By will be shaping messages and keeping diversity

By will be shaping messages and keeping diversity

By the year 2050, nonwhites will represent close to half ofthe U.S. population, according to the U.

S. Census Bureauprojections. By 2005, the ethnic minority share of the workforce isexpected to grow to 28 percent, up from 18 percent in1980 and 22 percent in 1990. Although the AfricanAmerican population is now the largest minority group, theHispanic and Asian populations are growing much faster. In 1994, the African American population was estimated tobe 33 million, or 12.7 percent of the total population, upfrom 11.

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7 percent in 1980. By 2025, African Americansare expected to represent 14 percent of the total. The Hispanic population is 10 percent of the total U.S.population in 1994, it is projected to be 17 percent by2025. The Asian population was 3.4 percent of the totalU.

S. population in 1994, it is expected to more than doubleby 2025. With all of that stated, the above statistics should erase anydoubt that workforce diversity is a critical business issuewith serious, bottom line consequences, the Texaco lawsuithas erased those doubts forever. But a well publicizedracial discrimination lawsuit is just one example of how anorganization can be hurt if it is not actively working tomanage and leverage workforce diversity.

Other organizational costs could include depressedemployee morale and loyalty, increased turnover and poorproductivity. On the other hand, if managed well, a diverseworkforce can boost productivity and creativity, increasemarket share and make the organization more responsiveto diverse markets. As a result of these demographic changes as stated above,the ability of us as future business leaders to attract, recruit,and develop a qualified workforce from diversepopulations will become critical for business survival. As managers, especially in todays fast paced businessenvironment we have little time to assess the impact ofdiversity efforts.

Organizations are under pressure toimprove the product and services they provide tocustomers, with greater accountability for achieving results,for reduced cycle time, and at a lower cost. So, asmanagers how do we manage diversity?I believe, that understanding and achieving diversity is thekey to understanding the complex demands society and themarketplace place on businesses today. I also believe,when organizations leverage the contributions of their totalworkforce, they not only survive they succeed. So, how dowe get there?Experience has shown, programs that work have takentime to develop and communicate the vision have the mostsuccess. I personally, as a manager and future businessleader will be shaping messages and keeping diversity atthe forefront of the minds of my peers and rank and fileemployees. I will also spend time learning about workforcediversity and how it affects bottom line success, this meanstying diversity into the bottom line corporate strategicissues. For diversity to succeed it must be seen as inseperablefrom stategic issues.

I think one also needs to supportefforts of our CEO to lead by example and educate allemployees on the myths and realities of diversity. Topmanagement commitment to diversity is the most criticalsuccess factor. Lets face it diversity is a long termcommitment. Make diversity an opportunity instead of athreat. We should be shaping messages and keeping diversity atthe forefront of the minds of executives, middle managersand rank and file employees. I believe in the long run thiswill make our organizations stronger, healthier and betterable to take on the challenges of the next century.


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