Workplace Issues Related to Race

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Updated: Aug 20, 2023
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2021/06/26
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Abstract

This paper explores six published articles that discuss workplace issues related to race, gender, age, and the impact of millennials. It identifies how, by obtaining knowledge and recognizing employee skills, an organization’s management can hire the right talent to be productive. This paper further discusses how by being exposed to many differences in cultures and backgrounds, leaders in organizations can serve to alter the mindsets of those with negative cultural stereotypes and biases. The work of other scholarly papers, backed up by my input, emphasizes the importance of the employee skill set in aspects of employment free from fear of prejudice and inequality.

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Furthermore, the research reflects that diverse employee backgrounds allow employees to be creative and productive, leading to the long-term success of the organization.

The economy, technological revolution, and cultural shifts are constantly evolving the workplace. The staggering degree of change and the impacts of these transformations require a close examination to understand the effects. Organizations, leaders, and employees will have to work in union to capture, distribute and share the knowledge and responsibilities of a fast-changing marketplace. Managing diverse populations not only brings a strategic marketplace advantage in the workforce but also increases the likelihood of innovation within corporations and understanding how diverse groups work collaboratively together. Work models, benefits, compensation, management perspectives, and changes in organizational structure will need to become more flexible to prompt managers to hire talent, free from bias and discrimination, that brings analytical and judgement skills to help the organization be productive.

As technological advancements drive the workplace forward more rapidly than ever before, the way individuals work is intensely shifting: “The globalization of economies and marketplaces including advances in communication technologies are transforming worldwide workplace culture and the workforce” (Abramson, N., & Moran, R., p. 180). Employees are starting to experience increased flexibility in their work with the ability to connect from anywhere around the world at a time of their choosing. Communication methods have advanced substantially and the extensive uses of information technology and Internet-based social media allow users to interact quickly with other individuals on a commercial basis. The development of new innovations in technology has offered tremendous advancements in global connectivity, quality of life, and social impacts in modern society. As a result, it seems technological devices have become an accepted part of our everyday lives and individuals seem to immensely rely on them for guidance and interaction on both a personal and professional basis.

Social media and other communication platforms, via the use of computers, tablets, and mobile devices, have spread throughout the nation; allowing individuals to create, engage, reproduce, and exchange information. In a global marketplace, the hunt for talent frequently spreads all over the globe, and contract-based work is becoming more common. As a manager, one needs to pursue the best interests of both the employer and the employees. In order for the organization to be productive, tasks need to be delivered and completed in both an efficient and effective manner. Millennials, likely to embrace and master new technology rapidly and easily, are ready to leverage new tools to improve and streamline how they work. Similarly, millennials comprehend the power of technology to foster connection and collaboration; they tend to look for an increased level of liberty over their location of work and schedule: “By 2020, 40 percent of the total workforce will be Millennials” (Moheet, 2015, p. 1). In a hypercompetitive workplace, where new concepts are emerging constantly, tech-savvy millennials born in the internet era will be able to use their innovative and multitasking mindsets to change business for the better. These traits also create employees who are not afraid to take the initiative and present their leadership skills to become future leaders.

Globalization has caused a rising frequency of international organizations and an increasing number of employees involved in projects worldwide. This has led people to socialize and reside with individuals who represent different cultures, mindsets, perspectives, and backgrounds. The rise of international business has significantly reduced political and cultural boundaries, allowing all people to equip their minds with knowledge on how to successfully interact with individuals from distinct backgrounds and cultures. Managers need to recognize the significance of recruiting and retaining diverse employees who possess the skills to play a vital role in an organization’s ability to grow, adapt, and sustain a competitive advantage in the modern workplace. Both employees and employers have responsibilities when it comes to promoting and monitoring ethnic diversity in the workplace to ensure the overall success of the company: “Most organizations struggle to manage diversity since the managers themselves are not prepared to handle it with acumen. This is owing to the very lack of exposure to people who are significantly different from them” (Tyagi, 2016, p. 1). Management should act as sources of knowledge to develop relations among their diverse workforce and work on implementing policies to ensure attentiveness on ethnic diversity and racial discrimination in the workforce. By being exposed to a multitude of differences in cultures and backgrounds, managers and leaders of organizations will serve to alter the mindsets of those with negative cultural stereotypes and biases.

To better educate and prepare management to address differences in the workforce, organizations should take the initiative and invest in internal development programs. Knowledge starts at the top of the hierarchy with management and eventually trickles down the chain to the employees. On the other hand, employees should enjoy equal employment without being racially discriminated against, as long as they possess the skills to perform tasks as needed. Employees should also have pride in their skill sets and not fear any form of bias, knowing that there are laws that forbid discrimination in any aspect of employment. A study conducted by Gonzales and Denisi employed statistical analysis at the structural level to determine demographic diversity outcomes on firm effectiveness, concluding that diversity climate is a main factor in the construction of positive organizational identification (Simons & Rowland, 2011, p. 7). For employers to flourish and gain advantage in the search for skilled and talented employees, organizations need to lead the way in inclusion by constructing workplaces that encourage and celebrate racial diversity. Diverse team members have the option to draw from a larger pool of accessible knowledge and experience, boosting overall workgroup effectiveness. This may allow group members to be more critical in their evaluation of problem-solving strategies and increase creativity, resulting in better team performance.

Workforces are becoming progressively more diverse in age demographics, fashioning professional environments that are rich with experience and maturity as well as youthful energy. Managers need to understand that by employing individuals from a wide range of ages, corporations can create a dynamic workplace with an assorted variety of skill sets. By educating themselves on the advantages of diverse ages in the workplace, leaders can build a diversified pool of employees who effectively deal with customers across all age groups, leading to the financial success of the organization. Employees of all age groups have the opportunity to teach, learn, and share from each other in a mixed-age workforce where organizations value seniority, experience, and skill above age. While younger generations are credited with having a strong understanding of technology, more mature members of the workforce bring the advantage of traditional business skills . “Age diversity may influence relationships within interorganizational client teams” (Williams, 2015, p. 2). This diversity gives corporations the upper hand in being able to communicate and cater to customers across all age groups. For instance, one customer may prefer an email, while another might want a more traditional formal business letter. Professionals who are more mature and experienced members of the workforce often demonstrate incomparable interpersonal skills and thrive in situations where traditional face-to-face communication is vital.

Increasing age diversity can lead to problems if misguided age-related attitudes and behaviors lead to ageism. Managers need to comprehend that a workplace consisting solely of employees in a certain age demographic runs the risk of becoming obsolete. “The Information Age requires the transformation of education and training so that all institutions become learning organizations. When knowledge, like people, is treated as a resource, lifetime continuing self-education helps us to avoid obsolescence” (Abramson, N., & Moran, R., p. 140). Conventionally, older professionals guide younger employees in the ways of the organization by transferring accumulated years of knowledge and practical experience. In a workforce dominated solely by younger employees, there are no opportunities for generational mentoring. Older employees may need to adapt to changes in technology so that the tasks required of them are performed twice as fast as before. Managers and organizations should set up seminars that allow employees to embrace technology, improving their job performance and developing a comfort level with all the technology tools at their disposal.

Inequality in the workplace is a problem that exists due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of its occurrence. According to Abramson and Moran (2017), “For five decades, researchers have studied the changing roles of men and women, discovering that gender differences are mostly in our minds and cultures, rather than in biological realities” (p. 107). Once managers and employees become knowledgeable, strides can be made towards providing all genders equal opportunities in advancement and salaries. Gender inequality in the workforce includes equal income for identical roles, no barriers for full workforce participation, equal access to management roles, and no discrimination against both men and women in regard to their caregiving responsibilities. To achieve gender equality in the workplace and reduce gender biases and stereotypes, training is crucial at all levels of a company. Employees should be educated about the advantages and disadvantages of gender equality. Moreover, for organizations to improve gender equality in the workplace, management should encourage men to enter fields traditionally dominated by women and vice versa. This will reduce hostility in the workplace and foster inclusive work environments. Gender equality in the workplace directly correlates to the overall performance of organizations, resulting in increased productivity, better organizational performance, an influx of qualified candidates for roles, and enhanced reputations based on equal rights and justice. Consideration for promotion should be based on skill, potential for advancement, superior performance, attendance and other criteria.

Employees may use techniques to boost their chances of getting jobs. “All respondents who reported using whitening techniques said that they did so to improve their chances of getting a job by avoiding anticipated discrimination” (Kang et al., 2016, p. 10). Biases may undermine potential success for organizations by losing the ability to hire or interview bright individuals who could become long-term assets. Management and, most importantly, organizations, should acknowledge that bias – that is hardwired into the hiring system – is not only illegal but does not give qualified potential employees a fair chance to become a part of the organization. Business leaders should also take a closer look at their resume screening process to ensure that the organization is meeting its diversity goals and that all applicants are evaluated fairly. For management, the decision-making process should involve evaluating the applicant’s skills and experience and assessing how that ties in with the objectives and goals related to the open position.

The staggering degree of change and the impacts of the transformations in the economy, technology, and culture require a close examination to understand the effects caused. Organizations, leaders, and employees will have to work together to capture, distribute, and share knowledge and responsibilities to hire talent, free from bias and discrimination. This talent will bring skills that help the organization become more productive. According to Abramson and Moran (2017), “Leaders have the obligation of articulating a vision and of ensuring that the vision will be implemented” (p. 117). Managers are an extension of the organizations mission, goals, and values where they have a vision of inspiring others to exemplify the core morals and ethics of the company. To effectively provide a sense of alignment between the organization’s values, management must stay committed to those morals and seize every opportunity to reinforce them.

Leaders need to recognize the importance of recruiting and retaining diverse employees who possess the skills to play a vital role in an organization’s ability to grow. Abramson and Moran (2017) continue to state, “To understand that in this emerging knowledge culture, open-mindedness to change and its management is essential” (p. 101). Inequality in the workplace is a problem present due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of its existence. Open-mindedness to change can only occur once a problem is discovered and steps are taken to effectively address the situation. By obtaining knowledge and recognizing employee skills, an organization’s management can hire the right talent to be productive regardless of race, age, and gender. Transformations in technology, resources, and culture can only go as far as organizations and leaders who articulate values and empower teams to become bright future leaders.

References

  1. Kang, S. K., DeCelles, K. A., Tilcsik, A., & Jun, S. (n.d.). Whitened Résumés: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor … Retrieved from http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/facbios/file/Whitening MS R2 Accepted.pdf
  2. Moheet, S. (n.d.). Playing For Keeps – Creating a Workspace that Makes Millennials Want to Stay. Retrieved from https://www.newground.com/perspective/playing-for-keeps-creating-a-workspace-that-makes-millennials-want-to-stay
  3. Simons, M, S., & N, K. (n.d.). Diversity and its Impact on Organizational Performance: The Influence of Diversity Constructions on Expectations and Outcomes. Retrieved from https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0718-27242011000300013
  4. Tyagi, R. (2016, June). Managing the Struggles in Diversity. Retrieved from
    https://wtclass.wtamu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1196716-dt-content-rid-33400002_1/courses/120329/Managing the Struggles in Diversity.pdf
  5. Williams, M. (n.d.). Being Trusted: How Team Generational Age Diversity …
    http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1965&context=articles
  6. Moran, R. T. (2017). Managing Cultural Differences(10th ed.). London: Routledge.
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Workplace Issues Related to Race. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/workplace-issues-related-to-race/