This term paper provides insight into diversity in the workplace as it relates to leadership and human resource management within the department of health. Various issues associated with workplace diversity in the healthcare system can also be viewed in terms of gender, position, ranking, and employee background.
Most healthcare systems yearn for leadership that ensures that the process of service delivery in hospitals remains fair, satisfactory, and consistent. However, various diversity challenges in the healthcare sector are linked to poor leadership and management strategies.
Such hurdles include discrimination, poor leadership, improper communication skills, culture disapproval, staff conflicts, inadequate service delivery, low motivation, and implementation of unsuitable business strategies among others. The managers of healthcare institutions should champion the embracement of diversity with a view of alleviating cases of inequality in such facilities.
The realization of successful workplace diversity requires effective human resource management and leadership. This situation ensures that the workforce is motivated to improve performance at both the individual and organizational levels.
Other diversity issues that should be considered in the administration of healthcare include the understanding and appreciation of different cultures that exist amongst the employees and patients. On the other hand, poor leadership and human resource management can result in decreased performance due to reduced collaboration amongst individuals and teams.
As a result, healthcare institutions require sound leadership and human resource management strategies to address diversity issues that can bring about discrimination, and workplace conflicts among others.
The implementation of diversity in an organization brings about a plethora of benefits that include the improved provision of services, innovation, and nurturing of talents among others. Healthcare departments have various criteria for staffing nurses. This situation has resulted in an array of personalities that are depicted amongst different employees.
Such personalities and traits are seen as forms of diversity that pose challenges to leadership and human resource management. Diversity in the healthcare system is based on aspects such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, religion, education, physical abilities, cultural differences, critical thinking skills, and teambuilding among others.
Others view diversity in terms of language, job description, communication, and motivational skills among others. In fact, this aspect is also seen as an element that holds and encompasses the opinions of employees on themselves and colleagues in the workplace. These viewpoints have significant effects on the performance of nurses in the clinical setting.
Although there is adequate information on leadership and human resource management, there is a need to address the existing diversity dilemmas in healthcare departments with a view of as formulating feasible solutions. This term paper explores diversity in the workplace as it relates to leadership and human resource management within the department of health.
Discussion of Possible Solutions to Workplace Diversity
The increase in employee diversity in the healthcare setup has resulted in various opportunities and challenges. For instance, most healthcare departments have successfully embraced diversity in an attempt to improve performance and the quality of service delivery.
This strategy has also been meant for practices such as employee retention, motivation, and career promotion. This situation has significantly increased their commitment to work and focus on the healthcare goals. According to Kochan et al. (2003), improved leadership and management of organizations fortify the attainment of satisfaction amongst individuals and teams in the workplace.
Various researchers have proposed solutions to issues of workplace diversity concerning leadership and human resource management such as employee contentment, conflict resolution, and cultural appreciation among others.
Ensuring Employee Satisfaction
Various factors determine the satisfaction of nurses and other healthcare professionals in the clinical setting. Contentment can be either positive or negative depending on how the employees think about the job environment, colleagues, and nature of work among other factors. The perceptions of the employees on their tasks have significant effects on the accomplishment of the healthcare goals.
Kaliski (2007) described job satisfaction as an employee’s sense of the achievement of various performance tasks. Employee contentment is directly related to productivity and personal wellbeing. It entails work enjoyment and rewards of one’s efforts. Satisfied employees remain enthusiastic about their work; hence, they realize self-fulfillment (Kaliski, 2007).
A research conducted by McKay, Avery, and Morris (2008) indicated that the perceptions of the employees on diversity ensured their satisfaction in the workplace. These employees are positively influenced by the leadership and human resource management approaches that led to the development of their skills, knowledge, and career fulfillment (McKay et al., 2008).
They further indicated that diversity plays a significant role in the determination of the perceptions and attitudes of the employees towards leadership and management in the hospital setup. It was concluded that the management and leadership styles adopted promoted staff satisfaction. This situation led to the improved provision of services.
Employees who have positive perceptions of leadership and human resource management with respect to workplace diversity tend to be more motivated; hence, they develop a tendency of embracing teamwork to deliver high-quality services (Robbins, Judge, Millett, & Boyle, 2013).
When motivation is derived from money rather than the embracement of positive values such the promotion of talent, the resulting job productivity does not improve the satisfaction of the employees. A research conducted by Robbins et al. (2013) identified that most employees got satisfied from pecuniary benefits such as promotion promises and good salaries among others.
Diversity, as viewed by employees in the hospital setups, can influence their relationship with the management. A negative attitude towards diversity with respect to aspects such as race, gender, and sex among others can result in conflict in the workplace. This situation can also bring about a feeling of discrimination among the employees, especially those who hold lower positions in the healthcare organization.
Such perceptions can result in the dissatisfaction that leads to reduced productivity eventually (Robbins et al., 2013). The maintenance of a satisfied workforce underpins the development of positive values such as motivation, understanding of diversity, and fulfillment of goals at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Such understanding helps in solving issues related to discrimination.
Poor understanding and the implementation of inappropriate leadership approaches can affect the key areas of human resource management such as recruitment, organizational culture, and employer-employee relationships among others adversely. For instance, discrimination can arise from situations where the women and minority groups are disadvantaged.
This situation can cause dissatisfaction with work thereby leading to reduced performance. Managing employees with different perceptions on different diversity perspectives of hospital setups can be hectic. However, the leaders must embark on various training programs to promote a mutual understanding of diversity amongst the employees (Robbins et al., 2013).
Solving Problem of Conflict and Cultural Misunderstanding among Employees
Motivation is a factor that has been proved efficient in addressing conflicts or other issues that arise from the management of employees. Individual enthusiasm is an aspect that enhances morale and liveliness in hospitals that embrace diversity.
Conflict is always solved through leadership and management practices that ensure that the employees understand one another. It is also evident that proper motivation leads to improved contentment amongst the employees (Holton, 2001). Enhancing inspiration through motivation among individuals of different cultural backgrounds who work in groups helps in solving problems of cultural misunderstanding that lead to conflict and negative perceptions of the cultures of others (Holton, 2001).
A research conducted by Cifuentes and Murphy (2000) revealed that cultural misinterpretation, confidentiality, dissatisfaction, and irrelevancy among others led to the misconstruction of diversity. The embracement of such factors through the implementation of appropriate leadership and management strategies were seen to improve the engagement of the employees in teamwork thereby promoting positive perception of the differences amongst cultures that exist in the healthcare setups (Cifuentes & Murphy, 2000).
The greatest advantage of solving conflicts and misunderstandings among employees is the creation of more opportunities for more employees from diverse backgrounds. This state of affairs results in the accumulation of diverse talents, work experiences, and approaches to work. These aspects are paramount to the improvement of the organization’s competitive advantage.
However, a major disadvantage of embracing this phenomenon in organizations is seen where the diverse employees suit in job positions better as compared to their local counterparts. This situation leads to the seizure of the available chances of promotion thereby lessening the probability of promoting the talents of the local workforce (Cifuentes & Murphy, 2000).
Good leadership is another aspect that has underpinned diversity inclusion in hospitals. According to Vecchio (2002), the leadership approach embraced in a healthcare organization guides the definition of clear goals and roles in an attempt to realize the quality outcome.
McCarty Kilian, Hukai, and Elizabeth McCarty (2005) revealed that leadership helped in the efficient management of employees in organizations where diversity inclusion was highly regarded. Diversity does not necessarily depend on one leader due to its interwoven nature in the healthcare systems. Sound leadership is paramount to the performance of daily services in the healthcare settings.
It is clear from the sentiments that a need to empower people of different origins is needed to embrace issues that arise from diversity successfully (Vecchio, 2002). Leaders who put the empowerment of diverse employees into practice understand the importance of involving employees in the change process clearly in the healthcare system.
Most healthcare facilities have been competitive at not only the regional but also the global level due to the effective utilization of various talents of employees with varied diversities. Due to the good leadership approaches that support empowerment, most of the employees in the healthcare departments become satisfied with the assigned tasks since they meet the needs of the patients from diverse backgrounds (Vecchio, 2002).
An environment that envisions mutual trust, openness, teamwork, innovation, integrity, and encouragement of value diversity among others inspires these employees. Conducting diversity empowerment amongst the nurse leaders stimulates their eagerness to achieve higher clinical goals at both the individual and institutional levels.
Human resource management also promotes the process of institutionalization of diversity whereby the potential nurses assume roles that encourage them to address the health needs of diverse patients and employees (Vecchio, 2002). This situation ensures that they become the proponents of diversity in the healthcare department.
Leadership in the healthcare departments must ensure commitment to diversity amongst the workforce at the top, middle, and lower levels of management. This state of affairs leads to the embracement of a technique where nurses support the implementation of policies that govern diversity inclusion in the healthcare organization (Vecchio, 2002).
An advantage of good leadership in solving issues of diversity is that the leaders target the key team players who guide other members towards the success of the organization. The hiring of diverse employees with a broad knowledge base about different cultural values and talents provides the nurses with adequate information that helps them in the accomplishment of various clinical goals.
However, this practice is disadvantageous to the organization where the leaders hire incompetent employees who fail to commit themselves to the implementation of diversity policies (Vecchio, 2002).
Creation of Plans that are linked to Diversity
One of the core functions of human resource managers is to establish plans that are in tandem with the diversity that exists in a given healthcare setup. Strategic planning that is geared towards the creation of measurable means of diversity supports the direction, goals, and objectives of healthcare department (Holvino, Ferdman, & Merrill-Sands, 2004).
The healthcare sector has laid out long-range planning strategies for the diversity that embraces an integral part of the strategic planning. The leaders of the healthcare systems have variously aligned the implementation of diversity with the strategic plans to alleviate issues that arise from cultural misunderstanding.
The management of diversity in the healthcare setting hinges on various values such as constant development, reliability, self-respect, and authority among others. The leaders further set the expectations that the employees with diverse techniques build and manage (Holvino et al., 2004). The creation of plans linked to diversity such as hiring outside firms to train the healthcare staff in diversity results in the resolution of conflicts. Such advantages come at a cost; hence, the management must devote more time and money to undertake such activities (Holvino et al., 2004).
Every entity including the healthcare system is bound to experience workplace conflict due to the misconstruction of diversity. In most cases, conflicts in the workplace are based on the perceptions of differences based on cultural differences, personality and work style among others (Holvino et al., 2004). These conflicts can occur either amongst the employees or between the management and workforce.
A feasible solution to such issues is paramount to the maintenance of successful working relations among the nurses to promote the quality of service delivery, productivity, and employee satisfaction (Holvino et al., 2004). Creating the awareness of diversity and training of employees to embrace it in the workplace successfully helps in the prevention of the ever-emanating conflicts in the healthcare institutions.
Other issues that pertain to civil rights, laws, and the effects of noncompliance should be elaborated to the employees during both the orientation and promotional stages (Holvino et al., 2004). A significant advantage gained from this practice is that conflict resolution promotes the development and implementation of new ideas as employees get an opportunity to suggest better operational strategies with a view of boosting the delivery of healthcare services.
However, a disadvantage is seen in leadership and management that have strict and fixed routine operations that hinder the development of innovative and creative employees (Holvino et al., 2004).
Alternative Solutions to Healthcare Diversity Problems
Various strategies that can be used to solve the problems of diversity in healthcare department are discussed below.
Human Performance Enhancement (HPE)Strategy (Use of the Inclusion Technique)
The promotion of work diversity serves as a solution to the issues aforementioned since it minimizes the gap that exists between leadership and human resource management in healthcare departments (Holvino et al., 2004). Embracing diversity in the healthcare setup boosts the performance of the healthcare system.
The Inclusion technique has been embraced because the employees are increasingly divided along various diversity lines; hence, discrimination and conflicts have been noted as indicated in the executive summary (Holvino et al., 2004).
The strategy of inclusion promotes the interaction amongst the leaders, management, and employees. It ensures the alignment of their duties with the policies, programs, and structures of the healthcare organization. This situation further improves the relationship amongst the healthcare institution, patients, and other stakeholder groups.
Besides, the embracement of the inclusion strategy promotes the performance of nurses thereby boosting the overall accomplishment of the healthcare goals (Holvino et al., 2004). Other factors that are addressed in the inclusion strategy include the universal commitment to the implementation of diversity, equal access to opportunities, accommodation of developmental abilities, and adherence to the 360-degree communication approach to sharing information.
It also ensures the provision of chances for continuous learning, participation, proper alignment of the organization’s culture, and process among others (Holvino et al., 2004). The inclusion strategy majorly exhibits difficulty in the implementation stage owing to the cost of technology, especially in situations where virtual teams are involved.
Multiple communication technologies such as email, videoconferencing, and instant messaging can prevent the healthcare department from implementing the diversity policies. Another disadvantage includes the lack of trust and collaboration due to the existence of cultural differences.
Lastly, social isolation amongst various virtual teams who are involved in diversity management can hinder the development and execution of the inclusion strategy as some employees feel excluded from the rest of the groups (Holvino et al., 2004).
The role of the human resource management in the inclusion strategy is summarized in the table below.
|Type of Role||Specific Role||Example of activity to be done|
Balanced Workforce (BWF) and Quality Service Delivery Strategy
The Balanced Workforce Strategy (BWF) is an all-encompassing technique that guides the departments in wide-ranging nursing situations. The strategy ensures the effective tracking of the nurse population with a view of setting a long-term goal that must be accomplished annually (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
The leaders and managers must be accountable for upward morbidity in the healthcare department. The balanced workforce protects the employees from lopsided treatment in cases that involve layoffs. The BWF can be used in conjunction with the six strategic plans that include baseline development, increment, quality of service, productivity gain, and continuous improvement of the healthcare department through staff development (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
These techniques are based on the frequent building of skills through training, improving the hospital environment, offering competitive services, and performance-based compensations to ensure that the needs of the diverse workforce are met (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
The mission of diversity inclusion is to ensure that the goals of the nurses are met with a view of creating an atmosphere that accommodates wide-ranging cultural backgrounds, styles, and functions in addition to ensuring that the long-term goals of the healthcare department are achieved. A major disadvantage is that this BWF strategy is time-consuming. This situation can derail the process of service delivery in the healthcare system (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
Measuring the Progress Results
The measurement of the progress is a strategy that entails the setting of goals for all efforts towards diversity implementation in the healthcare departments. Various activities involved in the measurement of the progress results include the development of the existing 360-degree communication system to create and reinforce the commitment to diversity amongst the employees (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
This strategy should be accomplished by emphasizing the importance of diversity in the delivery of superior healthcare services. It also entails the establishment of various action plans at the departmental levels to ensure that the workforce understand the essence of embracing diversity in the healthcare system.
According to Ommaya and Hahm (2006), the measuring of the progress results also encompasses the development of an assessment criteria that covers the healthcare entity to ensure that diversity is strictly monitored across the departments (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
Training should be conducted at both the individual and team levels to sensitize the employees to the importance of embracing diversity. If the above components are implemented, the diversity progress can be noted through the measurement of the results and progress of every component mentioned above concerning diversity (Ommaya & Hahm, 2006).
After the discussion of various strategies to solve the problems of diversity in relation to leadership and human resource management in the hospital setup, the inclusion strategy is recommended for use. The strategy has various rationales and advantages that underpin the accomplishment of healthcare goals.
At the outset, its implementation in the healthcare department is beneficial in many ways if the measures are conducted effectively. Most healthcare departments that have embraced the inclusion approach to enhance their performance have registered positive impacts on the accomplishment of both short and long-term goals.
It ensures the effective implementation of communication and feedback channels, improved leadership, low turnover rates, efficient ways of resolving conflicts, and increased fairness in the allocation of resources (Holvino et al., 2004).
Plan and Timeline for Implementation
Various activities on diversity in the healthcare departments will include both employee survey and implantation of Diversity Practices Assessment Tools based on the Juan Johnson’s framework. The framework follows the seven C’s (conciseness, completeness, clarity, concreteness, consideration, courtesy, and correctness) of effective diversity management.
The framework elaborates that diversity starts with a proper alignment with the organization’s purpose (Holvino et al., 2004). The framework then provides an elaboration of the continuum of its compliance, composition, cognizance, competence, and culture in the healthcare system that supports diverse and inclusive workplace techniques.
The framework further takes into account the roles of communication in ensuring the facilitation and sustenance of diversity and inclusion management. The examination will also entail the identification of various practices and programs that exist in the healthcare departments. Other activities will include the provision of demographic information on the healthcare setting, the action plan to be attained, and rating the findings of the previous strategies conducted on diversity (Holvino et al., 2004).
The workforce in the survey will be divided into two distinct categories namely the committee and staff. At the outset, the management will form a committee that will hold weekly meetings during the initiative program that will be conducted in three months.
The committee will prepare questionnaires that will include demographic information such as race, gender, and ethnicity among others. They will be also included to perform the initiative training in diversity to promote the process besides speed up various follow-ups (Holvino et al., 2004). This process will be conducted using surveys during the training period.
Other activities that the committee will conduct include the development of the framework encompassing the definition of diversity, policies, and vision statement. They will also ensure that the best practices on diversity conducted by other organizations are benchmarked with a view of applying them to healthcare setup where applicable (Holvino et al., 2004).
The committee will also develop a plan of action to ensure the incorporation of diversity in leadership and human resource management. It will further conduct an audit of culture, training plans, measuring effectiveness, and accountability techniques. Other activities will include the reward and recognition systems. Lastly, it will entail the implementation of the projected strategy in the healthcare system (Holvino et al., 2004).
The second group will be the staff. The staff will engage in conducting the survey and/or outreach initiatives. The employees will elect their leader who will handle the coordination of various activities during the period. After the training, the assessment survey will be completed.
The management board will review the findings with a view of sharing the relevant information with the rest of the staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders that are beneficial to the healthcare department. The assessment of diversity will also take into consideration both quantitative and qualitative standards.
The quantitative measures will include demographic data, pay equity, promotions, cost of recruiting, retention, and training costs among others. On the other hand, the qualitative measures will entail interviews, self-assessments, work environment, morale, diversity goals, training, performance data, customer satisfaction, and team efficiency among others.
To embrace the inclusion strategy effectively, a thorough training program for the healthcare department should be conducted to promote the performance strategy initiatives such as recruitment, retention, partnership, proper communication, staffing, and infrastructure development.
Such strategy initiatives will be elaborated to the employees during the three-month program on Human Performance Enhancement (HPE) strategy as indicated in the table below.
|Proper communication|| |
(Holvino et al., 2004).
Proposed Evaluation of Results
After the training, a self-assessment questionnaire will be provided to indicate the objectives and achievements based on a three-point Likert scale with ascending numbers. “1” will represent “Disagree”, “2” “Agree”, and “3” “Strongly Agree”.
The results obtained from the assessment will guide the analysis of information to determine the status of workplace diversity in the healthcare department. Aspects such as the lack enthusiasm, acceptance of poor performance status quo, poor judgment of processes, rejection of new ideas, and inappropriate interpersonal communication skills will be assessed.
The table below indicates how the management and employees will assess themselves with respect to their understanding of the inclusion strategy. The results will be evaluated with a view of initiating a follow-up at the departmental levels to ensure that the desired objectives are achieved
|Strategy Objectives||Recommended Intervention||Rating (1,2,3)||Start Date (1stJuly 2015)||Completion Date (1stOctober 2015)|
|Proper communication|| |
Evaluation and Assessment Summary as per the Implantation of Diversity Practices Assessment Tools
This assessment summary provides insight into the practices embraced in the healthcare setup concerning diversity in relation to leadership and human resource management. If the information below exists, then it can be concluded that both leaders and human resource managers in the healthcare departments practice diversity management.
|Compliance|| ||Enhanced engagement through communication of the diversity policies, training of employees|
|Composition|| ||The hiring technique and interview process will include techniques that make candidates feel free and more welcome|
|Competence|| || |
|Culture||Surveys on employees are constantly conducted, teamwork is part of the organization’s culture||Diverse specific survey requires the leaders to follow up various actions plans on the modification of feedbacks consistently|
|Communication|| || |
The measured diversity leads to the provision of feedback that gives more information on whether the diversity exists in the healthcare departments. Such feedbacks are summarized in the table below. The nurses and managers must indicate a tick on the feedback mechanism according to their views on its effectiveness.
|Healthcare department assessment and cultural auditing|
|Survey on employees|
|Feedback and suggestion systems|
|Training and evaluation|
|Dialog between management and employees|
|Embracing proper communication|
|Required recruitment techniques and retention|
|Embracing partnership and collaboration of other stakeholders or agencies|
|Practicing of equity and fair distribution of benefits|
The current healthcare departments are experiencing various diversity needs due to the changes in technology and globalization. As a result, most healthcare institutions are striving to ensure that positive working conditions are provided. There is an increased need to value the differences that exist among nurses.
This situation has been proven to promote a value-added attitude towards the provision of services in healthcare settings in tandem with the stipulated objectives and goals. Due to the embracement of diversity in leadership and management, the healthcare system ensures that the employees have equal access to opportunities.
Various strategies are applied in the healthcare sector to solve problems such as workplace conflicts, discrimination, poor performance, and low morale since they are associated with poor diversity management. Effective management of workplace diversity, especially in the healthcare department, has been deemed fruitful as it ensures the achievement of long-term objectives and goals besides setting an effective competition gap in the global scenario.
Some strategies have been elaborated extensively to ensure that the problems of diversity are solved. Such strategies include the use of inclusion techniques, good leadership, Balanced Workforce Framework (BWF), quality service delivery, and measuring of results. In this essay, it has been recommended that a measurable strategy of diversity such as the inclusion technique should be implemented in the hospital setup.
The strategy promotes the overall performance of the organization by supporting the effective implementation of the communication and feedback channels, improved leadership, low turnover rates, effective ways of resolving conflicts, and improves allocation of clinical resources. The use of this technique is also realized to include employees from an array of diversity forms such as gender, race, age, skills, and personality among others.
This situation has significantly benefited various healthcare facilities. It promotes the delivery of quality services and innovation among other advantages.
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