Diversity

By the year 2050, nonwhites will represent close to half of
the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
projections.

By 2005, the ethnic minority share of the workforce is
expected to grow to 28 percent, up from 18 percent in
1980 and 22 percent in 1990. Although the African
American population is now the largest minority group, the
Hispanic and Asian populations are growing much faster.

In 1994, the African American population was estimated to
be 33 million, or 12.7 percent of the total population, up
from 11.7 percent in 1980. By 2025, African Americans
are expected to represent 14 percent of the total.

The Hispanic population is 10 percent of the total U.S.
population in 1994, it is projected to be 17 percent by
2025. The Asian population was 3.4 percent of the total
U.S. population in 1994, it is expected to more than double
by 2025.

With all of that stated, the above statistics should erase any
doubt that workforce diversity is a critical business issue
with serious, bottom line consequences, the Texaco lawsuit
has erased those doubts forever. But a well publicized
racial discrimination lawsuit is just one example of how an
organization can be hurt if it is not actively working to
manage and leverage workforce diversity.

Other organizational costs could include depressed
employee morale and loyalty, increased turnover and poor
productivity. On the other hand, if managed well, a diverse
workforce can boost productivity and creativity, increase
market share and make the organization more responsive
to diverse markets.

As a result of these demographic changes as stated above,
the ability of us as future business leaders to attract, recruit,
and develop a qualified workforce from diverse
populations will become critical for business survival.

As managers, especially in today’s fast paced business
environment we have little time to assess the impact of
diversity efforts. Organizations are under pressure to
improve the product and services they provide to
customers, with greater accountability for achieving results,
for reduced cycle time, and at a lower cost. So, as
managers how do we manage diversity?

I believe, that understanding and achieving diversity is the
key to understanding the complex demands society and the
marketplace place on businesses today. I also believe,
when organizations leverage the contributions of their total
workforce, they not only survive they succeed. So, how do
we get there?

Experience has shown, programs that work have taken
time to develop and communicate the vision have the most
success. I personally, as a manager and future business
leader will be shaping messages and keeping diversity at
the forefront of the minds of my peers and rank and file
employees. I will also spend time learning about workforce
diversity and how it affects bottom line success, this means
tying diversity into the bottom line corporate strategic
issues.

For diversity to succeed it must be seen as inseperable
from stategic issues. I think one also needs to support
efforts of our CEO to lead by example and educate all
employees on the myths and realities of diversity. Top
management commitment to diversity is the most critical
success factor. Let’s face it diversity is a long term
commitment. Make diversity an opportunity instead of a
threat.

We should be shaping messages and keeping diversity at
the forefront of the minds of executives, middle managers
and rank and file employees. I believe in the long run this
will make our organizations stronger, healthier and better
able to take on the challenges of the next century.

Category: Miscellaneous