Unilever Company’s Diversity Management

Types of workforce diversity

There are several types of workforce diversity that exist in various organizations. This includes demographic diversity where a company employs a workforce from various demographic categories such as age, gender, race or tribe. Unilever has embraced this by ensuring employment from all areas in which it has opened branches to allow effective diversity.

Another type of diversity is experiential, where the company employees are diversified depending on their background experiences. Unilever Company embraces this by employing people with varied background experiences such as engineers, business managers, marketers, agriculturalists, doctors, among others.

Fundamental diversity is where diversity occurs in terms of the values and objectives of a person. This also involves fundamental beliefs, purpose and functions of work and relationship among the employees and the organization. Unilever Company has enhanced this through recruitment of employees from all parts of the world who carry with them different beliefs, values, abilities and perception of things.

There is also the diversity in educational background of people. This diversity is more pronounced at Unilever company as it employs people from all different educational levels such as doctorate degrees holders, master’s degree holders, bachelor’s, diplomas and certificate holders. The top management also comprises of employees with high academic qualifications while those at the ground level are the certificate and diploma holders.

Advantages and disadvantages of diversity management

Unilever Global Company has spearheaded in the development of diversity management. This is because it understands well the importance of diversity in an organization and how it can help it in realizing its goals. According to Jayne and Dipboye (2004), diversity management brings about good human resource management. This is realized when an organization manages its labour resources well as this also reflects on the customer base of the organization (Klarsfeld, 2010). Unilever Company has intensified on the management of labour resources by recruiting employees from all races, tribes, gender and people with disabilities as it enhances its growth in the competitive market.

Klarsfeld (2010) highlighted the importance of cultural diversity in an organization. Many organizations, like Unilever, sell its products to customers from different cultural backgrounds. Since the company embraced this idea, it has grown and opened several branches in various countries across the globe. The company is also able to recruit employees from various cultural backgrounds who understand better the type of product that best suits the culture in which they come from. The company is able to produce products that meet these specifications of different cultural backgrounds, thus enlarging its market share. Employees from different cultures also enhance unity within the organization, as there is no bias or favouritism (Ollapally and Bhatnagar, 2009).People from all cultures feel recognized, and part of the organization as their cultures are represented.

Diversity in Unilever Company enables employees to be accountable in operations of the organization. They own the organization short-term and long-term goals, and they are motivated to achieving them. This is made possible through performance evaluation, as noted by Pless and Maak (2004). The evaluation allows supervisors to better understand their employees’ strengths and weaknesses and bring about harmony in human resource management as everyone knows his/her role in the organization. At Unilever, diversity management is to everyone, including employees, customers, suppliers and contractors, among others.

Good diversity management in an organization brings about competitive advantage (O’Leary and Weathington, 2006). This is achieved when organization employees’ come from diverse backgrounds as the organization customers. This diversity brings better ideas, broad decisions, varied perspectives of things, good management and better products that suit the market (O’Leary and Weathington, 2006). When all these are merged together, the result is the growth and development of the company. It is the utilization of these aspects that have made Unilever Company grow into a competitive international company having several branches in various countries in the world. Customers feel highly represented within the organization, and thus they identify with the company products wherever they are.

Strategies to workforce diversity management

This can be achieved by linking diversity to the lowest levels of the organization. This involves uniting all the employees of the company together to help in the achievement of the company’s goals. The high workforce diversity level at Unilever will enable the company to come up with better products that meet the customers’ needs as some are very dynamic. It may also help Unilever to reach out to bigger markets as the employees come from different parts of the world.

Diversity should be retained at all levels of the organization. This can be achieved by the fact that diversity goes beyond the gender question. It also covers age, race tribe, among others. Therefore, it is important for an organization such as Unilever Company to retain this form of diversity achieved in all the branches to ensure that the company continues to grow and succeed in all areas.

Providing practical training to the employees on various aspects of diversity is yet another aspect of diversity that can be adopted by any company. Employees should be trained on ways such as the importance of diversity in an organization, conflict resolutions that occur because of diversity, ways of managing diversity and how to improve diversity in an organization. This will make the employees have a positive attitude towards diversity and result in improved bonding between the employees despite their varied, diverse orientations.

Removing temporally barriers that hinder continued success in an organization is an effective strategy towards diversity management. This ensures that employees are given a room to progress in their goals as barriers have been removed. In a diversified internal business environment, employees will have an opportunity to put goals together with those of the organization into practice. This will enable the organization to grow and develop from the rich combination of different goals from different cultures, backgrounds, race among others.

Unilever Company Strategies

Unilever Company aims at being a value driven organization. This is to be achieved by providing a room for growth and success of the employees through their career options. This will help them to achieve their goals for both the company and personal. Therefore, the corporate aim is to treat all people with respect, integrity and fairness. The employees should in turn observe high standards of behavior and integrity in their work (Ollapally and Bhatnagar, 2009).

The new compass strategy developed by Unilever global company will enhance increased business volumes and reduce negative impacts to environment. This will greatly be assisted by the diversity in the company. Since the company employs people from all parts of the world, it possesses rich talents from various areas that will help in obtaining a larger market share as all the people are represented within the company.

Unilever Company has also set mentoring as one of the key strategies to enhance diversity in the company (Jayne and Dipboye, 2004). Initially mentoring program was only for the top management team, but it has been expanded to include even the junior management team. This mentorship program is aimed at helping the employees achieve their full potential while working in the company. This in turn will steer the company to success.

Networking among various branches and other companies is another strategy for ensuring diversity at Unilever. Networking helps in opening up more opportunities, providing a base for growth and strengthening relationships among the employees. Networking is expected to bring about more opportunities to the employees for growth and success of the organization (Klarsfeld, 2010). Employees will have an opportunity to interact with other employees from the other branches or companies and thus obtaining new skills to do things and different approach to people and situations. They will interact and learn more on things such as culture, beliefs and practices among others of other employees from different parts of the world. On the other hand, when the employees have gained new experience it will reflect in the companies’ success as they will be motivated to work hard enough because they want to attain the level of their new friends or outdo them. Therefore, this will also create a spirit of competition between the employees and company branches.

Lastly, another strategy set by Unilever is on flexible operation of the business. This will enhance a business environment where the employees work in a family. It will strengthen the relationship between employees and encourage sharing of information and skills among themselves. This in turn will strengthen team spirit in the company enhancing more work coverage within a short period of time.

Reference List

Jayne, E., A. & Dipboye, R., L. 2004. Leveraging Diversity to Improve Business Performance: Research Findings & Recommendations for Organizations. Human Resource Management. 43(4) pp. 409-424

Klarsfeld, A. 2010.International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work: Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment. Edward Elgar Publishing: Northampton.

O’Leary, B., J. & Weathington, B., L. 2006. ‘Beyond the Business Case for Diversity in Organisations’, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 18(4), pp. 1-10.

Ollapally, A & Bhatnagar, J. 2009. ‘The Holistic Approach to Diversity Management: HR

Implications, The Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, January, 44(3), pp 454-472.

Pless, N., M. & Maak, T. 2004. ‘Building an Inclusive Diversity Culture: Principles Process, and Practice’, Part 1, of Business Ethics Journal, 54(2) pp. 129-147.

Unilever, 2012. Promoting diversity. Web.

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