Diversity is an issue that has huge implications on the workplace and employee behaviour. It may occur due to nationality or cultural aspects. The pressure on employees to strike a correct balance so that it doesn’t affect relations of employees with their employees make it imperative for smooth operations of business. The present study is developed to demonstrate the issue of gender diversity that is present in the business of an online retailer for Vodafone UK. The development and implementation of an effective diversity policy is the prime focus so that the issue of gender diversity of less female employees in the workplace can be eradicated. Since the business in focus does not have any diversity policy, it is important to establish certain policies for maintaining equality in the workplace. The study presents a detailed look into the necessary steps needed to develop and implement a diversity policy in an organisation.
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Developing diversity policy
According to Bradley (2015), developing a diversity policy requires the utmost precision in devising rules and regulations that do not conflict with the treatment given to employees. In the present case study, it can be noted that the online retailer for Vodafone UK has a warehouse that consists of 10 employees. The employees are of different nationality, 5 Australians and 5 Asians to be precise. Among which, the workforce comprises of 8 males and 2 females. The gender inequality in the workplace is a primary concern that needs to be addressed urgently. It can be noted that only 2 female employees comprise of the total workforce. Considering the fact that every workplace must maintain ethical standards and inequality, this factor is a cause of concern.
The diversity policy that needs to be devised should focus highly on having more female employees in the organisation. Various areas need to be regulated and reinforced so that equal opportunities can be given to female workers as well. The diversity policy that is proposed for the company should include:
- Policies for recruitment
- Employee inputs
- Harmonised management
Figure 1: Diversity policy to be implemented
(Source: Created by Author)
The diversity policy will include in-house training facilities for both men and women employees. Tasks will be based on equal terms and training will be provided accordingly. There will also be a diversity training session that will focus entirely on explaining the ill effects of discrimination or harassment. Strict rules will be decided for avoiding such issues while training. As per De Anca and Vega (2016), the major issue in a diverse working environment is the chances of discrimination on various levels. The training will highlight the extreme benefits of working together and helping each other to complete daily tasks. Sila et al. (2016) argued that the major experiences and differences of people in a group can bring out collective ideas. Since the company deals in order packaging for Vodafone UK, specific training regarding machinery, accounts, package assimilation, tracking and loading must be given to its employees irrespective of their gender.
The policy of recruitment will be kept free of any inequality. The staff will be given strict orders to interview all candidates as per merit and not based on gender. Special attention must be given by the Human resource department so that they do not select resumes based on nationality or gender, but on the work experiences and personality of the individual. The managers who are in charge of conducting the interview must keep away any bias towards applicants based on their gender. This feature will be the most prominent among all the rules and regulations of the diversity policy to be developed.
Thirdly, the factor of employee inputs will be encouraged. There will be no gender bias regarding feedback and input collection from employees. In fact, the development of the feature to gather necessary feedback can actually create a harmonious working environment. Huber (2015) argued that it is extremely vital that the organisation utilises the power of feedback to gain knowledge of the internal factors that are affecting a company. The constant feedback will help in understanding whether any discrimination is being made in the office or not. The sense of involvement that employees perceive after being asked for inputs, develops loyalty towards the organisation. This can develop a close bond between workers as well.
The last factor that should be present in the diversity policy includes the active participation of the management. The policy will include managerial posts for candidates on the basis of merit and not based on gender. As per Kirton and Greene (2015), the management of an organisation should take care of the sentiments of its employees by making non-biased decisions based on race or gender. This way the company can achieve a cohesive working unit and tasks can be completed quicker. Roth and Ritter (2015) argued that the management’s job is to ensure no friction or any groups are formed in the company. This can increase the chance of non-cooperation and harm the operations of the company. Since the warehouse task of order packaging is mostly manual in nature, the management will make sure that each employee is treated as an individual in order to abolish groupism.
Plan of implementation
The above policies helped in understanding the factors that will be essential in the online retail business. Since online purchases require a dynamic workforce that can quickly get the order numbers, assimilate the products, bundle them together and distribute quickly to customers, the problem of discrimination should be avoided. Diversity has become a vital issue in today’s business world and various examples of diversity exist at present. As per a research, 51% women comprise of the staff in Starbucks Coffee Co. in the USA (Bizjournals.com, 2016). This shows the level of their indifference towards gender inequality.
Keeping this factor in mind, it is important that decisive plans should be taken to implement the diversity policy in the warehouse of the company. Ashikali and Groeneveld (2015) argued that it is absolutely important to properly chalk out the implementation plans for any policy so that it is easier to delegate chores to employees and the work flow is smoother. Every policy will be implemented in phases and as per the sudden requirements by the company. The first plan of implementation should involve increasing knowledge of management about the diversity issues especially gender diversity issues in the company. Baixauli-Soler et al. (2015) suggested that if the management itself is unsure of the problems, how they can implement a proper plan of action. Thus, it becomes important that the managers in the warehouse are given a detailed explanation of the policy that is meant to be implemented and the current scenario of the business. This will allow the management to conduct recruitment, training and other features very instinctively and avoid any inequalities.
According to Byoun et al. (2016), recruitment is an extremely important phase for any company, the selection of correct candidates can give the company another individual that can help in attaining the collective goals. Perrault (2015) opined that the diversity policy is devised so that it can be used in the future as well. The plan for its implementation must include monitoring and recording of the data related to employee workforce. A consolidated database can be devised to record and analyse trends regarding recruitment, performance and the promotions of employees especially women. This can give the company solid records of the happenings and allow better recruitment procedures. Further improvements in recruitment can be made so that female employees feel encouraged to vie for the reputable post for which they applied.
The training policy that has been developed must incorporate active participation from employees and managers alike. On-the-job training and induction facilities will be encouraged by the managers so that they can supervise and allow the existing employees to teach the trade to the newly selected candidates. This is bound to improve interaction and proper communication will lead to better bonding and quick learning by the individuals. The managers will make sure that the existing employees do not employ discrimination among the new candidates based on gender bias. The employees will be properly trained to deal with orders so that packaging, recording and dispatching the orders is done quickly and efficiently.
Terjesen et al. (2015) suggested that communication is a major factor that can help in implementing the policy of diversity in the workplace. In order to ensure that proper feedback and inputs are gathered by the company, a trained professional must be hired so that they can identify employee needs and monitor the level of discrimination that is occurring based on gender in the company. As per Clauset et al. (2015), feedback and inputs from employees help in monitoring the satisfaction levels that they are experiencing within the company and fellow employees. Strict rules must be established so that managers or employees who fail to enact the policy can be disciplined and work efficiently. The employee’s sense of involvement will definitely speed up the work process and targets can be achieved quicker. The skills of managers and supervisors will definitely improve and smooth communication flow can be achieved, thus making transmission of ideas faster. Various changes in policies regarding work atmosphere, gender bias, harassment can also be made keeping in mind the response of the employees. A sense of positivity will help in improving the diversity of the company as a whole.
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Review of policies
The development and planning of the implementation for diversity policy gives a blueprint for the radical implementation of policies and regulations that will allow the company to operate with more accuracy and freedom. In this context it can be suggested that reviewing the policies before implementation may help in finding out certain loopholes that can affect the company after actual implementation. According to Cumming et al. (2015), policies are never guaranteed to be accurate since a section of doubt still remains, it is imperative to make a thorough review so that changes or additions can be quickly made.
If the current diversity policy is to be evaluated it can help in determining the extent in which the problem of gender diversity can be averted. Looking at the policy, it can be stated that it is specifically meant to improve the recruitment and skills of female employees in the company. The first policy to provide training and development of skills of employees is definitely worth improving the skills since in-house training will give them exposure of the work conditions and other technical aspects of the business. The input of diversity training will definitely help the business to make employees feel involved and work together as a group. Diverse opinion can be generated and the overall work structure can improve effectively. The issue of gender discrimination can also be controlled as the focus will be on the job. Donnelly (2015) opined that minor additions in the policies can generally improve the final outcome of the results that can be measured by employee involvement.
The second policy that facilitates recruitment facilities is a good step forward in order to eradicate the gender and racial inequality that employees face. Keeping in mind the current state of the business, it can be said that the poor level of female workers in the company suggests a male dominated atmosphere that needs to be changed. By introducing hiring and recruitment facilities and policies, emphasis can be given to hire female workers more often and select the best candidate based on their merit and experience. The fact that the Human resource department will be given strict rules regarding selecting efficient resumes makes the possibility of removing gender inequality even more. The policies to take strict action if they were found to partake in any activities related to discrimination, makes the company ethical in nature. The same criteria on managers and supervisors will prevent any such cases of inequality and give rise to the level of female employees in the company.
Another feature in the policy that is bound to be successful is the introduction of feedback and inputs of the employees. According to Homan et al. (2015), ability to state perceptions and opinions usually helps a company break the ice with its employees to enhance collaboration in the workplace. The inputs gained will only help the company to develop its management policies and erase any kind of discrimination that is unhealthy for the workplace. The inputs will also help employers understand the level of performance of the staff so that they can initiate training modules if they were found to be under-trained. It will allow positive inter-communication between employer and employee and with no gender inequality, the company can carry out its daily activities.
Lastly, the impact that better management can have on the promotion of gender diversity in the workplace makes the policy even more fruitful. According to Lindsey et al. (2015), management must adapt itself in accordance to the necessity of bringing balance in the work atmosphere. The policy adjudges that the management must ensure that all the managers and executive staff are properly given an update on the situation so that their actions do not collide with common interests of the employees. These factors will tremendously help the business to establish rules regarding the level of training an individual will require and help in maintaining records of their overall performance. Mousa and Alas (2016) argued that the required flow of information with the introduction of new and effective systems can allow the company to handle its staff efficiently and employees can work freely.
Implementation of the policy
After carefully polishing out all the necessary diversity policies, the need to fully implement the rules and regulations arises. The initial reviews suggest that these regulations can improve the hiring of female staff and initiate hiring on the basis of merit in future. Keeping in mind the mobile online retail business and the lack of female staff in the company warehouse, it is critical that they adopt some necessary protocols that can govern the diversity of the company.
The company should implement the policy of training very strictly and make the existing employees guide the new recruits. Since new machinery and software implementation will be made, the existing employees should help out the new employees to understand the surrounding and give them first-hand experience of the manner in which the work is conducted. The managers will supervise every aspect of the training process so they can help in explaining and guiding the new recruits to the various technical aspects of the job. Another aspect that will be implemented is the diversity training. The new female employees will be made to join the rest of the female staff and making them all sit together and conduct a training module explaining the need for diversification and to work against discrimination or harassment will make the new employees feel at ease and they can adapt quicker knowing that the company is against any gender bias.
Recruitment is another aspect that will be taken seriously in the company. Before hiring any candidates, the Human Resource management will deliver the selected resumes to the various departmental managers so that they can be shortlisted for the interview. It will be kept in mind that the HR team selects resumes without any bias and considers the pedigree of the employee as a selection criterion. Even the managers will make sure they do not involve questions that question the ethnicity and gender of the candidate. The selection will be highly considered using their experience of work and their personality. This way the issue of gender bias will be negated. Since this was the issue that the company was facing in its warehouse, the major emphasis will be given on how the recruitment procedure is carried forward and maintained. Since this policy is developed keeping future scope in mind, it is expected that the company policy for recruitment will be upgraded with its utilisation.
The third policy that involves in the gathering of valuable inputs from employees gives the company a chance to connect with the employees. The policy will allow employees to anonymously record their inputs, complaints or suggestion in a system and it can help in developing reports about the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction that they experience. The feedback and inputs will be carefully assessed by the governing managers and it will be made sure that if any discrimination has occurred, actions will be taken against the individual. This will help in keeping employee rights in perspective and any gender inequality that is occurring will be curtailed. The systems that collect feedback will be monitored by the chief managers so that falsifying information can be stopped.
The last policy that will be implemented is the handling of the management. In order to suggest that the company is free from any discrimination, the managers and other authorities will be selected based on merit and their expertise. There will be no specific rule that suggests that only a male candidate is capable of the post, a female candidate can also be selected as a chief officer. This will help in sending a positive message to the employees of harmonic diversity. Another factor that will be installed is that after a duration of sometime, promotions to higher posts will be allotted, this will be done on the basis of performance and output and a detailed report of the performance will be distributed to keep clarity of information.
The above study clearly suggests that the need for diversity policies is of utmost importance in today’s business environment. The various cases of gender and race discrimination makes it difficult to conduct business freely. The study helped in establishing the various processes that starts from devising a policy to actually implementing the policy. The stages showed how it is first necessary to identify the issues so that planning can commence. The issue of gender diversity formed the focal point of the study and it helped in developing major polices that dealt with recruitment, training, feedback and competent management. These policies had various implications and the review showed that these plans were apt for removing the issue of gender diversity in the warehouse of the mobile online retailer for Vodafone UK. The last implementation phase has shown tremendous potential which can clearly help the company to make itself free from gender diversity issues.
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