Companies today are not only hiring different people than they are accustomed to hiring because of changing demographics, they are competing for the best candidates from a shrinking labour pool. In the 1990s, when unemployment rates shrunk to the lowest in 30 years, employees who did not feel welcome in one organization were able to find opportunities elsewhere.

Women and minorities in the workplace, workers for whom English is a second language, the GLBT* community, older workers, undereducated workers, and workers with disabilities all together have created these changes in the workplace and caused managers everywhere to reconsider how they manage their businesses and how they relate to the employees that work with them. Of particular interest for over two decades now, has been about gaining an awareness of “diversity issues” and consequently developing a useful diversity program.

Regardless of your gender, race, age, educational background, sexual orientation, physical orientation, physical abilities or qualities, social and/or economic status, religion and virtually any other characteristics that makes a person unique, chances are management in most businesses are dealing successfully with diversity by finding ways to get groups of people with different backgrounds and values to work harmoniously together and share their different perspectives in a way that further the goals of the organization.

While attempting to develop a sound diversity program, the best of intentions by managers in regards to recognizing differences can be misconstrued by some as perpetuating biases or stereotypes. Managers and employees must all be very careful, even when they are promoting diversity, not to offend others. Oh, and by the way, there is one more point: -how diverse should an organization be? The answer is, not surprising: “as diverse as its customers are…”

Améry

P.s.: *Gay; Lesbian; Bisexual; Transgender