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THE NEW OFFICE Employers face a more diverse workplace


By the year 2000, white males will decline to approximately 40 percent of the labor force, according to projections by Monthly Labor Review. Women will increase to 47 percent, blacks and Hispanics will each make up about 10 percent of the labor pool, and Asians will amount to almost 4 percent.

Organizations are implementing several strategies to help resolve issues caused by an increasingly diverse work force:

* Cultural sensitivity training. Typically, sensitivity training consists of one- to two-day programs where participants receive information on the cultural differences of employees. Videotapes, role-playing and small group discussions appear to be helpful.

* Employee teams. Task and focus groups of a cross section of employees are becoming popular as a means of offering ideas, testing programs and providing feedback on diversity issues.

* Special minority recruiting. Experts predict that as many as 75 percent of the organizations in the major industries will have special minority-recruiting programs within the next five years. Programs may define recruiting goals, recruit in specific cultural communities and train managers how to recruit minorities.

* English as a second language. Many organizations that have a large number of employees who have a primary language other than English will offer English classes to help improve communication.

* Extended child-care leaves. More organizations will likely provide paid leaves for mothers and/or fathers during and after childbirth. Some will also allow working parents to take sick leave time for sick children.

Forward-looking managers are implementing programs to accommodate diversity in the work force before labor-relations issues emerge.

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