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Effects and management of workforce diversity, globalization and technological innovation

The globalized economy increases interaction among people from diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds than ever before. People are now living in a globalized economy with intense competition coming from various societies. Due to why, different organizations need diversified workforce to become more creative and open to change. In order to maximize benefits, capitalizing on workforce diversity has become an important issue for today’s organizations management.

In this era, where the world is now a global village that is it is shrinking day by day due to advent of technology and internet, the workplace is now becoming virtual and Diversity management in multicultural workforce is increasingly becoming an important issue. Many companies have endorsed specific policies and programs to enhance recruitment, retention, promotion, and inclusion of employees who are different from the privileged echelons of the society.

Innovations in information and communication technology (ICT) are driving both globalization and the change of value creation towards services. They are challenging companies to adapt their business model, organization and corporate culture continuously and simultaneously in order to stay competitive. An analysis of IBM’s transformation over the past 50 years reveals the opportunities and risks associated with ICT innovations and illustrates that mastering professional change management will become a core issue for many companies.

In recent years, the management of diverse workforce has become highly significant not only in developed countries but also in developing countries like Bangladesh. As well as it has seen that globalization and technological innovation highly impacts on nature of work in companies. Managing these effects becomes highly crucial for Bangladeshi human resources managers. Considering these importance, this study examined workforce diversity management practices as well as other trend management of some selected organizations of Bangladesh underpinned by a qualitative research technique.

It is obvious no two individuals are alike, though they may share some common qualities, but in our daily interactions off and on the workplace we tend to forget that people are different from each other. In this era of where we term the world as global village and communication reaching the peak of technological discovery we need to recognize and capitalize on these differences to get the most from their employees.

Diversity reveals the co-existence of people from a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds within the organization. Diversity includes cultural factors such as race, gender, age, color, physical ability, ethnicity, etc. The various aspects of diversity are age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, values, ethnic culture, education, language, lifestyle, beliefs, and physical appearance and economic status. Recently diversity has become a proactive dimensional concept. Many business icons are now going to think that diversity has important bottom-line outputs. Diverse workforce can be a good competitive strength because various opinions can generate distinctive and creative way out to solve many critical problems which in turn may boost up organizational performance. Managers of various public and private organizations need to recognize, foresee and handle this remarkable character of workforce.

There are many factors contributing to HR managers functions and these activities are constantly changing. By keeping in view these entire situations the organization’s HR department is continuously being changed also (Pavitt,

2008). Some of the researchers also point out that most of the challenges the HR faces in the 21stcentury are: retention of the employees, multicultural work force, women work force, retrenchment of the employees, change in the demand of the government, technology , globalization, and initiating the process of change. The World Federation of Personnel Management Association (WFPMA, 2009) survey pointed out the most important top ten HR challenges: leadership development, organizational effectiveness, change of management, compensation, health and safety, staff retention, learning and development, succession planning, staffing (recruitment) and skilled labor.

Liz Weber (2009) has pointed out that the most important challenges of the HR in business are layoffs. This laid off may be due to several reasons which include the economic uncertainty, the employee’s job instability and the HR being less effective. According to Decenzo and Robins (2001) and Gary Dessler (2000), the most important challenges of HRM, are technology, Ecommerce, work force diversity, globalization and ethical consideration of the organization, which may directly or indirectly affect the organization’s competitive advantages; especially technological advancement effects on recruitment, training and development and job performance, which with great extent can be studied in the organization. We can sum up these from the following points as the foremost challenge faced by HRM is the globalization. Globalization means and refers to the present flow of goods, services, capital, ideas, information and people. It means the movement of these things without using any human resource. In this modern business world, markets have become battlegrounds where both the domestic and foreign competitors try to capture as maximum market shares as possible. Such globalization is a challenge for HRM. However without human resource they have no value, because a workforce is knowledgeable and skilled, who facilitates a company in going with competitive advantage over others and enable a company to compete with the foreign market and to make investment not only in domestic market but also in foreign markets. Therefore all the HR managers make several strategies to develop and retain such human resource, because Human Resource is the one that makes an organization successful in the field of globalization.

It is important to clarify the contribution of diversity in the organization, including leadership roles and expectations for diversity initiatives. It is, moreover, necessary to highlight the importance of having a diverse workforce in vision and mission statements. Diversity process may enhance productivity through effective leadership and management practices. Key factors that had the greatest impact on overall perceived effectiveness of diversity initiatives were: 1) a track record of recruiting diverse people; 2) management that is accountable for diversity progress and holds others accountable; 3) leaders who demonstrate commitment to diversity; 4) rewarding people who contribute in the area of diversity; and 5) training and education to increase awareness and help employees understand how diversity can impact business results. Managing diversity may provide a firm with competitive advantage, better decision making ability, higher creativity and innovation, greater success in marketing to foreign and domestic ethnic minority communities, and a better distribution of resources.

Managing workforce diversity indicates a comprehensive managerial system for developing a congenial working environment for all employees of all diverse groups. The organization should establish a bridge between diversity issues and human resource management decisions as regards to recruitment, selection, succession management, performance management, and rewards.

In summary, dealing and operating the human resources always trouble the organization to face many challenges. This study aims to address HR challenges like workforce diversity, globalization, technological innovation that are covered by previous studies. Therefore, this paper focuses to identify those HR challenges and the ways of capturing the opportunities by managing those challenges by the existing MNCs in Bangladesh.

HRIS practices

Rapid technological change is one of the greatest challenges for the organization. Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is the modern challenge for the MNCs in Bangladesh. It is the process of enabling all human resource function like human resource planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation, promotion, performance appraisal, employee relation, etc. through the computer technology or computer software for helping the managers for decision making. According to the opinion of the HR managers, about 69% of the challenges faced by the MNCs of Bangladesh are adapting with this digital system that means the traditional HRM to e-HRM.

International Human Resource Management (IHRM) practices or the human resource management practices of multinational companies around the world have a great impact on human resource practices of domestic farms. About 65% of the challenges faced by human resource personnel are of this type as the different multinational practices regarding human resource functions significantly change the total human resource practices of the MNCs of Bangladesh.

Benefits of Diversity Management:

Companies in the survey mention that the most important benefits arising from workforce diversity management are:

• Enlarging cultural values of organization(80% of respondents);

• Intensifying corporate reputation (90%);

• Improving innovation and creativity amongst employees (80%);

• Enhanced service levels and customer satisfaction (60%);

• Helping to attract and retain talented people (70%);

• Higher productivity arising from improved motivation and efficiency (70%);

• Helping to overcome labor shortage (60%);

• Mitigate labor turnover (60%); and,

• Enlarged global management capacity (70%).

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