It’s easy to be diverse on the frontline but how much does a company want diversity of thought in how a company is led? Look at the board room or the leadership team and all is revealed.
At Elite we believe diversity is the key to our success. We look to add people to our team who fit in with our team culturally but that bring different thoughts and ideas to the table. The way we are doing this is by proactively working to make sure our workforce reflects the diversity we see within the customers we serve.
Some of the things that we have done to embrace diversity is to not require college degrees in roles that we feel don’t require a degree. Those roles include our Outside Sales, Credit Manager and Branch Manager positions. Taking down barriers of entry into roles is one step we have taken to build a diverse team. Not requiring past job experience in the industry is another. Having a team where some members are seasoned veterans and others are new voices, pushes us to think outside the box and embrace new ways of thinking.
Having women in leadership roles in our company has shown female candidates we’re interviewing that there is potential for growth in our business if they work hard and prove themselves. It’s one thing to say you embrace diversity, it’s another to have diverse voices on your leadership team.
The other strategy we employ to embrace diversity is to promote from within based on attitude and teach the skills required for the role. Too often motivated, driven people are unable to move up in an organization because they lack computer skills for example. We have been able to create a more diverse workforce by hiring and promoting for attitude and training for skill. Many a branch manager in this industry began as a forklift operator and worked their way up. The world may have become more sophisticated but creating false barriers to entry like requiring a college degree in branch positions is not something we will ever choose to do.
Sarah Weiss is a founding partner and COO of Elite Roofing Services. Her full bio can be found here.