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Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Advantages and Disadvantages

Having people from different backgrounds in an office is essential to building a competent team. With a variety of experiences and talents, a multicultural staff is more ready to tackle the modern world and its conundrums. But there are two sides to having diversity in the workplace, as there are pluses and minuses to such a circumstance. The main advantages are more creativity in the office and more adaptability. In turn, the key disadvantages are communication issues and an increased cost for training.

The advantages

Creativity in the workplace adds to more ideas being generated and sometimes more production overall. If a company hires people from diverse backgrounds, projects can become more inspired and unique. According to the website Future of Working, “When people in different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs come together to work for a common goal, increased creativity can be achieved. What is already artistic can become even better. What already works can evolve into something else” (“11 Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace”). A lack of vision can occur with a less diverse workforce.

In addition, hiring people from various backgrounds allows an office to have more adaptability. In many countries, the population is becoming more diverse. According to Chron, “Because consumers in America are becoming more multicultural, companies with a diverse workforce can better develop solutions to satisfy the needs and demands of their customers. For example, Japanese employees in a marketing department can better identify and communicate the problems and needs facing Japanese consumers. Therefore, they would be able to contribute their ideas as far as possible marketing strategies to reach this customer segment” (Suttle, Rick). Even if a country is not multicultural, when a company has to deal with foreign businesses, they can adapt better due to a diverse workforce.

The disadvantages

When you have people from many different places and with various cultural backgrounds, sometimes communication gets mixed up. Effective communication in an office is the key to building trust, rapport, and proper management. According to Future of Working, “Unfortunately, diversity can be in the way, and can directly impact productivity because of a lack of cohesiveness. This explains why some companies catering to international customers hire multilingual or bilingual customer service reps” (“11 Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace”). This means more costs for a company that wants to communicate well.

In the same vein with extra payments, a diverse workplace can often mean an increased cost for training. Businesses that do not have a solid foundation for sales or earning potential can incur great losses from this process. According to the website Tutorials Point, “…the initial cost of the mandatory training provided to each employee on how to manage Workplace Diversity is very high. This training extends to the supervisors and managers, and at times, clients. The programs involve a lot of traveling and investing productive hours” (“Workplace Diversity Disadvantages”). So, the cost not only reflects money but also time and production.

In summary, there are several advantages and disadvantages to having diversity in the workplace. In terms of pluses, there is more creativity and adaptability in offices with varied employees. On the other hand, there is more of a chance for miscommunication and hikes in training costs in offices with many different people. It is best to weigh these facts before embarking on making your workforce more diverse.

Works Cited
“11 Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace.” FutureofWorking.com, 14 Jan. 2017, futureofworking.com/11-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-diversity-in-the-workplace/.
Suttle, Rick. “Workplace Diversity Benefits.” Small Business – Chron.com, Chron.com, 21 Nov. 2017, smallbusiness.chron.com/workplace-diversity-benefits-1180.html.
“Workplace Diversity Disadvantages.” www.tutorialspoint.com, www.tutorialspoint.com/workplace_diversity/workplace_diversity_disadvantages.htm.

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