Employees’ perceptions towards workplace diversity in a financial institution operating in the Western Cape
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Although South Africa is 18 years into creating a unique diversity management strategy, individuals - directly affected by diversity in organisation will differ completely from those individuals that have not been affected by diversity in organisations at all. The subject of diversity management has become a contentious issue causing disagreement and argument is in the last couple of years. Many organisations find it difficult to grasp the concept of diversity, thus creating an opportunity for organisational development consultants and management to make substantial profit (Dombai & Verwey, 1999). In the current working environment and the continuous change of the organisation‟s employees, the workforce has become more diverse. This resulted in wider employee knowledge, skills, experience and attitude which will allow the organisation to become more competitive globally. It is of utmost importance for organisations attract and retain staff from different cultural and diverse group of order to improve the employee performance and the competitive advantage of the organisation (Ferreira & Coetzee, 2010). Cumming and Worley (2009, p. 506-509) postulate that “organisational transformation – and more specifically diversity management - is impacting on the bottom line results of the organisation”. Organisational transformation implies radical changes in how members perceive, think, and behave at work. They are concerned with fundamentality altering the prevailing assumptions about how the organisation function and relates to its environment. The study aimed at determining the employees‟ perception towards workplace diversity in a financial institution operating in the Western Cape. More specifically, the following questions will be investigated in this study: What are employees‟ perceptions of workplace diversity? Do employees differ in their views/perception of workplace diversity based on their age, race, job categories, gender, job status and qualification? To what extent is workplace diversity understood by employees? What challenges are being faced to effectively implement workplace diversity? Information was gathered from both secondary and primary resources. All relevant information that was not obtained from publications was gathered through the use of questionnaires that were completed by employees in the financial institution. The primary resources in this research study used are questionnaires that were distributed to employees in a financial institution to complete. Permission was obtained from executive management, provincial management, junior management and the human resources department to distribute the research study questionnaire to the staff in the financial institution. Data was analysed by using structural, methodical and clear reasoning. Data analysis, involving a descriptive study in order to determine the relationship between the employees‟ perception towards workplace diversity in a financial institution operating in the Western Cape The descriptive study created an understanding of the relationship between the employees‟ perception towards workplace diversity, for the researcher and the organisation. The Pearson method was used to determine whether there is a relationship between age, race, gender, job category and qualification and the perceptions of workplace diversity in a financial institution. The Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA)‟s ethical code of Professional Conduct for Psychologists was strictly adhered to. Voluntary participation was critical to the study because of the participants‟ time and energy required as well as asking participants to reveal personal information to the researcher. Permission to conduct the research was obtained from the financial institution where study was undertaken. Informed consent was obtained from participants before starting the data gathering process. Three hundred and nine (309) respondents completed a biographical questionnaire as well as the workplace diversity survey in order to understand their perception and understanding of workplace diversity. To ascertain the perception of workplace diversity, respondents completed a workplace diversity survey. While the results of the current study reveals interesting findings, the results should be interpreted with caution due to the size of the sample used which impacts the generalizability of the findings.