise due to the coming together of people from different cultures. For instance, some cultures may feel offended by things that other cultures consider are not offensive. Tapping someone from the back using your left hand to another culture may be considered offensive, while other cultures might embrace it without taking offense. The human resource managers in these organizations face a challenge in building an inclusive working environment where the offended individual can identify a misunderstanding and build confidence in the team members, leading to mutual respect among the team members.
Slower Decision Making
The diverse organization comprises people with different ideas, opinions, and perspectives, vital in innovation. However important it is to the organization, it can slow down the decision-making process within the organization (Chao et al., 2021). For instance, a team member may challenge the group in a meeting over certain issues that the managers may find important to be explored. For this to occur, the team members will be required to schedule more time to explore the issues raised and debate them to make an informed decision. The human resource managers face the slowed decision-making process, as they have to plan to find a final decision-maker. Final decision makers would ensure that all the contributions by the teams are taken into consideration to make them feel valued by acknowledging and recognizing individual contributions to move forward.
An inclusive workplace has a different meaning for every individual, and it may mean something different to every person. This makes it very difficult for the human resource manager to find an equitable inclusion within the organization (Le, Johnson & Fujimoto, 2020). For the transgender within a team, for instance, may force the human resource manager to ask the company to build a gender-inclusive bathroom and also might force the human resource design spaces where they can include gender-neutral pronouns. But the organization may still look inclusive to a few employees and not to all.
Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices
For the human resource managers to ensure that each individual brings their best forward, they must ensure that they establish the employees a sense of belonging. For every employee of the company to perform optimally, a sense of belonging must be a priority of the organization by making its employees feel they are themselves (Stamper & Combs, 2021). This results in greater employee engagement and creativity in the workplace. It is a psychological need.
Combination of Top-down, Bottom-Up, and Middle Down Approaches
The organization normally uses the top-down approach to ensure that it complies with the policies to meet the diversity and inclusion thresholds. The top-down has little or no effort in driving commitment within an organization (Stamper & Combs, 2021). From the top leadership to the junior employees, everyone within an organization must identify and understand their roles in its culture. This means that every leader and company employee must be capable of identifying differences among the employees in terms of belief, values, and experience across the organization so that changes can be made relevant for each individual to ensure inclusivity.
Ensuring that Inclusion is an Ongoing Process
Human resource managers have realized that to achieve the companies’ mission and vision of having an inclusive organization, there is a need to educate employees about inclusivity and diversity. Just teaching employees what it means to be inclusive is not enough to achieve the inclusivity goal of the company (Capers et al., 2021). Adopting inclusivity within an organization is like any other behavior change process. It requires continuous training for individuals to adopt new habits. This approach can be made by identifying the change champions outside the management level and then training them by providing them with key skills and information to help them champion change within their departments. This approach is more effective than a one-time training session.
Facebook Inclusivity and Diversity Case
It has been a common trend in the American business environment where large companies mostly dominated by men or white people or both make big announcements and roll out plans on how they want to bring about inclusivity and diversity. Then shortly after declaring how committed they are towards achieving diversity and inclusion, the opposite happens. The employees publicly prove that the company is not committed to its diversity and inclusivity policy. This is the case of Facebook, with the recent case of Goldman Sachs and Mark Luckie, the company’s former employees.
In 2019, Mark Luckie, a former employee, publicly posted about the company’s lack of inclusivity and diversity. He pointed out that the lack of inclusion at the company has led to a hostile working environment leading to low productivity (Daniels, Nkonde, & Mir, 2019). Luckie further criticizes the company for removing the black people’s contents without notice which, according to him, is a worrying trend despite the black people being more engaged on the platform than any other users.
On the other hand, Goldman claimed that the company board is not diverse, making it difficult for the company to meet the diversity and inclusion threshold. The company’s 2019 annual report on diversity indicates that female employees increased from 36.3 percent in 2018 to 36.9 percent in 2019. The company’s black and Hispanic employees also rose from 8.4 percent in 2018 to 9 percent in 2019 (Gravier, 2020). These disappointing findings by the company’s surveys prompted the company to roll out a new plan to double the number of its female employees globally while at the same time doubling the number of Black and Hispanic employees in the united states by 2024.
Facebook has recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion and has taken its employees to different parts of the country for training and learning about racism. But if incidents like the ones mentioned by Luckie and Goldman, the company is exposed to having a reality that is different from what it says it is. Thus, their commitment or words of inclusivity they use become dishonest. Facebook, like any organization, is faced with diversity and inclusion challenges.
The diversity and inclusion initiatives have undergone an evolution. It all began with diversity 101, which was majorly focused on compliance. It was much focused on what can be done by companies in order not to break the law and to avoid being sued. Diversity 101 is extremely critical in the organization but enough by just complying with anti-discrimination laws (Crozier, 2020). After observation of the issues associated with diversity 101, another shift occurred. Thus, people moved to diversity 2.0, a marketing-led approach that many organizations, including Facebook, are employing, which has led the company to the challenges it is currently experiencing.
What Facebook can do to overcome the diversity challenges it is currently experiencing is to move towards a new paradigm, inclusion 3.0. The new paradigm of diversity and inclusion ensures all the aspects of the organization are attached to diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are very important to the organization. It will increase the company’s problem-solving ability. The company will become more productive, increase revenue, become more innovative, and have a higher rate of workers engagement. The company Facebook can also do diversity and inclusion audits which could be very helpful to the company. The audit would give the minority employees within the company an opportunity lay down their concerns.
This will allow the managers to identify which non-inclusive behaviors affect the company and which group of employees, and to what extent. The company can learn about the happenings by conducting the audit, which is very important in ensuring that they take the right interventions and make progress. According to a study by National Urban League (2018), less than 3 percent of workers in tech companies such as Uber, Facebook, Twitter, and Google identify themselves as black. The failure of Facebook’s efforts in hiring a diverse team makes it clear that the company suffers from a systematic issue. The company can solve this systematic issue through their hiring process and also need to train their management on the different oppressions issues they are not aware of within the company and implement coaching courses to staff on how to tackle hard conversations.
Diversity and inclusion are essential aspects of human resource management. Diversity and inclusion have helped organizations to become more creative and flexible. A more diverse company can have a pool of talents acquired from people of different races and gender, among other aspects of diversity. The pool of talented individuals is equipped with different problem-solving skills and is also the source of information that can help research and development.
The diverse gender identity and gender expression are one of the current trends in diversity and inclusion. This trend has been seen in various multinational organizations with diverse gender identities and expressions. Through their recruitment processes and human resources management, the organizations have struggled to adapt to the trend’s changes.
Human resource managers have realized that to achieve the companies’ mission and vision of having an inclusive organization, there is a need to educate employees about inclusivity and diversity, having gender-neutral facilities within the organization, and using gender-neutral posters in communication. Just teaching employees what it means to be inclusive is not enough to achieve the inclusivity goal of the company. Adopting inclusivity within an organization is like any other behavior change process. It requires continuous training for individuals and to adopt new strategies.
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Capers, Q., Johnson, A., Berlacher, K., & Douglas, P. S. (2021). The urgent and ongoing need for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the cardiology workforce in the United States. Journal of the American Heart Association, 10(6), e018893.
Chao, X., Kou, G., Peng, Y., & Viedma, E. H. (2021). Large-scale group decision-making with non-cooperative behaviors and heterogeneous preferences: an application in financial inclusion. European Journal of Operational Research, 288(1), 271-293.
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Daniels, J., Nkonde, M., & Mir, D. (2019). Advancing racial literacy in tech.
Gravier, E. (2020). “Facebook executive”: We’re trying to double our diverse workforce in 4 years, even if it doesn’t work.” CNBC. www.cnbc.com/2020/01/30/facebook-has-a-diversity-problem.html.
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