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Inclusion: Diverse Workforce

What is it?

WSDOT strives to reflect, be sensitive to and understand the communities we serve while valuing our diverse workforce. We show this through (click through the tabs to discover):


Diverse Workforce Index

How do we measure a diverse workforce?

We survey employees annually. WSDOT’s “Diverse Workforce Index” measures the success of our inclusion efforts. The index gives equal weight to two statements our employees are asked to score in an annual engagement survey. Clicking the tabs above will give you more information on each.


Progress  
2019
Diverse Workforce Index
87% on track status icon
on track

WSDOT employees were asked to indicate their agreement with two workforce diversity statements, bulleted below.

  • I am comfortable seeking perspectives from people who are different from me.
  • People I work with treat others with dignity and respect.

  • More about a diverse workforce

    Why is a diverse workforce important?

    WSDOT strives to be an employer of choice – attracting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce. Our efforts to achieve workforce diversity – employing individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives – will help us establish an agency with a competitive edge. A diverse workforce drives innovation and development of new ideas, helping WSDOT meet its mission and project delivery goals on behalf of the people of Washington state.

    How are we doing?

    In 2018 WSDOT added two agency-specific questions to measure diversity. The results provides us with a benchmark on current workforce landscape on inclusion in the workplace. In the 2019 Employee Engagement Survey, our average index score was 87% which is an increase of 3% from last year’s results.

    What are we working on?

    As the agency continues to build a work environment that is respectful and inclusive, WSDOT continues to assess ways to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our policies, development and leadership training and work culture. We will continue to emphasis and highlight our agencies values and goal areas in our daily work, in addition to identifying training opportunities for inclusion, civility and building a respectful work environment.

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    Employee comfort with differences

    How do we measure employee comfort with differences?

    We survey employees annually. In 2019, 91% of employees responded positively to the statement “I am comfortable seeking perspectives from people who are different from me.”


    Progress  
    2019
    91% on track status icon
    on track

    More about employee comfort with differences

    Why is a diverse workforce a priority?

    WSDOT strives to be an employer of choice – attracting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce. The agency understands making efforts to achieve workforce diversity that aims to employ individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives will help us establish an organization with a competitive edge – driving innovation and development of new ideas. Thus, helping the agency meet its mission and project delivery goals to the people of Washington state.

    WSDOT values the importance of creating an environment in which all employees can feel included and empowered to bring unique ideas to the agency. The agency believes embracing different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives will foster growth and advancement in the workplace. It understands inclusion and diversity of thought fosters the kind of creativity that champions change and innovation.

    How are we doing?

    To gather employee opinion and help us measure diversity, WSDOT added the statement, “I am comfortable seeking perspective from people who are different from me” to the 2018 Employee Engagement Survey. In the 2019 survey, the number of employees who responded positively increased by 3%. We hope to continue to see this increased positive response next year. This data provides insight into our current workforce landscape on inclusion.

    What are we working on?

    As the agency continues to build a work environment that is respectful and inclusive, WSDOT will assess ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into development and leadership training, in addition to identifying training opportunities for inclusion, civility and building a respectful work environment. We will continue to find ways to communicate and highlight the agency’s values and goal areas.

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    Dignity and respect

    How do we measure dignity and respect?

    We survey employees annually. In 2019, 82% of employees responded positively to the statement “People I work with treat others with dignity and respect.”


    Progress  
    2019
    82% on track status icon
    on track

    More about dignity and respect in the workplace

    Why is a diverse workforce a priority?

    WSDOT strives to be an employer of choice – attracting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce. The agency understands making efforts to achieve workforce diversity that aims to employ individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives will help us establish an organization with a competitive edge – driving innovation and development of new ideas. Thus, helping the agency meet its mission and project delivery goals to the people of Washington state. WSDOT values our workforce differences and strives to cultivate a culture that encourages our employees to come to work reflective of their true selves. As the agency continues to make efforts in this goal, we understand gauging our workforce on their experience on inclusive and respectful workplace is a factor and behavior that plays an important role in fostering an inclusive work environment and making WSDOT an employer of choice.

    How are we doing?

    To identify our employees’ experience relating to an inclusive and respectful workplace, in the 2018 Employee Engagement Survey we added this statement – “People I work with treat me with dignity and respect.” The number of employees who responded positively to this statement in the 2019 survey increased by 1% from the 2018 survey, and we hope this trend continues. This data provides insight into our current workforce landscape on inclusion.

    What are we working on?

    As the agency continues to build a work environment that is respectful and inclusive, WSDOT continues to assess ways to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our policies, development and leadership training, and work culture. We will continue to emphasis and highlight our agency’s values and goal areas in our daily work, in addition to identifying training opportunities for inclusion, civility and building a respectful work environment.

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    WSDOT's Diversity Advisory Group

    Spotlight status icon Spotlight on WSDOT's Diversity Advisory Group

    The mission of WSDOT’s Diversity Advisory Group (DAG) is to promote and sustain a working environment that values diversity by integrating the principles of respect and inclusion throughout the agency. The original DAG is a group of employee representatives from all WSDOT regions and headquarters that advises agency executive leadership in supporting strategic diversity efforts throughout the agency.

    The DAG has the lead in the development, focus and continuous process toward diversity at WSDOT. Not only is it a forum to share ideas, the group promotes training, resources, activities and events that foster understanding, awareness and inclusiveness of diverse backgrounds. Under the agency’s new strategic plan, WSDOT has increased these efforts, with an objective of moving beyond a single DAG to developing a vibrant, active DAG at each major work site to share and expand diversity knowledge.

    DAG WSDOT members
    Members of WSDOT’s Diversity Advisory Group promote and sustain a work
    environment that values diversity, integrating the principles of respect and inclusion throughout the agency.

    More information about the Diversity Advisory Group

    Why is DAG important?

    WSDOT continues to build a diversity program that acknowledges issues that occur in the workplace, with a goal of educating employees including management. The group strives to grow an organizational culture that encourages, understand and embraces inclusion and diversity, through education and open discussion.

    How are we doing?

    The DAG has taken steps over the last year to revamp, rebrand and repurpose its goals and strategies to better align with overall agency goal areas and initiatives. This realignment helps the DAG establish a greater presence within WSDOT. The DAG has launched a consistent messaging campaign statewide that recognizes various observance months such as Black History Month (February), Pride Month (June) and International Human Rights Day (December 10).

    In addition, the DAG helped recognize the need for, and then recommended how to increase awareness and encourage diverse interview panels. While these efforts helped better align DAG activities with agency initiatives, the original structure of the group limited opportunities for maximum participation and representation of employees within the organization. The original DAG structure also did not allow regional leadership to be involved and accountable for DAG-related activities.

    What are we working on?

    In state fiscal year 2019 (July 2018 - June 2019), WSDOT has been working on developing regional local diversity groups. One benefit of this local, tailored approach is that diversity discussions can engage more employees from a wider cross-section of the agency. This increases our chance of effecting meaningful, positive change. These will also align DAG efforts with existing inclusion and workforce development efforts.

    As of June 2019 the agency has kicked off five regional local DAGs with three more scheduled to launch by the end of 2019. The established groups have been working on creating a charter and setting annual goals and actions. Once all local diversity group have been created, each group will select one to two members to be a part of the Statewide Leadership Diversity Advisory Group (SLDAG). The SLDAG will be a community of practice where representatives share ideas to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that support the agency’s direction.

    DAG WSDOT South Central Region members
    South Central Region DAG members

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