Workplace Issues Related to Race
This paper explores six published articles that discuss workplace issues related to race, gender, age, and the impact of millennials and 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 mindsets of those with negative cultural stereotypes and biases. Work of other scholarly papers, backed up by my input, emphasize the importance of employee skill set in aspects of employment free from fear of prejudice and inequality. 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 on understanding what effects are caused. 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 the 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.
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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 the 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 developments of new innovations in technology have 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 get delivered and completed in both an efficient and effective manner. Millennials are likely to embrace and master new technology rapidly and easily and are ready to leverage new tools to improve and streamline how they work. Similarly, millennials apprehend the power of technology to foster connection and collaboration and 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 hyper competitive 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 comprised of distinct backgrounds and culture. Managers need to recognize the significance of recruiting and retaining diverse employees who possess the skills in playing 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 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 from 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 as long as they possess the skills to perform tasks as needed. Employees should also feel pride in their skill sets and not fear any form of bias by understanding that there are laws that forbid discrimination in any aspect of employment. A study was conducted by Gonzales and Denisi of statistical analysis at the structural level to determine demographic diversity outcomes on firm effectiveness where it was concluded that diversity climate is found to be 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 obtain from a larger pool of accessible knowledge and experience, which boosts 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 knowledge and maturity as well as youthful energy. Managers need to understand that by employing individuals in wide ranges of age, corporations have the advantage of creating a dynamic workplace with an assorted variety of skill sets. Also, by educating oneself with the advantages of diverse ages in the workplace, leaders are able to get a diversified pool of employees who are able to effectively deal with customers across all age groups leading to the financial success of the organization. Employees of all age groups have the chance 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 accredited with having a working knowledge of technology, more mature members of a workforce have the advantage of traditional business skills: “Age diversity may influence relationships within interorganizational client teams” (Williams, 2015, p. 2). This 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 e-mail, while another might want to receive a tradition of a formal business letter. Professionals who are more mature and experienced members of the workforce often have incomparable interpersonal skills and perform well in situations where traditional face-to-face communication is utilized.
Increasing age diversity can lead to problems if misguided age-related attitudes and behaviors lead to ageism. Managers need to apprehend that a workplace deeply consisting only of employees in a certain age demographic runs the jeopardy 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, professionals who are older guide younger employees in the ways of the organization by transitioning accumulated years of knowledge and practical experience. In a labor force conquered strictly by younger employees, there are not any occasions for generational mentoring. Employees who are older may need to adapt to the changes in technology so that the tasks required from them are performed twice as fast as before. Managers and organizations should set up seminars that allow employees to embrace technology, so they are able to utilize it to improve job performance as well as to develop a comfort level with all the technology tools to use at their disposal.
Inequality in the workplace is a problem that is present due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of its existence. 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” (107). Once managers and employees become knowledgeable, strides can be made towards offering all genders equal opportunities in advancement and salaries. Some features of gender inequality in the workforce includes equal income for roles which are identical, no barrier for employees to participate fully in the workforce, equal access to management roles, and no discrimination against both men and women with respect to their caregiving responsibilities. In order to achieve gender equality in the workplace and reduce gender biases and stereotypes, training is crucial at all levels of a company so that employees become instructed about the advantages and disadvantages of gender equality. Furthermore, for organizations to become serious about improving gender equality in the workplace, management should encourage men to enter fields that may have been traditionally female dominated and vice versa. This will eradicate hostility in the workplace and foster all-inclusive work environments. Having gender equality in the workplace directly correlates to the overall performance of organizations where there is increased productivity, better organizational performance in companies, increased inflow of qualified candidates for roles and greater reputations for organizations built upon equal rights and justice. Consideration for promotion should be based off skill, potential for advancement, superior performance, attendance and other criteria.
Employees may use techniques to boost their chances at 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 ruin potential success for organizations by losing the ability to hire or interview bright individuals who can 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 start to take a closer look at their resume screening process to ensure that the organization is clearly meeting their diversity goals so that all applicants are evaluated fairly. For management, the decision making process should involve evaluating the applicant’s skills and experience and how that ties in with the objectives and goals 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 on understanding what effects are caused. Organizations, leaders, and employees will have to work in union to capture, distribute and share the knowledge and responsibilities to hire talent, free from bias and discrimination, that brings skills to help the organization be productive. According to Abramson and Moran (2017), “Leaders have the obligation of articulating a vision and of ensuring that the vision will be implemented” (117). Managers are an extension of the organizations mission, goals, and values where they have of 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 in playing a vital role in an organization’s ability to grow. Abramson and Moran (2017), continue to state that “To understand that in this emerging knowledge culture, open-mindedness to change and its management is essential” (101). Inequality in the workplace is a problem that is 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 if organizations and leaders articulate values and empower teams to become bright future leaders.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Williams, M. (n.d.). Being Trusted: How Team Generational Age Diversity …
- Moran, R. T. (2017). Managing Cultural Differences(10th ed.). London: Routledge.