Why Inclusion?

Labor force projections indicate that Fond du Lac County is likely to see a worker shortage as baby-boomers retire.  There will not be enough local workers to fill the open jobs which means companies will step up efforts to attract and retain talent from outside the region. (View an interactive illustration).

Is your business prepared for a future economy in which the best new workers are not local and can choose anywhere in the country to work? Will you be able to keep your current high-performers? Fond du Lac County UW-Extension is partnering with other local companies and human resource professionals to make sure our region becomes a destination of choice for the best workers.

In 2009, our group studied the largest employers in the county to find out whether they were doing anything special to attract and retain people of color, since the next generation of workers is more racially and ethnically diverse than current workers. Employers in the study told us that employee engagement was especially key for newcomers to the area, whatever their background.  Getting newcomers connected to others in the workplace and community was an important factor to their longevity with the company. Employees of color who participated in focus groups said they appreciated work environments that were uniformly respectful to all employees and that were genuinely committed to valuing the strengths of each person. (View final report)

From these conversations and analysis of the employer survey, we determined inclusion to be an important theme for businesses to consider as we move in to a new economic era.  In our research, we discovered that about 20 companies in the area are finding their attraction and retention efforts to be successful. These “Inclusion Leader” companies are already enjoying the benefits of reduced turn-over, increased productivity, and high employee engagement. They routinely survey their employees to find out what is working, what isn’t, and what can improve it. Their businesses are thriving because they are creating environments in which workers can bring all of their strengths and ingenuity to their work performance. (See videos about inclusion practices at Mid-States Aluminum, Aurora Health Care, Charter Communications, and Michels Corporation human resource managers discussing inclusive practices they use.)

To better prepare employers in the region for a changing workforce, UW-Extension has developed an employee survey. We hope you consider joining us in this opportunity to improve your business and our future.

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