Advantages and Limitations of having a diverse workforce

05/10/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Workforce diversity represents both a challenge and an opportunity for business. A growing number of progressive organisations are realizing the need for valuing diversity in the workforce, so as to ensure strategic utilisation of human resources for the accomplishment of strategic goals.


(i) An organisation or a company with well-managed diversity will solve the conflicts resulting from opposing viewpoints, into a more complete and inventive solutions.

(ii) An organisation that promotes equal employment opportunity for diverse groups will generally do better at attracting and retaining talent from all backgrounds, thereby increasing a pool of skilled employees. The differences among people lie a wide variety of talents and perspectives. The broader the range of talents and sweep of perspectives among the employees, the better would be the opportunity for the business to succeed.

(iii) Business with workforce from varied backgrounds can more effectively serve the customers, who are themselves diverse. Such employees can interact with local customers in an effective manner and pay careful attention to their customers’ sensitivities and expectations,

(iv) Companies with diverse workforce are able to present their product and services in a better way.

(v) Companies with effective diversity programs can avoid damage to their corporate reputation or costly lawsuits from charges of discrimination or cultural insensitivity.

(vi) The global market place of today demands a workforce with language skills, cultural sensitivity and awareness of national and other differences across the market in order to be successful. For example, the multinationals operate in different countries, where the cultural practices vary radically. Workforce which can fit in the cultural understanding of the country where the multinational is operating is a must.


(i) Cultural Conflicts: Cultural differences may make an employee feel like an outsider. The other cultural groups may not accept him as a member of their groups. Such things affect the performance of the organisation adversely.

(ii) Problematic Gender Relations: Women often encounter many problems at the workplace. The difference in gender is used as a tool to exploit them and, at times, it leads to sexual harassment.

(iii) Discriminatory Treatment: Discriminatory treatment of diverse workforce by the top officials is very common.

For example, in many companies in the U.S.A., whites are generally given a preference over black in the matters of powers, facilities and promotions; in Japanese companies, Indian are not treated at par with the Japanese even if they hold a similar job profile; many companies don’t give similar wages to women employees as they give to men for the same work. Such discriminatory practices lower down the morale of the employees.

(iv) Religion/Racial differences are also a big reason of quarrels over petty issues, which, if not resolved in time, assume a bitter feud.

(v) Resistance to Change: Because of diversity, some groups of workers might resist change proposed by the management.

(vi) Where employees are parochial, there is a danger that they may form close and strong groups having same Carte, community or religion.

(vii) There is always Resistance to Change by employees. When there is diverse workforce, then the resistance becomes fierce, at times.

Workforce Diversity in India

The human resource managers in Indian organisations have to respond to a wide range of diversity issues due to a diverse workforce of varying socio-economic, ethnic and linguistic composition.

Various categories of employees in the Indian organisations include the following:

  1. Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs):

The candidates belonging to scheduled castes and tribes determined by a notification of the Central Government are given preferences to the extent of 15 percent and 7.5 percent respectively in case of jobs in the government departments and public sector enterprises. Recently, some political parties have called for reservation of jobs in the private sector also for the scheduled castes and tribes.

  1. Other Backward Castes (OBCs):

The Central Government has made provisions for reserving jobs upto 27.5% in the government departments and public sector undertakings for those who belong to other backward classes. Though there is no such compulsion in case of private enterprises, they already have employees belonging to the OBCs.

  1. Disabled or Physically Handicapped Persons:

Employees whose work assignments are limited by their physical abilities have in the past been referred to an “handicapped” or ‘disabled”. Today, the more politically correct term is ‘physically challenged’ for those individuals who have hearing, speech, visual, orthopaedic, or other health impairments.

The Central Government has provided for reservation of jobs in Group C and Group D posts for the blind, deaf and orthopedically handicapped persons. Socially responsible organisations in the private sector also offer employment to the physically challenged persons.

  1. Ex-Defence Personnel:

Ex-defence personnel or ex-servicemen who are trained and disciplined may also be offered jobs in the organisations. This would increase workforce diversity is the organisation.

  1. Displaced Persons:

The people who are displaced because of acquisition of land for public purpose or because of other causes like flood, militancy, etc. may be preferred for jobs in public enterprises on humanitarian grounds.

  1. Female Employees:

The ratio of women workers at the place of work is on the rise. This has been associated with the problems of discrimination and sexual harassment. The organisations need to take steps to deal with such problems