Small Business Committee Investigates Diversity Issues in the Workplace

Posted Date: 
June 15, 2011

Uzma Burki, Owner/Principal from Altvia Consulting, LLC discusses diversity in the workplace with the Chamber's Small Business Committee.

The Small Business Committee hosted Uzma Burki, Owner/Principal from Altvia Consulting, LLC for a presentation entitled, “Population Demographic Changes and Its Implications in the Workplace”. Led by Committee Vice-Chair Judy Stephenson, President of OfficePro, the group discussed the advantages of maintaining a diverse workforce.

Burki explained that diversity in the workforce is not only demographic, but includes a diversity of thought. She explained how diversity is a tangible essential to businesses and in their interest to be protected from legal and reputation liability. Additionally, understanding diversity of perspective is important to embracing the incoming workforce from “Generation Y”. According to Burki’s presentation, current trends in diversity have a major impact on the future of the workforce.

Understanding the many aspects of diversity in the workplace assists businesses in incorporating the needs of employees from different backgrounds. For example, Burki discussed multi-generational issues, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, performance recognition, and developmental and career opportunities as spheres where employee expectations vary. She spoke to how the workforce now includes four generations with distinct learning styles and attitudes towards work. A company may have a traditionalist, a baby boomer, a “Generation Y”, and a millennial and how their different perspectives can generate enhanced productivity.  

To illustrate this concept, Burki introduced diversity as a conceptual iceberg where only 10% of a person’s background is visible through race and ethnicity.  Other components of a person’s diversity include their values, norms, etiquette, learning styles, thought processes, approaches to problem solving, and assumptions that are not visible if a company views diversity strictly in terms of demographics.

For a copy of Uzma Burki’s presentation to the Chamber’s Small Business Committee, please click here.

MCCC Strategic Partners