Chamber’s Region of Choice initiative documents growth in diverse hiring and advancement
MMAC announced progress by Milwaukee Region employers toward diverse hiring and advancement goals and reiterated its support for a sales tax increase to fund critical quality of life services for the City and County of Milwaukee during its 160th All Member Meeting on Tuesday night.
During the meeting, held at the newly remodeled Bradley Symphony Center in downtown Milwaukee, MMAC also recognized health care and business leaders for their efforts during the pandemic and presented its Champion of Commerce award to Dr. John Raymond, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.
MMAC President Tim Sheehy thanked Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, for providing steady leadership during his two-year term as MMAC’s Board Chair. He also welcomed incoming Chair Cathy Jacobson, President and CEO of Froedtert Health, along with several newly elected board members.
Region of Choice initiative: Progress on diverse hiring and advancement
In 2019, MMAC ranked Milwaukee against 20 peer metro areas using 7 measures of prosperity. We found that Milwaukee has the largest gap in prosperity between its White population and its African American and Hispanic/Latino populations.
To help close these gaps by improving the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse talent, MMAC launched an employer-led effort to make Milwaukee a Region of Choice (ROC) for All. Employers participating in the initiative pledged to collectively increase African American and Hispanic/Latino employment -- as a percentage of their overall employment -- by 15%, and management by 25%, over five years.
Since announcing the Region of Choice initiative in 2019, employer participation grew by 94% to 120 organizations that employ 119,700 people in the region.
On Tuesday, MMAC announced the first round of results:
“This initiative highlights what we do best: collaborate to improve our standing as a place to work and live,” Prising said. “The Region of Choice initiative is not a moment, but a movement committed to producing a measurable impact. We can be pleased with our progress so far, but not satisfied. We know we have more work to do.”
Survey of Milwaukee Region managers
MMAC also commissioned a survey of management employees within companies that are participating in the Region of Choice initiative. More than 2,000 management employees answered two questions:
Their responses were scored on a scale from 1-10 using a widely accepted measurement called a Net Promoter Score. Those that rate their experience a 9 or 10 are considered “promoters” – enthusiastic supporters. Those giving a rating between 1 and 6 are considered “detractors.” The 7s and 8s are regarded as “passives.” The score is calculated by setting aside the passives, then subtracting the detractors from the promotors. For example, if 60 percent are promotors, and 40 percent are detractors, the score is 20.
In our survey, the experiences of the management employees reflected positively on the companies, with a total average score of 61. The ratings vary widely by race. The rating from White managers was 69, while it was 46 from Hispanic/Latino managers and 21 from African American managers. Overall, 92 percent of survey respondents said they believe their employer has made a greater commitment to equity and inclusion over the past two years.
“When asked what would improve equity and inclusion at their companies, managers offered a range of ideas, including providing anti-bias training to all employees, increasing diversity within candidate pools and search committees and holding open and transparent listening sessions with top leadership,” MMAC Executive Vice President Julie Granger said.
Next steps for MMAC include:
The survey also applied the Net Promoter Score to our second survey question, “Would you recommend Milwaukee as a place to live?” This is the first time the net promoter score has been used to rate a region, making it difficult to draw comparisons to other cities.
The Net Promoter Score for metro Milwaukee from all respondents was plus-16. The most important takeaway was the vast difference in ratings by race. Metro Milwaukee’s rating among White managers was 23, while it was 6 for Hispanic and Latino managers -- and minus-37 for African American managers.
“Managers gave high marks to metro Milwaukee’s restaurants, sports, entertainment, vibrant downtown and natural beauty. The biggest negatives were crime, racial segregation, income inequality and political divides,” MMAC Vice President of Community Engagement Corry Joe Biddle said. “Both workplace and community affect Milwaukee’s ability to attract and retain talent. Next steps include meeting with local and state elected leaders to share these findings and identify actions that we can take to improve our assets and address these liabilities.”
MMAC support for sales tax
Tuesday’s meeting included a panel discussion of regional budget challenges and potential solutions with Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson and State Senator Dale Kooyenga.
Noting that competition between regions to attract talented workers is intensifying, MMAC President Tim Sheehy called budget issues “a clear and present danger to the region’s livability.” Sheehy reiterated the Association’s support for legislation that would allow a sales tax increase.
“Wisconsin law prohibits the City of Milwaukee from levying a sales tax, and Milwaukee County from levying an additional sales tax,” Sheehy said. “And for the past decade the state has broken its commitment to share its growing revenue from sales and income taxes generated here. This places a unique fiscal constraint on the City and County, impacting their ability to support key quality-of-life services.”
MMAC Champion of Commerce award: Dr. John Raymond, Medical College of Wisconsin
To honor his contributions to MMAC and the Milwaukee Region’s business community, we presented John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, President and CEO of MCW, with the Champion of Commerce award. In a time of great confusion and disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, having consistent access to vetted, accurate information has been critical to business and community leaders. And this was only possible thanks to the work of Dr. Raymond and the MCW team.
“We’re so thankful to Dr. Raymond and the Medical College team for their tireless work on behalf of the Milwaukee community,” Sheehy said. “This is unlike any crisis we’ve seen in our lifetimes, and accurate information made all the difference as businesses had to make difficult decisions in the best interests of their companies, their employees and their customers. We at MMAC also needed information to frame our regular discussions with local and state health departments. From the beginning of the pandemic to where we are today, we knew we could count on Dr. Raymond and the MCW team.”
During the initial stages of the pandemic, Dr. Raymond briefed the MMAC’s Board of Directors on a weekly basis. The Medical College team provided health and safety toolkits that MMAC distributed to members of the business community. Dr. Raymond and Sheehy also hosted a series of webinars to inform the community -- appearing six times a week during the first several months of the pandemic, reaching thousands of virtual audience members. Those webinars continue today, now on a monthly cadence, and Dr. Raymond and Tim also appear on a weekly segment on WTMJ Radio.
“As a health and science leader, when something of this magnitude happens, I feel it is our responsibility as an institution to step up and care for our communities with the depth of collaborative expertise we have,” Dr. Raymond said. “I am honored that our work here at MCW can continue to make an impact during this extremely challenging pandemic.”
MMAC leadership update
To conclude Tuesday’s meeting, Prising concluded his two-year term as Board Chair by welcoming Jacobson as MMAC’s 77th Chair.
“Thank you, Jonas, your global perspective helped us see the pandemic early, speeding our reaction. Your leadership of the Region of Choice initiative is foundational to the region’s prosperity. And we are all appreciative of your energetic leadership over the past two years,” Jacobson said. “I’m honored to serve as Chair, and genuinely excited to get to work.”
MMAC also welcomed the following new board members, recently elected by the membership:
Jon Adams, Columbus McKinnon Corp
Dana Guthrie, Gateway Capital Partners
Bob Hau, Fiserv
Adam Jelen, Gilbane Building Co.
Chris Miskel, Versiti
Andy Nunemaker, Groupware Technologies
About the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
For more than 150 years, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has been serving area businesses as a private, not-for-profit organization. Today we represent approximately 1,800 member businesses with 300,000 employees in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties and beyond. Our mission is to improve metro Milwaukee as a place to invest capital, grow business and create jobs. mmac.org
If your company is already a member of MMAC, thank you for your investment in growing your business and building the Milwaukee Region. If your company is not yet a member, but is interested in exploring the benefits of joining, please contact our membership team.