Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Essay on Diversity

Essay on Diversity

1. There is no doubt that diversity efforts at McDonald’s and Starbucks are good business practices. On the mundane level of fact, lasting commercial success of these companies is linked to their HR practices, at least to a certain extent. Also, despite the fact that working environment a both companies is intense and stressful, both remain rated high among graduates and more seasoned professionals as a desired career destination. This perception has a lot to do with McDonald’s and Starbucks’ ability to offer equal advancement opportunities for all employees, regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability.

There is a strong business case for diversity build on allowing new talent and ideas as well as enhancing employee attraction and retention, which in turn leads to increased market share and lower costs. Perhaps allowing new ideas and perspectives is of lesser importance than employee attraction and retention given the standardized nature of work in fast food industry. However, at the level of management, making use of various experiences and knowledge is important for any company.


It can even be argued that McDonald’s and Starbucks are so entrenched in our society that they have become like social institutions. Society members develop a deep association with a certain social institution if they feel they and their group are represented there. Thus, it can be argued that diversity helps to attract customers as well: if customers interact with people of their ethnicity, gender and age group during their customer experience, they are more likely to develop strong brand loyalty.

2. Despite the evidence that diversity training has enjoyed limited success, Cracker Barrel and Denny’s should devise a uniform training program to educate all employees occupying relevant positions in all of their locations. Companies’ management should put diversity issue at the top of the agenda. Denny’s already has experience of successful campaigns aimed at addressing diversity issues and remedying their public image, so any new initiate designed to attract potential employees with a disability should follow the lines of their campaign on proactive hiring of minorities. At Cracker Barrel, the focus should be on gender equality.

The first step these companies should take in addressing their diversity problem is to design and communicate clear and consistent policies on equal treatment, sexual harassment and other related issues. A large number of sexual harassment incidents stems from a lack of understanding of what harassment actually is. For example, the definition of “hostile environment” is rather ambiguous and needs further clarification. At Cracker Barrel, both females and males have to be educated about sexual harassment: males should be communicated patters of acceptable behavior, while females should be training in spotting and identifying harassment. Furthermore, females need to know what to do in case of harassment; establishing a hotline for reporting relevant incidents is one of the possible scenarios. The company should elaborate an effective internal dispute resolution mechanism, so that harassment or discrimination cases could solved inside the company rather than trough public authorities, which would lead to negative coverage in the media.
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