Diversity and pluralism termed as key to organizational growth

A report released by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has shown that female workers are shying away from jobs that have hostile environments and those that require them to work for long hours.

According to the report, most female workers admitted that most workplaces were unable to achieve gender pluralism due to the location of some jobs, sexual harassment and sacking when officers become pregnant.

Chief Executive Officer IEA, Mr. Kwame Owino said even though there was an increase in women heading a number of firms in 2015/2016, most of them, though qualified, were only hired to help organizations meet certain gender requirements rather than helping the company’s growth in performance.

Speaking at a Public forum on ‘Closing the Gap: Attaining Diversity and Pluralism at the Work Place’ at a Nairobi hotel, Mr. Owino said the success of a company can only be linked to the diversity of its workforce.

The differences in various personal traits such as gender, age, race, marital status, ethnic origin, religion, and education should not bring discrimination in an organization, but should enable different groups to voice their opinions and have acceptance and understanding of each other, said the CEO.

The research was carried out in the three phases including a desk review of academic literature on work place diversity and pluralism, review of reports developed by surveyed organizations and a review of Kenyan legal and regulatory frameworks on diversity.

According to a research conducted by IEA, 88 percent of companies in the country who embraced diversity acknowledged that it improved public image and increased their organizational competitiveness, 83 percent stated that diversity promoted their financial performance, while 72 percent said it reduced costs associated with low productivity.

It also highlighted that 27 percent of the companies were unable to implement diversity due to lack of expertise and understanding of diversity while10 percent revealed that they were affected by corruption, as 12 percent noted that their failure to implement diversity was due to nepotism and tribalism.

The CEO noted that for a company to benefit from a diverse workforce it should ensure that, its top organization leadership and management is committed and accountable in implementing diversity and conducting thorough needs assessment of the employees and the organization to ensure diversity issues are well identified.

He also urged top management and staff in private sector organizations to be conversant with multiple cultures, values and norms, as well as demonstrate an ability to embrace and coexist with different dimensions of diversity to make them effective across cultural contexts.

This will enable both employers and employees to understand the dynamics of all cultures and misunderstandings to enable them address biasness and effectively manage group dynamics by applying best diversity practices, he added.

The research was carried out as a result of the protracted election which was characterized by tensions that led to poor productivity due to lack of understanding pluralism in Kenya.

Source: Kenya News Agency