Table of Contents
Modern social tendencies give opportunities for every individual to take any position which he or she aspires for in the case of being a competent worker. At the same time, one of the common problems may be managers and HR specialists who are unaware of the modern demographic tendencies. As a result, incompetent HR specialists may provoke conflicts in the workplaces with a diverse community because of the failure to meet expectations of the workers. This paper presents a diversity training manual developed as a sample for guidance for HR specialists and CEOs willing to increase working potential of the staff. It presents an overview of the most common examples of diversity discriminations, trends in demographics, practical advices enhancing diversity awareness and other. This information is of the critical importance for HR specialists and CEOs who want their companies to success due to productive, collaborative and cooperative work of their employees.
Trends of the Demographics of the US Population
The constituency of the representatives of different ethnic, racial, age and religious groups in various workplaces in general depends on the overall demographics statistics. One should consider various statistical surveys in order to identify the current demographic state and the possible trends for a change of the constituency of population. Thus, according to Passel and Cohn (2008) in 2005 foreign representatives constituted 12% of the whole population. Moreover, the proportions of racial groups were 67% of White, 14% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 5% Asian (Passel & Cohn, 2008). Among them, 25% are children of 17 years and younger, 63% represent working age population aged from 18 to 64 years and 12% are 65 years and older (Passel & Cohn, 2008). At the same time, recent surveys indicate the presence of population shift which undoubtedly would affect the workplace statistics and requires awareness of HR specialists. Thus, it is expected that the amount of immigrant population would rise from 12% to 19% by 2050 (Passel & Cohn, 2008). Moreover, scholars claim that this change would impact on the statistics of racial and ethnic representatives of the US population. For instance, it is estimated that the quantity of White would drop to 47% together with the increase of Hispanic population to 29%, and Asian ones to 9% (Passel & Cohn, 2008). Moreover, the quantity of representatives of the working age would drop from 63% to 58% (Passel & Cohn, 2008), which may negatively affect the economy of the country. As a result, HR managers should create frameworks allowing their workers to increase their working potential and efficacy of their organizations. Lastly, they have to consider the estimated quantity of the representatives of different religions because religion is one of the factors affecting workplace diversity. Thus, it is predicted that the overall number of Christians is declining, which is demonstrated by recent statistical fall from 78.4% to 70.6% (PewResearch Center, 2015). At the same time, the number of individuals recognizing themselves as “atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”” has increased from 16.1% to 22.8% (PewResearch Center, 2015). This factor should be considered by HR specialists because specific religious groups have different holidays which are relevant only for their religion. Therefore, one has to be ethically correct when proposing celebrating a particular holiday allowing the work community to participate in the process of culture sharing which fosters integrity. Moreover, there are other factors which may provoke tensions in the workplace and may deteriorate the working potential of diverse workgroups.
Current Racial Diversity Issues
It is important to consider the most relevant issues associated with the demographic statistics presented in the previous section in order for HR specialists to be aware of possible problems and the means of their maintenance. Thus, there is a tendency for the US population to have the increased number of Hispanic representatives. Consequently, it is advised for HR practitioners to raise their awareness of the peculiarities of Hispanic culture. This issue is important because the representatives of this ethnic group may have different views regarding such aspects as time management, establishing agreements and other. Moreover, it is important to provide connections between the representatives of different ethnic, racial and age groups in the workplace. Often, the representatives of different race, ethnicity or ages have totally different cultural experiences and expectations in the workplace.
Characterizing cultural differences and attitudes, scholars claim that the US population may be divided into four generations, each of which has specific cultural differences. The generations include “Traditionalists” born between 1925 and 1946, “Baby Boomers” born between 1946 and 1963, “Generation X” born between 1963 and 1981, and “Generation Why” – born between 1981 and 2000 (Pierce, 2016). Among them, Baby Boomers and Generation X represent 40-45% of the workforce in the workplaces with other representatives having presence of 5-10% (Pierce, 2016). The differences between these social groups are defined by different cultural and historical realities which formed their way of thinking and principles of work. As a result, there may be issues causing misunderstanding of the principles of integrative work or other aspects deteriorating the working potential of the representatives of diverse work groups. For instance, these groups may have different opinion regarding religion, team work, collective or individual approach to work and other.
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However, the problem of modern organizations is not presence of the diverse work groups but the attitude of HR practitioners towards them. In this respect, Pierce (2016) states that “many of today’s managers and supervisors are unaware of, or simply choose to ignore these important generational differences.” Moreover, the scholar identifies that the best way to mitigate this problem is to treat one’s employees the way they have to be treated. For instance, Traditionalists want to feel security, Baby Boomers seek respect, Generation X’ s expect obtaining the biggest return on investment whereas Generation Why employees want positive feedback and personal space (Pierce, 2016). Therefore, the duty of an HR manager is to organize team work in a way to assure presence of the mentioned factors for every worker individually. Moreover, similar issues are present in representatives of different ethnic, racial and age groups because each of them wants to see the recognition of one’s culture and religion by others.
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Diversity and Gender and Other Factors
Furthermore, one of the critical factors to consider in a diverse work group is gender issue. Thus, scholars report that gender discrimination at work is still present in North America meaning that the US is one of the countries where this problem remains stable. For instance, Gorman (2014) states that “Women continue to trail men in overall workforce participation… Current female hiring, promotion, and retention rates are insufficient.” It is suggested to assure gender equality in the workplace because its presence is connected with the increase of GDP of the countries. For instance, the statistic indicates that elimination of the gap between working male and female individuals could boost GDP of the US by 5% (Gorman, 2014). Therefore, HR specialists should promote the presence of women at the workplace in equal proportions with men. One of the relevant problems in this sense may be communication of the news about newly appointed women working in the “all-men” community. However, HR supervisors should enhance the understanding of male workers that women have equal rights and are similarly respectable and productive individuals of society.
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Moreover, there is an evidence that in some cases workplace discrimination still involves lawsuits where workers defend their constitutional rights. For instance, Griggs vs. Duke Power case discusses the fact of race discrimination because a company refused to hire an African American individual, despite he passed all the required application tests (FindLaw, n. d.). Therefore, HR practitioners should assure adherence to the constitutional rights rejecting the perspective of breaking laws of the country by discriminating workers and applicants.
Therefore, HR supervisors are expected to state minimum requirements when requesting new employees to be hired. Such requirements should not discriminate applicants on the basis of religious, racial, ethnic, gender or age factors. On the contrary, it is suggested to asses working qualification, experience and level of education. As a result, working departments would benefit from having diverse communities which work is collaborative and respect each one’s individual and constitutional rights.
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Summarizing the presented information, one concludes that the diversity in the workplace is one of the most relevant issues for the modern US society. It is evident that the characteristics of population and demographic trends are gradually changing. As a result, HR practitioners have to be attentive towards the trends because the described social changes mean change of the constituency of workplace representatives. Thus, it is expected that the number of working age population would decrease together with the increase of the representatives of Hispanics population. Moreover, it is estimated that the number of individuals defining themselves as unaffiliated towards different religious groups is increasing together with the fall of Christian representatives. Similarly, there are gender diversity issues which indicate that women require more workplace support and promotion in the US. As a consequence, HR specialists should be able to meet the demands of each described group in order to create efficiently working diverse community. In the case diverse workplace community is presented with the expected attitudes, its efficacy would drastically increase creating additional profits for companies and positively affecting the economy of the country.