The Diverse Workforce Team is charged with recommending changes to the UW–Madison Human Resources system that would enhance workforce diversity. Many of the recommendations we might suggest fall into the scopes of other Work Teams within the Human Resources Design project. We will be working with each of these teams to ensure that their recommendations enhance diversity. At the same time, the Diverse Workforce Team identified workplace climate as vital to achieving the UW-Madison’s goal to enhance workforce diversity. This does not fall under the scope of any other work team. Briefly, workplace climate can be defined as “the atmosphere or ambience of an organization as perceived by its member” Research shows that persons who are under-represented in some way tend to perceive a more negative climate than others, and that this more negative climate leads to a higher intention to leave the university, and ultimately, attrition from the university. Thus, improving workplace climate can enhance our workforce diversity by improving employee retention
To improve workplace climate, the Diverse Workforce Team offers four recommendations:
- Ensure that new employees to the UW–Madison are appropriately welcomed into their new units. We suggest following the recommendations provided in the 2009 Reaccreditation report.
- Ensure that all individual employees have a responsibility for the climate in their units, by treating their co-workers with respect, consideration, and valuing their contributions to the workplace. Employees should be held accountable for upholding this responsibility.
- In addition to a personal responsibility to treat others with respect, employees who direct the work of others have an additional responsibility to ensure that their units have positive climate. These directors/supervisors/managers/PIs should be held accountable for upholding this responsibility.
- Expand and promote campus resources that provide diversity- and equity-related training and expertise, so that UW-Madison employees can accomplish the new climate-related work expectations outlined in the recommendations above.
The Diverse Workforce Team believes that an improved workplace climate for all UW–Madison employees will enhance both our recruitment of diverse individuals (in the broadest sense of diversity), and also our retention of them. Improved climate and diversity at UW–Madison will help the UW–Madison remain the innovative world-class university it is today.