Nearly half the small companies surveyed by the Olsten Corp. reported increases in the number of womrn and racial minorities among their employees during the past five years. Managing a more diverse work force, including more immigrants and workers with disabilities, is challenging the managers of the 179 companies that responded to the survey, each of which had less than $50 million in annual sales. Companies are addressing cultural, communication, and training barriers primarily by promoting awareness about diverse cultures through internal communication.

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Increases in Diversity over the Past Five Years

Percentage of companies In entire In
reporting increases among: work force management
Women 49% 60%
Racial minorities 44 28
Immigrants 30 6
The disabled 19 4
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Greatest Challenges to Managing Diversity
Percentage of companies grappling with challenges (divided by category)

Attitudes/culture 58%

Communication 54

Need for more training 49

Providing career opportunities 37

Language barriers 23

Developing role models/mentors 19

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What Companies Have Done to Accommodate Diversity
Percentage of companies grappling with changes (divided by category)

Improve corporate communications 55%

Observe religious holidays 38

Offer seminars/training 34

Form a task force 20

Offer management training 18

Translate materials 15

Restructure benefits 15

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Source: "Workplace Social Issues of the 1990s," the Olsten Forum on Human Resource Issues and Trends, the Olsten Corp., Westbury, N.Y., 1992.