Workplace diversity, in the form of globalization, has impacted the business world in a number of ways over the last few decades. Evidence of its impact can be seen in the organizational structure of multinational corporations (MNCs) and in how smaller businesses currently operate.
Knowing the pros and cons of workplace diversity-from the perspective of employers, employees and customers-and effectively using that knowledge to improve relations between any of these three groups, can lead to a work environment where cultural diversity thrives.
Pros: A broader talent pool available to employers. When employee selections are not limited by such criteria as age group, educational experience or location, this increases the possibility of finding the right employee-employer match.
Marketing efforts that target new countries are more successful (and have a more personalized feel) when the knowledge and skill sets of the host country’s local talents/experts (rather than just those in the company's home country) are used. This in turn helps companies better serve a more diverse customer-base.
Cons: Conflicts arise such as selecting the right candidate for the job versus selecting a more diverse candidate who is also right for the job.
If cultural sensitivity/diversity training is not provided to employees, the result could be tension in the workplace. Also, if diversity education/initiatives are not approached correctly, resentment or tension can result.
Pros: Internal cross-training is made easier when departments work together. Moreover, in a multinational company, an increase in overseas employees can lead to an increase in cultural understanding/a world without borders. Employees with generational, departmental, cultural and other differences have an opportunity to find common ties in the form of professional/team-related goals.
Cons: Unresolved communication/language barriers can lead to resentment. Moreover, an increase in expatriatism can eventually lead to the disappearance of the delineation between countries/homogenization. Finally, employees in the company’s home country may be concerned about job outsourcing, which may lead to layoffs.
Pros: Global customers would best identify with advertisements that address their specific needs, with respect to their cultural values.
Cons: An increase in corporations who send employees overseas may, over time, lead to the disappearance of the delineation between countries/homogenization. And, employees in the company’s home country may be concerned about job outsourcing, which may lead to layoffs.