Kenya is in East Africa, covers an area of 580,000 square kilometers and has the population of approximately 43 million residents. Its capital city is Nairobi, which is a regional commercial hub being one of the most attractive in terms of business location. The service industry is one of the largest economic drivers in the country. It has fueled the need to scout for an opportunity in the region. According to the World Bank, the use of cell phones in Kenya has increased by 25%, and the use of the Internet rose by 60%. It translates to a higher demand for both mobile handsets and communication service providers. With the above factors in mind, setting up a communication company in Kenya will pay off. The company’s strategy should aim at the provision of mobile handsets and communication services.
Strategy Used in Managing Different Kinds of Diversity and Equality
In setting up and running a company, several peculiarities arise, both internal and external. As part of a company strategy, it is vital to aim at tackling various adversities as they arise, creating a blueprint on the go. The strategy that the company ought to adopt in this case is to set-up a full time department that will solely handle the issues of diversity and equality. It should comprise at least three people, who should be well-versed in the issues of the Kenyan law and human resources. One of the members of the department should be answerable to a board member.
The first challenge that the department should be tasked with is gender equality. It should come up with a gender-sensitive employee placement strategy, which should ensure that a company achieves its set goals of being gender-sensitive. Another example of diversity involves disability. Civil societies and other minority groups that address disabled persons’ rights have become extremely vocal. It means that companies operating in Kenya need to address the issue of the handicapped. For example, a firm should aim to hire persons with various disabilities. One of the best strategies is to hire blind people, who can be valuable to a call center. Creating an environment that caters for people with disabilities will also be a right step. It should include ramps for wheelchairs, Braille equipment, visual signage for the deaf, and other elements.
In the recent past, Kenya has experienced tribal clashes. It means that the issue of tribalism is undoubtedly crucial. It calls for a strategy aimed at compliance in hiring of various tribes in the company. Religion differences in Kenya have not been a significant issue. However, it is worthwhile noting that different religions do exist in this country. It calls for the recognition of the same by companies. Some of the factors to consider including recognizing of different religious holidays, allowing employees to observe their weekly/Sabbath rituals and conduct various rites, for example, allowing Christian, Muslim and Hindu prayers (Trompenaars & Turner 2000).
Sexual orientation differences remain a topic mostly avoided in Kenya. However, this does not mean that different sexual orientation should crop up once in a while. In order to avoid falling in the limelight as an organization that does not uphold the moral standards set by the country, it will be beneficial to conform to the norms set by the Kenyan society.
Furthermore, age is also a crucial factor. It is because the younger generation seems to have more energy than the older one. It has partly led to a difference between the two. It consists on the fact when the older generation views the younger one as too vigorous and over-ambitious. The latter views the former as backward people, who should retire. This conflict may be twisted to the advantage of an organization. In this case, it may rely on ideas generated by the older generation, who are more experienced. The latter relies on the energy of the younger generation in implementing their ideas. Thus, middle-aged people should be sought during the hiring process. It may be a highly sensitive issue if the age average tends to tip to one side (Harvard business review on managing diversity 2001).
Educational background is another diversity that should be addressed while managing diversities in the company. It may come out as being a minor difference in the region. It is because people in Kenya regard education highly. Most of the population has attained or is aiming to attain graduate education. It comes as a plus to a company as it will not have a highly qualified workforce. By calling for the setting of a benchmark, this will ensure that it does not lean too much on the highly educated and forget other talented workers, who may be required. It would be prudent to hire highly qualified senior and middle management.
Union affiliation is a leading diversity that should be analyzed. Considering that Kenya is a developing nation, this will be an extraordinarily vital area of concern. While it will be wise to allow employees of a company to be part of a union, this should be keenly monitored as it may turn out to be a substantial obstacle to achieving the company’s goals. As a good business practice, it should be used in order to ensure that employees do not receive unjust treatment (Boatright 2009). One of the ways is to have union heads be aware of the position of a company, and occasionally surprise all employees (both union members and those, who are not) with gifts of appreciation, peg the same on hard work and achievement of targets or set goals.
Income is another diversity, which a company faces. As it establishes itself in Kenya, it should find out the local industry sources of income. A proper move is to have the company’s income level avoid extremes. While high levels may be unsustainable, low ones can create enormous dissatisfaction leading to high employee turnover. In the long run, it will be expensive to a company due to hiring and training costs, as well as teething problems that come about with a change in employees.
Management status is a diversity that arises as an organization grows (Fernandez & Barr 1993). It is a result of individuals seeking recognition as part of the top brass of a company. Communication and encouraging teamwork play a vital role in ensuring that management status is a tool of motivation rather than a negative diversity. Through effective communication, a company informs employees and other stakeholders about its policies. By means of this, employees will understand that rewards depend on performance and merit. The management does not have to struggle excessively in attaining standards that he, or she wants. It only requires some level of discipline and commitment to what he or she is doing.
Diversity should also prevail in the form of departmental units. Though the goal of every organization is to work as a team, departments have to be set up to ensure that they tap talent. Moreover, each employee should handle things, in which they are best. It calls for continual motivation of employees and constant reminder of the importance of specialization. It is also vital to develop a culture of working together while respecting each specialty (Cartwright 2002).
Limitations of the Adopted Approach
Among limitations that the company may face in using the departmental approach to manage diversity and equality include costs. The new department set up will call for use of resources to maintain the department. In addition to that, as the firm aims at accommodating various disabled persons, it will incur enormous expenditures. It will also incur money in modifying a building physically, purchasing additional equipment, setting up distinct signage, and conducting additional training. The latter is for other non-disabled persons in order to train them how to co-exist with the disabled.
Resistance is a limitation that the departmental approach will face. It is a result of it being a new concept. It may solicit mixed reactions from various people, as they react differently to the issue of establishing a new department. It happens in order to look into areas that they may find irrelevant and having no value addition.
Succession planning is another limitation of this strategy. It requires the creation of an elaborate succession plan. It means that the company will have an additional department to worry about, should a member of the same retire or quit.
The departmental approach is in constant conflict with the human resources department. It is a serious limitation in the day-to-day running of both the HR and the diversity management departments. It calls for a clear definition of what each unit does, as pertains to HR and other roles that require a new department. However, due diligence should be exercised, as an extremely thin line exists between roles handled by each department.
The duplication of roles is another limitation that will face the departmental approach. Conflicts that may arise in different units may be handled by the department in question only for the same to appear as a diversity issue calling for the intervention of a new division. It means that some issues will be handled more than once creating tension between the two departments.
One more limitation is a high level of compromise, which a company allows. If there is no transparency in the hiring process, political influences may affect operations. A firm may hire persons from certain tribes. It means that the company will at some point overlook a qualified person to hire the one from a certain tribe (Hultgren 1950). It implies that the company will lose highly qualified persons and opt to meet the workplace tribal goal. It only cripples operations, as employees cannot perform in the same way as qualified persons do. The department set up should not compromise on quality based on tribal affiliations and other interests. These will only ruin the company significantly.
Another limitation is that the management of diversities is time-consuming (Stieglitz 1965). It results because every unique need requires its own detail. Be it religion, disability, sexual orientation, all needs require attention by a member of a company. It also calls for numerous meetings happening on a day-to-day basis. Some decisions have to be handled by senior management, particularly issues that relate to additional spending and hiring.
Finally, the management of diversities can lead to redirecting of resources to other areas. This is an opportunity cost since the company could have used them to achieve the company’s targets, can assist in managing this issues. An example of it is the time of company executives.
One of the ways to minimize resistance in the use of the departmental approach is to ensure that line managers understand the concept of a new department. It will in turn result that all managers recognize the new department’s role and respect the same. This understanding can be created by informing other departments of the roles that diversity and equality managers will be handling.
If there are the diversities of tribe, sexual orientation and disability, the company should aim at offering short-term contracts in order to tap on the qualified personnel for some time that will be beneficial and not be too long to solicit attention internally or externally. It will also be a cost-effective action as it means that the company will hire highly qualified persons at a low cost. In addition to that, permanent costs, such as pension and gratuities, will be avoided (Thomas 1996).
Another critical way of managing diversity is communication (Eicher 2009). It involves both internal and external parties. Once an organization communicates its intentions on ways, in which it intends to manage diversities, this will be a step in the right direction. All parties will be aware of the role to play, what to expect and even encourage members of the staff to generate ideas and suggestions.
Diversity training is another recommendation in the management of this issue by any company. All staff members will need training so as to create awareness about the existence of diversity. Though it should focus on senior and middle-level managers, other staff members should be included in the same on an occasional basis (Samuels 1995).
Learning from other organizations is a critical recommendation. If an organization is at its take off stage, it will be prudent to seek guidance from other industry players in the same region (Kenya). It can help reduce time that it will waste since a firm learns pitfalls that another company has experienced. Developing on this, company should join professional organizations, member clubs, and participate in corporate events.
Benchmarking of all actions taken by the company can ensure that it forms an action blue print that details what to do and what to avoid. It enables other members of the company to get to see what has worked well and what to avoid. It will also act as a mode of grooming new leaders, who take over the organization.
Succession planning is another way to manage diversity. Once the company kicks off, and there is the management of this issue, it is paramount to ensure that the same remains as long as the firm operates. It means that an elaborate succession plan should be put in place so as to maximize benefits achieved from the management of diversity.
It is recommended to include diversity as part of the company’s strategic plan (Moss 2010). After it has been done, resources are established to ensure proper management, and the maximization of benefits accrued from it. It will also ensure that it is well-detailed and that the time allocated to the achievement of the outlined goals is in the strategic plan. Diversity and equality will bring equal treatment in an organization. All promotions become performance-oriented and not a favor. If one performs well, he or she gets his rightful share. It brings an aspect of democracy in an organization. Moreover, it motivates employees to work hard (Marques 2010).
Another recommendation with regard to managing equality and diversity is encouraging and enforcing accountability (Czinkota &Ronkainen 1998). Leaders of the company should be tasked with being accountable for everything that they do as it pertains to the management of diversity. Their results should also be tied to how well they manage this issue in the organization, as this is key in the day-to-day running of the organization. Accountability promotes transparency (Foley 1999). Any company should account for all transactions that happen within its boundaries. Accountability also reduces corruption, which can lead a business to crumble. Promoting this aspect is possible through the proper maintenance of books of accounts, auditing and frequent reviews. Moreover, it involves checking the assets of a company to ascertain their presence on a frequent basis.
Diversity management has no clear-cut way of going about it. It calls for the use of various methods depending on a difference in question (Smith & Smith 2006). However, diligence should be exercised in order to avoid spending lots of resources on managing diversities that may not be cost-effective. A prudent thing is to have a diversity management plan in place, and conduct an analysis of the cost implication of the same.
The management of equality and diversity is crucial for companies. It comprises a liberal concept, which upholds equality in the process of transacting business. Individuals freely and equally compete for rewards. It does not favor anybody, but allows democracy to prevail. It rewards most employees and other stakeholders in a business on a free and fair basis. This set up does not discriminate anybody. Moreover, it upholds making of radical changes when necessary and happens in order to create a balance between workforces. Changes are essential in a business set up in order to concentrate on the quality of output. Managing equality and diversity is also vital since it brings transformational changes. In return, the latter cater for short-term as well as long-term needs, as well as such processes as hiring, and making sure that they are free from bias. The process of managing diversity also includes the process of implementation, which must start from top administrators. They are the people to influence junior officers.