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Diversity In The Workplace Essay

2553 words - 11 pages

IDS300W Sarah Dupre
Final Paper
Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity Training in the Workplace

When I look around my workplace, I see people of all different creeds, ethnicities and ages. People of different religions and backgrounds all working together in one office space. In 2011 most American workplaces look like mine, filled with diversity. This is a new experience for America. In the early 1900’s almost all workplaces were not diverse, you would hardly ever see white and blacks working together. In fact segregation was so prominent that people would be segregated not only by color and gender but heritage. Italians would live and work together, Germans would group together, and ...view middle of the document...

Workplace diversity is a people issue that focuses on the differences and similarities that bring people together within a company or work team. It goes beyond the parameters specified in equal opportunity and affirmative action non-discrimination laws. As a concept, diversity is considered to be inclusive of everyone. In many ways, diversity training initiatives help non-discrimination compliance programs by creating a workplace environment and culture that encourage differences and promote team unity despite of different values. However, if not managed and supported correctly workplace diversity trainings can have consequences that can be negative and can really hinder a company’s success.
So does diversity training work and is it worth the investment to companies? Many Human Resources departments say yes, that these trainings do help companies realize success, avoid lawsuits and help employees feel part of the team. However, researchers of diversity trainings tend to disagree, citing high costs and stagnant views of acceptance even when diversity training is mandatory. Employees of companies providing the training have very wide and differing views on the programs. Although they seem to appreciate the attempts at team and company unity many feel the trainings do more to promote differences than to teach how to accept these differences.
Human Resource departments within companies have a hard job. According to the International Public Management Association and the National Association for State Personnel Executives Benchmarking Committee, “diversity efforts in the workplace facilitate the exchange of new perspectives, improve problem solving by inviting different ideas, and create a respectful, accepting work environment, all of which make good business sense.” In the book Beyond Race and Gender, R. Roosevelt Thomas defined managing diversity as “a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees.” Bringing together people of different backgrounds is not an easy task. Making diversity an asset to a company is an even harder task.”
If you work at a large company you have probably gone through diversity training. The majority of the Fortune 500 and, by some estimates, the majority of American employers offer diversity training programs for their employees through their HR department (Frink 55). Many make such training mandatory. The amount of money spent on these runs into the billions. These trainings are used as a way to expose people to different ideas and views and also promote respect and dignity within an organization. According to R. Roosevelt Thomas, a leading Human Resource manager, “In order to be successful the Human Resource department must take some steps to ensure it is effective. They must participate in training and require all managers to do so” as employees won't feel they have to participate if the leaders of the company do not. “It is also important that implementation of...

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