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unique in that it provides women and under-represented minorities the
chance to seek mentors to discuss how to overcome diversity obstacles in
their fields and eventually their workplace.
Workers can be effectively involved in downsizing efforts by, for
example, choosing to reduce working hours in order to prevent drastic
reductions in the workforce. Employees and employers can agree to fair
reductions in wages to minimize the hardships of massive layoffs.
Employers could take the initiative to retrain and/or relocate workers to
take new jobs or to initiate creative workplace assignments.
There are opportunities for employers to facilitate the implementation
of fair and effective strategic plans that support the initiatives and pro-
grams described earlier. This has a special importance to workers who are
at immediate risk of being laid off. It will be necessary to develop com-
prehensive government policies to enable flexible downsizing strategies.
Any successful policy will need the support of business, industry, and
community-based programs to help mitigate the adverse consequences
of the economic downturn that will continue to affect the lives of peo-
ple for years to come. It is necessary to make clear distinctions about
the special challenges that ethnic minorities and other diverse groups
face. This requires a clear understanding of the demographic characteris-
tics related to their culture, language, disparities and socioeconomic
status. Failure to address issues of diversity ignores many of the problems
that minorities and other marginalized individuals experience that are
related to ongoing life situations such as poverty, inadequate housing,
crime, and discrimination.
SUMMARY
The recent economic downturn has had a direct impact on diversity in the
workplace. It is obvious that the issue is too complex for a simplistic effort
to be capable of addressing all of the factors related to diversity in the work-
place. A diverse workforce is a direct reflection of a rapidly changing society
and unstable economy. Respecting and promoting individual differences
brings great benefit to organizations. A diverse workplace can benefit both
the employee and the employer. It has been demonstrated that a diverse
workplace will create a competitive edge and increased work productivity.
Positive diversity management benefits employees by creating a fair and
non-discriminatory environment where everyone has access to opportu-
nities and challenges. Organizations with a diverse workforce must use
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