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Global tendencies are leading businesses towards globalization of supply chains and diversification of their employees, seeking out new talent and innovation. This leads to the creation of multicultural teams that must collaborate on given projects. In turn, companies must adapt their HRM diversity practices to promote inclusivity. Several practices ranging from recruitment to performance management must change by ethical and legal considerations. Communication is key to establishing change and ensuring a smooth transition.
Globalization is a rapid and influential economic tendency that has a profound impact on the workplace. It is leading to changes in business practices and employee relations which requires organizational restructuring. Companies that adapt to this trend, becoming more inclusive and diverse, are more likely to emerge as successful. This report will examine the potential changes in the global workforce in the next years and how companies can prepare for them.
Changes in the Workplace
Ease of global transportation and telecommunications means that the global economy overall and numerous supply chains have become spread out across continents and are interdependent for functioning and creation of the final product. Globalization and technological development are going to lead to a shift in workplace demographics towards diversification. The organizational function will evolve with diversification.
As a business grows, it expands globally, reaping the benefits of cheaper raw materials and tax breaks in other parts of the world. However, it is ineffective and challenging to send large groups of employees abroad, so they take advantage of the local workforce. Companies have affiliates and teams working globally to promote their products and business relationships, creating multiethnic international divisions. This allows to seek out talent and offer more competitive wages.
Diversification is inherently beneficial since it helps to increase productivity, efficiency, and contributes to a positive work environment. Diversity programs in companies significantly contribute to employee motivation, innovation of ideas, and consumer satisfaction. A diverse workforce can be leveraged for marketing purposes as well, appealing to consumers and offering insights on advertising to various groups. Diversification also leads to increased standards, both in domestic companies changing to be more inclusive and in foreign affiliates which must adopt Western practices and avoid unethical business dealings.
The primary challenge will include a tremendous cultural shift that will be required within an organization. This could be achieved through heavy investment in training and changed management practices. Ethnic and cultural differences could arise on a fundamental level, due to prejudices or beliefs that will hinder productivity and create workplace conflicts. Challenges in communication may be created due to language barriers and accents. The benefits and challenges of diversification may differ depending on the region and the mix of inclusion practices offered by a company (Mor Barak, 2016).
In the context of a globalized company and diverse workforce, human resource management practices must change as well to promote diversity, ensure organizational effectiveness, and maintain a culturally tolerant environment. Staffing will have to shift towards a color-blind and gender-neutral approach, avoiding biases that may be targeted, geographically-based candidates. To increase employee retention, strategies must be employed to enhance inclusivity practices, organizational tolerance, and cultural training which will help to mitigate any cultural differences and conflicts among employees while promoting collaboration. Through this, the workplace culture will shift, eliminating barriers and harassment while breaking the glass ceiling for traditional minorities in business (Downey, van der Werff, Thomas, & Plaut, 2014).
Communication in a diverse workplace will employ strategies of tolerance and understanding of multicultural perceptions in business practice and communication. Business communication should be adopted in several formats to ensure all types of employees feel that they are being notified of important information. Performance management must utilize a philosophy that deviates from highly susceptible biases such as “potential” that is unconsciously associated with race. All performance tools should be calibrated across gender and ethnicities. Meanwhile, rewards should be modified towards the acceptance and promotion of diversity.
For example, bonuses and sponsorship programs should be aimed at employees who exemplify innovative thinking styles or foster collaboration within an organization, both of which contribute to the inclusivity of multicultural perspectives. Finally, technology can be used to improve diversity levels by offering increased transparency into an organization and reducing discrimination. One example is hiring and staffing technology which allows using of data tracking to make necessary changes in practices such as recruitment marketing or manager diversity awareness (Bateman, 2015).
A diverse workforce requires an inherently different approach to HRM and leadership, as human resources become vital in a company’s commitment to change of values and inclusivity. Some common practices, however, will require modifications to ensure a more inclusive workplace. For example, selective hiring practices such as the use of quotas are not a guarantee of health diversification as they often affect employee distribution unfairly. The hiring process should be adapted to scale with diversity by considering candidates on merit and talents as well as team collaborative compositions, avoiding pitfalls of quotas.
Furthermore, while cultural and inclusivity training is important, many HR departments regard it as a periodic occurrence that is necessary due to legal reasons or when a conflict occurs. However, inclusion training should be ongoing, with various practices to influence behavior change through micro-behaviors. Weekly activities or announcements should be introduced into the environment to promote healthy conversations and touch-sensitive topics, thus incurring a real change in practice (Florentine, 2019).
Legal and Ethical Implications
Diversity issues encompass a range of legal and ethical implications. Ethical behavior in the workplace will have to improve with ethical policies within a company focused on inclusion and collaboration. The workplace culture will have to become accepting of differing opinions. Meanwhile, any exemplifications of harassment or discrimination will be regarded as unethical behavior which will have consequences as well as cause a strain within an organization.
The various changes in hiring practices, staffing, and rewarding must abide by legal regulations from the government. HR must communicate policies to employees, and, in turn, they are accountable. It is vital to avoid legal ramifications by abiding by labor laws on non-discrimination, fair pay, gender gaps, affirmative action, and equal opportunity among others (OpenStax College, 2018).
Preparation for Change
New policies and guidelines have to be introduced through competent management to operate effectively in these shifting conditions and workplace realities. Preparation for change should be proactive by introducing training before shifting hiring practices to avoid future conflicts. Furthermore, preparation must start with leadership, with a diverse team of managers having a profound understanding of the issue.
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Communication is vital in the preparation as dialogue on the issue should be consistent throughout the year, encouraging questions and positive decision-making. Strategies on communication should combine informational internal memos with staff meetings to encourage participation and openness. It may viable to issue a public press release to increase accountability and transparency. The company should offer appropriate tools such as educational classes and diversity training (Forbes Coaches Council, 2018).
Diversity in the workplace is an imminent result of the intense globalization of the economy and modern business practices. A diverse labor force is inherently healthy and beneficial for the productivity and culture of a company. However, there are potential challenges such as cultural conflicts. HRM must consider these aspects and take concrete steps in modifying its practices and preparing companies for increased diversity going forward.
Bateman, K. (2015). What role does technology play in building a diverse workforce? ComputerWeekly. Web.
Downey, S. N., van der Werff, L., Thomas, K. M., & Plaut, V.C. (2014). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(1), 35-44. Web.
Florentine, S. (2019). Diversity and inclusion: 8 best practices for changing your culture. CIO. Web.
Forbes Coaches Council. (2018). 13 effective ways to educate employees on diversity. Forbes. Web.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2016). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications
OpenStax College. (2018). Business ethics. Houston, TX: OpenStax College Business Ethics. Web.