Holland, P., C. Sheehan, et al. (2007). “Attracting and retaining talent: exploring human resources development trends in Australia.” Human Resource Development International 10(3): 247-262.
This is a research paper which used 1372 Australian human resource professionals to address the need for human resource development, such as training, job design, career management and development as well as team building, in order to attract and retain skilled professionals and workers. This is essentially a paper about competition for skilled workers. The results of this research paper indicated that employers provide more resources on recruitment and selection for new employees than developing career of current employees. The article suggests that the lack of resources on retaining current employees are a problem for Australian companies who are competing to hire qualified employees from Australia and overseas.
Discuss how changing environments affect organizations including whether or not workplace diversity makes good business sense. The world is getting more globalized with the current changing geo-political environment, open markets and even international migration, which represents external changing environments that can influence businesses. Demographic mixing and changes in the workforce have increased, due to migration of skilled workers from other countries to Australia (Margaret & Linley 2001). That represents internal environment within the business. Large, medium, and small business organizations must be more flexible to accommodate the pressures within the external global and internal workplace environments to be viable in the current markets. While external environmental factors cannot be controlled, internal ones such as workplace can be influenced strongly to drive employee performance, and using it to improve business growth and sustainability (Barker & Gower 2006; Childs Jr 2005; O’Leary & Weathington 2006; Tange & Lauring 2009). Diversity within the business workplace is required for the current global business context and even within local businesses. Diversity can refer to any group of persons, not just ethnicity or linguistic differences, underrepresented in the business or workplace (Anonymous 2008a). Diversity is an advantage for global companies which can invest in the economy of a foreign country through Free Trade Agreements (FTA). Knowledge of the common language of the foreign country and its culture may assist the business to make sound business decisions while minimizing any potential misunderstanding in employment of the foreign workforce or contractual agreements (Tange & Lauring 2009). Such investments will increase the growth and input of local businesses. For example, KPS China chose to invest in Australia for its first offshore processing manufacturing facility partially because at least an estimated 400,000 Australian migrants speak Cantonese or Mandarin besides English and a third of the workforce is tertiary educated (Anonymous 2008b). That would allow KPS China to select from the skilled Australian workforce which can communicate in China’s national language and would reduce miscommunication with fellow colleagues in China as well as from China (Anonymous 2008b). This is also evident in the local Australian banking institutions. Westpac, have expanded their capacity to potential overseas investors, which utilizes multicultural and linguistic skills in their employees (McCabe 2005). National Australia Bank (NAB) has recently used frontline multilingual customer service (including call centre) as part of a value-added service for their culturally diverse clientele in Australia. Skills of employees from diverse backgrounds could potentially be used to benefit Australian companies with a wide base of culturally diverse clients, especially in the use of another language other than English (Barker & Gower 2006; Margaret & Linley 2001). To survive in the global marketplace, such organizations are likely to look for employees which have the experience or ability of interacting cross-culturally to respond to the needs of global or multicultural stakeholders, especially the clientele (Carnevale 2008). Such culturally exposed people will be more able to successfully interact with people of other cultures, ethnicities, religious, economic and social backgrounds, and corporate recruiters are aware of such an advantage (Wright & Clarke 2010). In recognition of this skill, some universities have started introducing programs aimed at exposing their marketing students through specialized programs, such as study abroad, about the diverse multicultural environments which they may encounter in their future employment (Wright & Clarke 2010). International companies, such as IBM, focus on implementing diverse workplaces through leadership, in order to effectively improve and optimize employee performance by limiting discrimination and harassment (Childs Jr 2005). The best and the brightest employees will be selected on the merit of their performance , not because of their ethnic/religious/cultural/or linguistic background.IBM has a customer base in 65 countries and therefore diversity is an important business aspect, equated to that of providing superior technological services, in order for it to stay competitive globally (Childs Jr 2005). Besides the advantageous use of linguistic and cultural diversity in the workforce, there is also the issue of religious diversity. The local Australian financial industry have been studying the potential of Islamic finance industry that managed to withstand the latest economic downturn with a potential asset value of at least USD$ 2 trillion dollars by year 2015 (Rammal 2010). This study was initiated on the basis that there was a minority Muslim population in Australia but no Islamic banking and financial services are absent. This would provide a niche market for the banking and finance market which may lead to investments into the local industry by overseas Islamic investors, if this service is provided (Khan & Bhatti 2008). This would require banks and financial institutions to engage qualified and culturally diverse employees with the background knowledge of Islamic banking and financial services together with the conventional Australian banking and finance experience. Embracing diversity successfully for the benefit of the business will require support from the top management levels. Discrimination and harassment, which may result from resentment of ‘affirmative-like action’ and ‘diversification’, has to be reduced part of the business policies (Anonymous 2008a; Kirton & Greene 2009; Roberson & Stevens 2006). A global company like IBM has implemented an equal rights and opportunity policies with the support of the top management levels , including human resources, for all employees, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. It is in their belief that such a management model will allow their talented workers to perform optimally in a positive environment (Childs Jr 2005). Westpac, an Australian banking institution, believes in fostering the same environment for their employees by treating all staff with respect and integrity to motivate and engage them, as well as recognizing their needs and rewarding their performance (McCabe 2005). Both organizations strongly believe that a positive environment with respect and integrity will present both organizations as a socially responsible entity open to diverse cultures and respectable for others to invest and do business with (Childs Jr 2005; McCabe 2005). Managerial implications in implementing workforce diversity to foster a positive environment for all employees, especially those from diverse backgrounds, requires a strong and transparent emphasis of fair distribution of outcomes (such as equity, developing and promoting policy and procedures related to diversity, opportunities for participation for all in decision making) and interpersonal treatment of all employees with respect and integrity (O’Leary & Weathington 2006; Roberson & Stevens 2006). Furthermore diversity or equal opportunity officers should be supported by the organization to carry out their duties , instead of being viewed with suspicion by other employees(Roberson & Stevens 2006). To reduce resentment resulting from ‘affirmative action’, there should be a focus of managers to focus the process and outcomes of a diverse workforce that already exists and provide a fair and equitable workplace environment for their employees to strive productively and positively, instead of focusing on justifying why a person from a minority should get a job on the basis of their ‘diverse status’ (O’Leary & Weathington 2006). Managers should actively engage workforce employees in multicultural education and seminars in how to interact and communicate, both professionally and effectively, with stakeholders (such as clients) of different cultures, ethnic groups or language (Barker & Gower 2006; Sujansky 2007). Organizations should be able to accommodate religious and cultural needs of their diverse workforce to foster good relations. For example, IBM has instituted separate washing facilities for their Muslim employees in Canada, in order to accommodate their prayer needs (Childs Jr 2005). In conclusion, changing environments on the globalized scale, such as increasing diversity due to skilled migration and foreign investments require businesses to be flexible and open to other cultures, religion and languages, in order for them to interact with stakeholders effectively and professionally while limiting misunderstanding. This will constitute good business sense. Managers need to both implement and support the diverse workforce with appropriate policies and procedures in an open and transparent manner to foster a positive and productive environment. Investing in a tolerant and diverse workforce, free from discrimination and harassment of minority groups, presents the business as a socially responsible organization with integrity. The advantages and benefits for businesses utilizing the unique diverse culture within their environment are economically linked to increased output and growth.
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