Barriers to Diversity in the Workplace

A diverse workforce promotes organizational growth.

A diverse workforce promotes organizational growth.

With more companies moving towards a global initiative, diversity plays a vital role in reaching a greater number of customers. Diversity includes all of the characteristics that make someone different, including age, race, gender, physical qualities and sexual orientation. Companies that emphasize the importance of diversity help to prevent discrimination and promote equality. It's not always a smooth transition to a diverse workplace; companies must often overcome barriers to maintain diversity.

Attitudes

Negative attitudes are one of the most common barriers of workplace diversity. This includes stereotyping and prejudice. According to the University of Florida Extension Office, negative attitudes and behaviors can harm working relationships and damage morale and productivity. Employees who stereotype assign labels to certain races and ethnic groups, which is also a form of prejudice. Discrimination can also result when an individual receives different treatment due to their characteristics.

Problem Consultants

Diversity consultants help to attract and retain a diverse workforce. It’s crucial to choose a consultant that will work well for your company. A consultant who works for a small business may have a difficult time with a large corporation, and a consultant who has extensive service with non-profit organizations make not be appropriate for an immense for-profit corporation. Relying too heavily on the consultant to bring individuals in can lessen the company’s involvement with the diversity initiative.

Lack of Employee Involvement

Co-workers should learn to work alongside one another and value the contributions of the other person. For example, someone from the United States may not understand the culture and business practices of Asian countries. Co-workers that get along create a happy, more productive work environment. Companies can offer training and education to create a supportive environment.

Lack of Funding

Economic hardships can lead to company layoffs and a loss of employees. It can be difficult for employers to maintain quality workers when they can’t afford to recruit. This situation can leave veteran employees wondering why there is a push towards diversity when the company can’t afford to maintain current employees. Lack of morale and resources can be enough to keep diverse workers from working for the company.

Language and Cultural Differences

Diverse workers often speak other languages and have different cultural traditions. This can clash with current workers who do not understand. It can create an uncomfortable situation when there is an inability to communicate with one another.

 

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.

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