What is workforce diversity? Why does it matter? Workforce diversity is about creating employment opportunities for all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, and social economic status. Individuals benefit directly by having access to job opportunities in health care, making it possible to succeed during these difficult economic times. People working allow the local economy to grow and the entire community benefits from this growth. What better way for a health care organization to support the health and wellness of the community?
The health care organization benefits directly too. By actively recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce into the health care industry, hospitals will ease some of the resource constraints that they are now facing – a shortage of physicians and nurses. In addition, a diverse workforce allows for more innovation by bringing new ideas and perspectives into the industry, creating an opportunity for a paradigm shift – break through innovation is needed in this rapidly changing health care environment. Furthermore, the changing reimbursement model with health care reform is creating higher attention to the patient and family experience. By having caregivers that represents our entire population, patients and families who visit the hospital will undoubtedly connect with those providing care. Caregivers who understand cultural and social economic nuances are equipped to provide better patient care and an overall better experience. Not only is workforce diversity the right thing to do, health care reform demands it by connecting reimbursement rates to quality indicators and satisfaction surveys with the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers Systems (HCAHPS).
So how does a hospital drive workforce diversity?
- To develop true workforce diversity, the hospital must go well beyond traditional Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs. Their efforts must drive awareness into primary and secondary school systems. This awareness will attract individuals who may not otherwise find their way into the health care profession.
- The hospital can develop mentoring opportunities with individuals who want to pursue a career in the health care industry and encourage their active employees to spend time with the future workforce. In addition, the hospital can evaluate forming strategic partnerships with schools to foster the outreach and mentoring of students interested in the health care industry.
- The hospital should recruit employees outside the traditional access points into the organization. For example, the hospital can actively recruit from schools outside the geographic area or from schools that traditionally enroll a large minority student body.
So where do you start? Creating and fostering a diverse workforce can feel like a huge undertaking. We can't take the approach that this is someone else's problem. We need to take ownership of the situation. Take a small step forward as an individual, a department, or perhaps an entire organization. Create an opportunity for others and help create a vibrant community where we all want to live.
Economic Inclusion Vice President
Messer Construction Co.
Health Care Vice President
Messer Construction Co.
Messer holds as a core value that achieving and encouraging diversity within our workplace and on every Messer project is the lifeline of our future. It's not just something that we say we do; it is a key component of our business plan, and is critical to the economic vitality of the rich mix of diverse communities and customers that we serve. Supporting the growth and development of our industry’s diverse business partners and workforce creates sustainable change and leads to an improved quality of life for all citizens.