How Does Diversity Affect HR Functions?
Employment diversity means people of varying ethnic, racial, age, gender, religion and other demographics work together. Workplaces have become increasingly diverse in the early 21st century, which has caused human resources planning to include emphasis on how to leverage the benefits of a diverse group and overcome challenges that come with such differences.
One of the most concrete responsibilities of human resources is ensuring the organization meets prescribed legal requirements in hiring, evaluation and promotion. Laws including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination Act help ensure equal rights in most cases for people based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability. Offering a fair hiring process based on defined job standards is key when screening candidates. Legal compliance and monitoring of fair standards have become an important role of HR.
HR helps set the tone for a work culture in which managers and employees promote diverse activities. Encouraging managers to set a good example allows them to help motivate or coach others to value differences and respect others. Providing orientations and informal meetings allows employees to build rapport with coworkers of all backgrounds. HR also can champion allowing employees time off to participate in local events that promote culture and diversity, which helps the company gain credibility in the community.
Responsible human resources managers understand the challenges of diversity and proactively provide training and coaching. Training on cultural awareness, the benefits of diversity and conflict resolution can help employees value different perspectives. Additionally, HR must address the reality that coworkers sometimes speak different first languages, have different racial and ethnic heritages and view the world from different paradigms.
HR professionals and organizational leaders are tasked with promoting not just a physically safe workplace, but also an emotionally safe one. This means stepping in when employees have spats related to differences. In some cases, employees may need to be reprimanded or even terminated if they verbally abuse others. These steps normally are outlined in the company's policy manual. In simple conflicts where diverse employees just don't see eye to eye, leaders more often play peacemaker and guide conflict resolution.