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What Is the Role of Diversity in Human Resource Management?

Diversity in human resource management encourages respect among people of different backgrounds and genders in the workplace.
A human resource manager conducting an interview.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2014
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The role of diversity in human resource management is to create an enriched workplace environment where differences are respected rather than discriminated against. Diversity is connected to ethics principles as well as compliance management laws and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies in many parts of the world. A workforce in which employees are hired based on their skills and qualifications without discrimination as to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, disability or other factor supports a human resource management system that values diversity.

Many companies express diversity values in their operating or "purpose" statements. These types of statements communicate the company's commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse employee base. These companies then must commit to following through with their stated policies on diversity or risk becoming singled out by advocacy or legal groups. People of color, different sexual orientations and physical or mental abilities are expected to work together in many workplaces. In some countries without laws that relate to diversity in human resource management, though, unfair hiring practices can occur.

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Diversity in human resource management works by respecting individual rights. As long as an individual performs his or her job satisfactorily and is a good fit in terms of following company policies, he or she is treated as a valuable company asset. The intended role of diversity in human resource management is to treat workers of different races, genders and other factors the same as far as employment opportunities. In a diverse workplace, employees are promoted on merit rather than held back, or not even hired to begin with, due to something that may make them a minority rather than part of the majority. Where diversity is supported, people from different backgrounds, orientations or walks of life are seen as enriching rather than hampering company culture.

Diversity laws require hiring managers to be ethical in hiring, promoting and firing employees. If businesses are found to be in violation of laws that concern diversity in human resources management, they could face fines or court cases. On the other hand, if businesses operate ethically in terms of not discriminating against minority workers, they are said to be in compliance with laws governing diversity in the workplace. In order to ensure this compliance, human resources management often provides the company's hiring managers with the necessary information regarding the ethical treatment of employees. This communicated information may be in the form of training sessions or government pamphlets on diversity regulations.

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