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Managing diversity in the business

Diversity in a business poses a big challenge to effective  internal business communication. What is diversity in a business?  Diversity refers to different human virtues of employees working for the same business, for example different nationalities, ages, sexual orientations, gender, ethnicity, cultures, religions and even disabilities.  The manager needs to have a good understanding of  differences among employees, including a knowledge of the history, religion, politics and customs of other cultures.  Communication in a business should make provision for all employees who have different backgrounds and should never be perceived as offensive.  Apart from a good understanding of diversity, the manager should also be sensitive towards all employees coming from different backgrounds.  A manager should never underestimate the challenges of diversity in a business.  Messages are often understood because of unnecessary misunderstandings, for example,  a custom that might seem appropriate in one culture, may be offensive in another.

But what should a manager do  when it comes to diversity management in the workplace?

I would, first of all, suggest conducting a survey about diversity among employees.  This survey could include questions on the business’ own culture, how communication takes place in the business as well as how all employees understand diversity.  Managers often do not consider age differences as part of diversity in the workplace.  The truth is that a “cultural gap” often exists among younger and older employees.

Using the results of the diversity survey, another strategy could be to provide training to employees on diversity.  This is often referred to as a diversity programme. The diversity programme should be linked to the communication plan of the business. A good diversity programme in a business could result in an understanding of the different cultures of employees in all aspects of the running of the business. 

Dealing with diversity in the workplace is challenging, but will be rewarding in the long-term success of the business.

Related posts:

True Diversity is a Thought Process

Diversity programme blunders in business communication


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