Importance of Understanding Culture Diversity in the Workplace In business today it is important to have a diverse group of employees in the workplace. Our textbook defines diversity as real or perceived differences among people in race, ethnicity, sex, age, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, religion, work and family status, weight and appearance, and other identity-based attributes that affect their interactions and relationships (Bell, 2012, p. 5).
It is very important to understand the cultural, ethnical, and gender differences by professionals and management in the workforce in this day and age. If an organization develops a reputation for valuing all types of employees, it will become known as an employer of choice, in which workers from all backgrounds feel they have the opportunity to work, grow, and be treated fairly (Bell, 2012, p. 4). By being diverse in its employees, a business has a better opportunity for new ideas and growth potential and less likely to be stymied.
Despite extraordinary corporate and media attention paid to diversity in the past thirty years, discrimination, inequality, and exclusion persist in organizations (Bell, 2012, p. 4). As discussed this week in class, when the department head turned down the Jamaican friend for the position, even though he seemed better qualified, it showed stereotyping and prejudices can have a negative effect in the workplace. The situation made for an uncomfortable, even negative environment in the workplace.
By the department head’s negative behavior it caused a barrier for productivity and potentially harmed working relationships. It is essential in today’s business world for managers and professionals to understand the importance of cultural, ethnical and gender differences to make the workplace environment an at-ease one for employees to thrive and be productive. In every culture there are unique thought processes and behaviors and these cultural differences have a strong impact on workplace interaction and communication.
What may be considered the norm for one person’s culture could be completely unacceptable to another. People from diverse cultures bring new ways of thinking, ingenuity and communication skills needed to endure in today’s workforce. Working in and learning in environments with people who are different can benefit individuals through intellectual engagement, perspective taking, and greater understanding of the implications and benefits of diversity (Bell, 2012, p. 4). In the healthcare industry, employers benefit by hiring a diverse workforce.
Hospitals have come to appreciate that by hiring staff from different cultural, ethnical, and gender backgrounds, it brings a great deal of valued thoughts and insight when it applies to patient care. Ultimately, if a hospital’s workforce more closely resembles the patient population it serves quality measures and patient satisfaction scores will improve (Commins, 2012, p. 2). Nursing care must become more culturally, ethnically, and gender diverse in order for the nursing unit to reflect the diversity of the population it treats.
The ball and sock experiment really showed me how it feels to be different. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, I struggled with daily tasks that I normally accomplished without having to even think about, for example, brushing my teeth, shaving my legs, inserting the keys into the ignition of my car, shifting the gears of my car to just name a few. By the end of the day I could perform these tasks more easily but I still had to use more focus and effort.
The ball and sock experiment opened my eyes to how it must feel to be outside of what society considers to be the norm and gave me a new appreciation for how these differences help shape our society. In conclusion, it is very important to understand the need for cultural, ethnical, and gender differences by professionals and management in the workforce in this day and age. Diversity in the workplace, no matter in healthcare or any other business, is of the utmost importance for growth and prosperity.
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