What is Diversity
Diversity in the workplace can be generally defined as recognition of the groups of people who share common traits. People are generally grouped together by initial encounters. These initial encounters would be judged primarily by observable traits including: age, gender, race and physical abilities. In South Africa many people live in homogeneous communities or at the very least far less diverse than our society as a whole. Therefore, when people in South Africa start working managing diversity may be one of the first real encounters with a diverse population. Human Resources in South Africa could define diversity as the following three terms:
1. The politically correct term for equal employment opportunity
2. The recruitment and selection of ethnic groups and women
3. The management of individuals sharing a broad range of common traits
There must be a clear line of sight in what the motivations are for an organisation managing diversity. It is not enough to just comply with regulations but it is a necessity to manage diversity in order to reach the potential of the workforce. Managers must take note though that just hiring employees based solely on their status are doing a disservice to managing diversity. In order to manage diversity managers must still hire applicants that are qualified. So Human Resources South Africa would advise companies to still base the majority of decisions on each person’s skills and abilities. It should never be assume that anyone (especially based on minority status) is incapable of adding value to a situation In South Africa affirmative action was started in order for a quick fix. Managing diversity is though not a quick fix and is a long-term strategy in order to correct the imbalances in the workplace.