Diversifying your workforce makes dollars and sense

By: sschnipper May 19, 2024

As featured in FleetOwnerIDEAXCHANGE – Gino Fontana

Trucking is joining the ranks of other industries that are addressing the issue of diversity and inclusion in their workforce. The 2023 WIT Index, which was developed by the Women In Trucking Association, measures the percentage of women in critical transportation roles.

WIT included a question about company diversity and inclusion policies this year. More than half of the companies—56.4%—indicated that they have developed formal D&I policies. Another 19.3% said they are in the process of developing policies around diversity and inclusion.

This is a good thing for a number of reasons. Among them is the fact that diverse companies see 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee, at least according to Deloitte research. Another benefit is that a diverse workforce is likely to be more creative when it comes to problem-solving. Each member of a diverse team contributes their unique experiences and knowledge to help generate new ideas and solve existing problems.

Those are some pretty good reasons to work on developing a more diverse workforce. One other is that younger people expect to work in a diverse workplace.  Millennials and Gen Xers make up the majority of the workforce today. Pew Research says 35.5% of the workforce is from Gen X, and another 39.4% are millennials. As baby boomers retire, Gen Z will make up 30% of the workforce.

If you want to attract the best and the brightest of the younger generation, you are going to have to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that your workforce reflects the communities in which you do business. Younger people expect to work in a diverse environment, and that diversity is one of the factors that go into accepting a job offer.

Diversity and inclusion don’t just happen. As you recruit and hire, you should put in place policies and procedures as well as assess your corporate culture to ensure you are fostering inclusion once an individual joins your team.

My suggestion is that you begin looking at your recruiting practices. Something as simple as the images you use in your recruiting efforts can send a signal to job seekers. People want to be able to see themselves in a role; for example, if all your recruiting materials contain pictures of men, women may feel your business will not welcome them.

Like your safety initiatives, your diversity and inclusion efforts need management involvement. Organization leaders need to set the tone when it comes to diversity and inclusion and must set goals around improving the diversity of the company’s workforce.

Trucking seems to have a perennial worker shortage issue. Becoming more diverse opens up the talent pool and could give you a competitive advantage while boosting your revenue.