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  • Saiful Bahtiar Mat

    December 15, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Diversity in the workforce includes religion, age, disability status, economic, educational level, lifestyle, gender, race, nationality or anything that makes us unique individuals and interesting people into one’s organisation. Diversity also means the organisation is supporting, nurturing and utilising these differences to the organisation’s advantage; thus, companies with these qualities will attract and retain the best talent in the workforce.

    Diversity in the workplace can bring better opportunities such as better innovation, a more productive team, skills, solving problems, broader experiences, better communication, and creating growth for the business. In other words, diversity is about building an organisation rich in talent, skills and perspectives so that problems can be solved, everyone in the organisation can be successful and more profits can be generated.

    However, diversity also comes with challenges such as communication barriers that increase the chance of miscommunication and dissatisfaction. The challenge appears because the team now has members with different nationalities and may not speak fluent English or fluent Bahasa Malaysia because they are native speakers of a different language. Another thread is on culture clashes which can fail a company’s diversity and inclusiveness objective because culturally diverse members will come with their opinions, thus creating integration issues. Lastly, diversity creates slower decision-making processes. It opens opportunities for more people to talk, throw ideas, room for debates and arguments, and the management team needs to look into many angles so that a win-win decision for everyone. It is never easy to come with a solution that satisfies everybody in the organisation.

    When organisations want to adopt diversity and inclusiveness as their culture, top management must instil and show proof that they are really into it. Otherwise, the employees will comply, not feel, and the biases will grow like a virus in the organisation; thus, the intention to have a diverse organisation will fail.

    Based on this, effective leadership is needed where leaders need to be diversity savvy, cultural savvy, have the highest level of tolerance for people of different races and ethnicity and use these differences to become an opportunity to grow the business and organisations.

    Furthermore, HR must provide training with case studies on this subject so that managers and employees are aware of each other’s differences. When everyone integrates and have a good understanding of each other, working in a team gives everybody job satisfaction. After all, everyone wants to make a living and bring home more money, right?