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Managing diversity reaps financial reward

Managing diversity reaps financial reward

New Zealand employers who meet the challenges of an ethnically diverse workforce head-on are reaping the benefits – with lower staff turn-over and direct financial rewards.

Even in a tough economic environment many businesses are increasingly dependent on staff from overseas.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs says businesses need to understand that managing diversity is a wise investment and that it makes good financial sense.

Its director, Mervin Singham, says: “Organisations, whatever their size, that invest in actively managing workforce diversity can add new skills and knowledge to their talent pool, generate innovation and tap into new segments of the market that they did not before.

Embracing diversity just makes good business sense in our globalised and interconnected world.”

In the past, efforts to increase the numbers of minority people employed in organisations were based on fairness and equality. While that remains an important driver, it has been over-taken by a growing body of evidence that diversity is good for business.

The Wellington based public sector recruitment specialists, ‘The Johnson Group’ actively hires a diverse workforce.

Its Director, Campbell Hepburn says: “Ethnically diverse staff provide fresh ideas and encourage the company to access new opportunities.”

The Auckland-headquartered engineering consulting firm, Beca, examined its management practices within its transportation team to maximise the benefits of an ethnically diverse workforce.

The team’s General Manager, Matthew Ensor, says that ethnic diversity has become a competitive advantage that is proven through business growth, staff engagement and the ability to attract and retain top talent from around the world.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs has a practical ‘how to guide’ called “Riding the Wave” that is aimed at helping organisations improve their business outcomes by managing ethnic diversity in the workplace.

The first workshop in the Wellington region based on the guide is being held on 26 May 2011 at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel, 2-8 Maginnity Street, 10am - 1230pm.

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