Work place discrimination charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hit an unprecedented high of 99,922 during the fiscal year of 2010.
EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) that has a the task of ending employment discrimination in the United States by allowing individuals to sue private employers for discrimination, and serves as an adjudicatory for any claims of discrimination brought against federal agencies.
That means that we still have a big problem with discrimination and application of diversity and inclusion – finding the barriers to diversity and inclusion can guide the way to finding solutions to at least decrease the amount of these claims, and can help building bridges in the workplaces for better harmony and inclusion.
Diversity goes way beyond race, color and religion. Diversity is the many differences between individuals including race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, socio-economic, jobs, education, geographical locations, personalities, and even diversity of thoughts. Diversity is what makes each and everyone of us unique
Diversity means challenge and to overcome the "isms" such as racism, ageism, sexism, and homophobia. These issues cause many rifts in a successful society and workplace and often prevent goals of the organization and the teams within from accomplishing their goals and achieving their missions.
Most importantly, leaders must be aware of these challenges in order to rise above them and lead successful teams, while also reaping the many benefits that diversity provides.
There are several challenges to diversity that exist including:
- Fairness: Diversity creates questions about fairness because discrimination and equality in the workplace is always a factor. Because of this, mechanisms must be put in place to assure that questions of fairness do not arise and to ensure that everyone in the organization is treated equally.
- Management Complexity: It often seems easier to manage a group of people who all have the same or similar mindset, but these people do not always get along. However, in a homogenous group, there tends to be less conflict and management does not have to adjust their style. They do not need to approach or listen to people differently and they do not need to find new approaches to tasks, as they are always completed successfully using one method, if it is not broken why fix it?.
- Differences versus Similarities: It is simpler to think that working with people that have similar backgrounds is easier. We don't have to worry about different styles or understanding new perspectives. We also don't have to adjust to different attitudes.
- Loyalty and Identity: As members of a homogenous group, we believe we know who we are. We don't feel the need to constantly redefine ourselves and we don't need to wonder if we can trust those new people with new values, if they will back us up or if they will be loyal to the organization.