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BSL 4000, Managing Diversity in Organizations 1

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Course Learning Outcomes for Unit V Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

5. Examine workplace diversity data. 5.1 Analyze the demographics of gender in the workplace regarding position, pay, and

expectations. 5.2 Explain the advantages and disadvantages of flexible schedules and work responsibilities. 5.3 Explain work-life balance as it relates to achieving greater results for the organization.

7. Discuss the effects of employer-provided child and elder care on employee satisfaction and turnover.

7.1 Determine the potential human resources benefits of offering child and elder care in an organization.

Course/Unit Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

5.1 Unit Lesson Chapters 9 and 10 Unit V Project

5.2 Unit Lesson Chapter 10 Unit V Project

5.3 Unit Lesson Chapters 9 and 10 Unit V Project

7.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 10 Unit V Project

Required Unit Resources Chapter 9: Sex and Gender, pp. 249-276 Chapter 10: Work and Family, pp. 285-304

Unit Lesson Sam, the Human Resources Director, has placed an ad in local social media and on the company website for two project managers. She has received several applications. After reviewing many resumes, she has narrowed the choices to five applicants to interview. She sets up the individual interviews. McGuire Consulting provides contracting services in business consulting, finances, and technology. The firm was started 60 years ago by the father of the current president of the company. Several of the family members work in the firm, and some family issues carry over into the business. Pat is a 38-year-old veteran with 20 years of service working as a signals operator. He completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a Management of Information Systems concentration. He is looking to transition to the private sector as a project manager. He holds a certification from the Project Management Institute. He has no prior project management experience in the private sector. He retired as a noncommissioned officer. He is applying for a project manager position working on a large office rollout for


Gender and Work-Life Balance

BSL 4000, Managing Diversity in Organizations 2



the new office of a premier client. Pat would be answering to the director of technology projects: the brother- in-law of McGuire’s president. Savannah has applied for a project manager position as part of a systems administration project. She has her MBA in Project Management with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Math. She chose to leave her old employer of 10 years as a project lead, primarily running a call center for trouble tickets within the organization. She is returning to the workforce in a paid position after taking six years off to raise her children, who are now in preschool and first grade. She is nervous about being gone all day, five and six days per week. She would answer to the director of contracted services—the youngest sister to the president of McGuire. The interviews go well. They meet with existing project managers in similar work and with Sam to insure a quality and objective interview. The interviews of the five candidates conclude, and these two are selected. The on-boarding process begins. They complete their operation and meet their respective directors in a cursory fashion. Savannah and Pat begin the 90-day probationary period. The process starts, and they settle in. Pat finds he is working with multiple small teams in all aspects of the project with unskilled labor. They work as runners and assist in running cable, setting up the closets and racks, and placing equipment. The team further grows to installers and cabling techs. Finally, there are the system engineers and testers who configure the network equipment to talk to each other and access the necessary resources. Pat finds that some team workers have minimal education and experience, some have worked in the technology field for many years, and some have come from other industries and found a new career in information technology. Pat is a little uncomfortable as nobody is former military or reserve. He has a very different organizational perspective regarding leadership, management, and implementation. His approach can sometimes be direct and a little rough, per some of his teams. A few team members have complained to the project director regarding Pat’s direct style. His communication can be very rough around the edges, and some say he is too uptight, but he is always professional. Pat is called into the project director’s office to discuss progress on the project as well as some of the stated concerns by his teams. The director has instituted very structured expectation guidelines in order for the leader and the team to work effectively and efficiently. Pat is adhering to these guidelines to the letter. The director reminds him that it is not so much a literal translation but a figurative guideline. Pat is unclear on this as he is used to very clear guidelines and structure based on his prior military history. This is a new leadership style for him, and he is not familiar with this approach and working with those who are resistant to completing the work in a timely and efficient manner. Savannah has returned to the workforce after several years off to raise her kids. She finds that the hours are sometimes very long. She is learning that periodic travel is required to get the job done, thus she is not always onsite. A few of the team leads who have been assigned to her team had been eligible for the job and did not even get the interview. Savannah was not aware of this when she was hired. Some of the workers have expressed deep concerns that she does not know the company way. She does not understand the company ethics and processes for how work is to get done. She is constantly checking with the sitters and after-school care and teachers while on the job instead of doing the job. Clearly, Savannah is struggling with how to do the job and balance personal life in addition to the project she is assigned. Savannah is called in to her director’s office to discuss progress as well as some of the complaints that have been escalated to the director who is monitoring Savannah’s work and progress. Savannah explained that it has been very difficult returning to work while her kids are in school and childcare. She is curious if it is possible to begin to work from home some days, a few days per week, while being on site other days. This is an unprecedented protocol for the company. However, the client who she is working with has a very open policy about working with new moms in the workforce. The director, having raised her three children, is open to this idea as she has also read about the value this can add to improve productivity if the right person is given this opportunity. We understand that blending work with life and social activities can be very difficult to balance. When we look at the dynamics and expectations of individuals based on gender, age, orientation, and skill level, this creates some unique challenges in the workforce and the organizational environment (Bell, 2017). How these issues are addressed creates additional areas for improvement. In the hiring process, screeners of applicants should

BSL 4000, Managing Diversity in Organizations 3



question what the applicant wants to get out of the job. The applicant can choose to provide a response he or she believes the representative wants to hear or give an honest answer. The applicant’s truth and disclosure or made-up response can be the juncture in the process that determines the difference between a good hire and a bad hire. Understanding the needs of the organization, the position, and the applicant in trying to determine fit and greatest potential results is critical on all counts. The needs of the team involve personality, skills, ability, and engagement as well as achieving results, and understanding these needs will have a direct impact on the team and on team members. The better the match, the better the potential results. As a team manager or project manager, it is a matter of developing the right team and the right scenarios to continually improve. Understanding what that need is may well be the deciding factor. If we allow genetics, orientation, or any other area of diversity that may cause division rather than unity, the organization and the team have a much greater obstacle to overcome (Bell, 2017). Understanding what the dynamics are and how to draw the best out of each team member and the collective team is the united, strategic goal. There are, generally speaking, three types of workers. Each type of worker has a different level of commitment to the organization.

1. The first is the individual who thinks of the organization as their family. Employees are family members. How they come and go will impact the organizational family as a birth, adoption, death, or divorce would affect any family. This perspective, while very harmonious in many ways, can also have devastating results. If loss is experienced, the worker treats the situation accordingly. As new people come in, they will be made to feel very welcome, and individuals will engage and invite them in. If the family starts to be torn apart at the seams due to dissension or rebellion from the family standard, this will create a greater issue that will need to be dealt with at the micro and macro levels throughout the organization.

2. The second perspective is the employee who understands he or she has two families: the work family and the personal family. Work and personal families will not intermingle. When the employee is at work, he or she is with the work family. Employees often spend more time with their work family than they do with their personal family due to requirements of the job, time, and the organization to perform at a higher level. They hold the values of the personal family very differently than they do those of the work family. At work, they hold the values of the organization; at home, they hold the values of the family unit. These approaches involve very different perspectives.

3. The third type is the individual who sees work as a means to an end. They come in; they do the job that they are assigned; they do no more and no less. They do exactly what is expected of them. They will do enough to not be fired or disciplined. They can then leave the job and go do what they want to do. We envision these individuals as those who are simply working to obtain a paycheck. The scenario may not be completely true because there could be job satisfaction in the work that they do, but work is work—nothing more.

Most individuals will fit into one of these descriptions of the employee, and they may even fit into more than one. Consider the challenges of a gender issue, such as a single mom working. Consider the newly divorced dad or husband. Consider a widowed individual or one who is now empty nesting. Along with those, there may be a brand-new parent. As much as we talk about leaving our personal lives at home, there is the impact of personal extenuating circumstances that can impact our ability to function at our highest levels of engagement, participation, and productivity (Bell, 2017). How the organization chooses to address these concerns can make the difference between a valued long-term employee and a short-term disgruntled worker. An intentional goal in the hiring process is to determine a best fit and what is necessary to have a long-term commitment from both the organization and the individual. It is far less expensive to maintain a long-term employee than to have high turnover in a position or aspect of the organization. High turnover in a position or business unit is a business approach and strategic method in and of itself. Creating a low-turnover position or business unit also is a strategic approach. Both will have a strong impact on the organization and those in the organization. Depending on personality, perspective, and organizational goals, either approach can be highly significant in the results. It is important as an organization to understand who you are hiring and what you are hiring along with the individuals (Bell, 2017).

BSL 4000, Managing Diversity in Organizations 4



If a fast food business unit is hiring individuals with little or no job experience, there is likely a high turnover. Some business units will commit to training an individual to become an exceptional leader in the field. While this may not be the long-term ambition of the individual, he or she will learn skills such as leadership, team- building, organizational skills, and business practices. These are valuable skills that are highly transferable. Some employees, a little less than 10%, will choose to go on and increase their status within the organization by becoming an assistant manager, a manager, or an even higher position. There is value in these individuals in whom the company has invested. Often, an individual who has been nurtured in his or her growth and aspirations concerning work and life balance will tend to be loyal and have a greater dedication to the organization. The organization that chooses to take a more open stance and make investments in the employees’ work-life balance, such as personal struggles or challenges that they may be facing, will make a difference in the lives of the individuals and those around them. The greater the understanding and synthesis, the greater the potential for maximum results. Aligning the needs of the individual with the abilities of the team to adapt in different situations is a critical factor. Pat brings tremendous experience and knowledge from his time in the military as well as his technical expertise. He has also achieved academically to open opportunities for advancement. The team comes from a well-rounded and diverse situation. He will need to manage some differently than he does others to yield the greatest possible results. The more adaptable he can be, the better. His director pointed out that while Pat was in the military, he often had a change of station in his duty assignment. It is a strong possibility that these were in different organizations, under different leadership, in different locations. It was this diversity that brought a dramatic difference to whether Pat got the job or someone else because he had a very eclectic background. Now is the time to practice this and put this into good use. There will be those who, as the director puts it, are knuckleheads and will do very little—often only enough to prevent getting fired. There are others who would dedicate themselves completely to doing the job night and day as they truly love what they do and want to see tremendous results in a very quick manner. One of Pat’s jobs is to balance these things while being encouraging and motivating. As such, Pat must find peace and balance in the work that he does and with the people on his team to continually improve. Savannah sits down and talks with the director about the concerns. Savannah has significant knowledge and experience to do this job. She has extremely high recommendations from her former bosses. During the six years that she was raising her children, she often volunteered in parent organizations as well as in lay leadership at her community and religious organizations. While she was not in a paid position, she was continually enhancing and improving her organizational skills as well as her project management skills. These things made her uniquely qualified for the position. The director, instead of immediately saying no to the telecommuting, asked what would be the value to the organization. What would that look like, and how much does it improve overall results? Savannah was prepared for these types of questions and had a valid presentation put together to address the needs. The director did choose to consider and review the idea and take it up with the other directors as there were valid points that might better suit many of the employees, allowing for greater job satisfaction, thus creating overall greater results and productivity. The director took the idea under advisement. Organizations are continually looking for ways to improve employee relations. By understanding the needs of gender, family circumstances, work, and other aspects of people’s lives beyond the organization, the work environment can be improved. The resources provide greater results. Accessibility does not always have to be face-to-face and on site. Flexible work schedules may be an opportunity that can solve some issues and allow for greater dedication on the job when the person is onsite as well as working remotely. Savannah presented an idea of being able to work early from home to get her kids to their designated locations. The time that she saved by not having to drive into the office or the worksite allowed her to achieve far more such as administrative and follow-up phone calls in a quiet, interruption-free environment a few days a week. When she was on site, she could dedicate herself to the employees and the client in order to achieve that greater understanding, building a stronger relationship. Savannah and Pat are both great examples of what is possible. One was a little bit older than the other and had slightly different needs. Both were transitioning into a new position and doing a new kind of work. This is often the case when we change jobs, locations, or even employers. There is a need by the employee to gain a greater understanding of what is required as well as what is available. If the employee does not ask, he or

BSL 4000, Managing Diversity in Organizations 5



she will not receive what is needed, and the employer will not consider changing. Most employers will keep the employees exactly where they want them, how they want them, when they want them, and then pay them what they believe they need to pay them just to keep them on the job. When an open dialogue exists, an organization can improve standing and relationships to yield greater results using fewer people and resources. This takes care, finance, and follow-through regarding accountability and responsibility of what can be expected in the form of deliverables. Sex and gender, in association with work and life balance, are all very important components in the workplace today. What the individual, the team, and the organization choose to do about this could make the difference between mediocrity and excellence. The organization that is willing to strive for excellence will often be open to looking at the opportunities of what is working and continually improving from there. As you review the concepts, consider the practices that can be put in place at all levels to achieve greater results, greater productivity, and a dynamic that is unsurpassed. Determine the need of the individual based on circumstance; the need may involve gender, religion, orientation, or position. The needs may also be socioeconomic, financial, or geographic. Skill level, aptitude, and attitude are factors as well. It is important to review expectations and abilities at every level or position. The employee and applicant have a vital role within the organization; otherwise, the position would not exist. Too many companies are trimming the fat and keeping only what is necessary, but these positions may shift in responsibility. A director of operations position in the early 2000s may look very different in the 2020s. The resources, equipment, human capital, policies, and practices all have a valid value that is associated with them. The better we understand this data that is collected through different means, the better we can then adjust the organization accordingly to make the necessary changes and add value for greater end results.

Reference Bell, M. P. (2017). Diversity in organizations (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.

Suggested Unit Resources In order to access the following resources, click the links below. The following article offers some different tips to create work-life balance in the organization. Donovan, M. (2016). When work-life balance policies don’t work. Leadership Excellence Essentials, 33(8), 37.

https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/logi n.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=117502631&site=ehost-live&scope=site

The following article looks at financial planning and how it may affect work-life balance and decision-making for individuals. The epic fail of work-life balance. (2016). Financial Planning, 46(11), A6.

https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/logi n.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=119252281&site=ehost-live&scope=sitehttps://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=117502631&site=ehost-live&scope=sitehttps://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=119252281&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Do you think workplace diversity should be driven by balancing differences or by hiring and selecting the most qualified person for the position? Why?

Minimum Requirements:  Kindly address the discussion question(s) by submitting a Reflective Response. Reflective is defined as characterized by or manifesting careful thought: a thoughtful essay. occupied with or given to thought; contemplative; meditative; reflective: in a thoughtful mood, careful, heedful, or mindful.

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