Seattle Children’s aims to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of patients and families served. Research shows this improves health outcomes, patient and family experience, and innovation. Diverse representation across all levels of the organization is important as every role — not only clinical providers- contributes to the whole Seattle Children’s culture and atmosphere and how patients and families experience Seattle Children’s.
Currently meeting the goal of 40% employee racial and ethnic diversity, Seattle Children’s numbers are moving the right direction. Over the past five years, Seattle Children’s has seen the following progress:
Racial and ethnic diversity has continued to increase in both the patient and employee population; employee racial and ethnic diversity is outpacing patient diversity (an increase of 3.8% compared to 2.4%). Currently, there is concordance between patients and employees who are Black/African American (both represent 6.6–6.7% of their respective populations) and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders (0.8% of their respective populations).
However, the Hispanic/Latinx population remains the area where Seattle Children’s has the biggest opportunity relative to its patient population with patients representing 19.1% and employees representing 7.7% of their respective populations.
The current labor market is extremely competitive, and Seattle Children’s is not immune to employee retention challenges as people reevaluate where and how they want to work. The organization must stay focused on creating an inclusive work environment and retaining its talented workforce. Seattle Children’s has developed a number of programs and opportunities in support of the workforce, including:
Seattle Children’s continues to assess representation data, working to better identify and understand disparities between employees demographics and the patients and families served. Making data available to the workforce is important for transparency and informed decision-making. Last spring, a new tab was added to an existing data dashboard which provides insights on workforce racial and ethnic diversity, and compares the race and ethnicity of patients with workforce for each leader’s rollup and direct reports in one place. This shows real-time goal progress, revealing gaps and opportunities.
Seattle Children’s continues to evaluate its nursing diversity data by race and ethnicity to ensure clinical teams reflect patient diversity. Recruiting Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic nurses continues to be challenging for the organization, especially given the limited availability of these diverse nursing groups in the Washington area. Seattle Children’s is working on strategies to address this gap in the workforce.
Data collection and reporting is evolving to be more disaggregated, focusing racial and ethnic representation within individual role levels and areas. Work is also underway to better understand retention and the ratio of departures to new hires.
The following charts include a focus on the Executive Leadership Team, managers and nursing, which have been focus areas for Seattle Children’s. In particular, leadership has focused on increasing diversity in manager-level leaders due to the amount of frontline team members they hire.
Below is an update on the progress made on actions that Seattle Children’s committed to in order to diversify the workforce and support racially and ethnically diverse workforce members.
Create and implement a strategy for recruitment, development and retention of racially and ethnically underrepresented groups.
“I came to Seattle Children’s as a diversity recruiter because I wanted to contribute to the changes being made to ensure better hiring improved retention rates. Diversity can’t be a superficial expression of support, but rather actionable steps that create an inclusive environment, representative of our patient population. From partnering with community organizations like CareerWork$ and Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) so that more people of all abilities and backgrounds have a seat at the table, to advocating for more diverse representation in the images on our careers pages, I’m proud to lend my expertise and lived experiences to conversations and actions that helped reach our 40% diversity goal.”— Jessica Buckner, Senior Healthcare Recruiter – Diversity Channels
Partner with Inclusion Networks (IN) to create a candidate pipeline and enhance opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse workforce members.
Develop and implement career pathways to support internal mobility that is intentionally inclusive of racially and ethnically diverse workforce members.
The Research Center Business Office (CBO) developed a professional career pathway for Grants and Contracts Administrators. A cross-departmental project team developed new research administration roles including an entry-level grants and contract coordinator role and senior grant and contract administrator role, providing three levels in the CBO career ladder. Through this new model, several individuals hired as coordinators are training to become administrators and several administrators were promoted to senior administrators, helping to stabilize and grow the career pathway. With 50% of CBO leadership and staff currently identifying as racially diverse, investing in and retaining this talent pool will help provide more opportunities for a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The team also reflects geographic diversity as 16 Research Administration team members work remotely across Texas, Florida and Georgia. Seattle Children’s permanent out-of-state remote working strategy is designed to expand reach to diverse talent markets for hard-to-fill positions. Since launching in November 2020, Seattle Children’s now has 60 workforce members across the organization residing in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Montana — over 70% are from racially diverse backgrounds, reflecting their local communities and the Seattle Children’s patient population. Workforce members represent diversity of thought, background, geography, experience and perspective, making it important to create an inclusive environment and offer career pathways where team members, including those working remote, have career growth and advancement opportunities.
Professional development is key for developing stronger teams and providing opportunity for growth and career advancement. This summer, CBO workforce members attended National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) workshops, including Fundamentals of Research Administration and Sponsored Programs Administration II.
“This internship gave me great exposure and experience in the non-clinical and administrative aspect of healthcare that has strengthened my career aspirations in healthcare and continuous improvement.”— Ashley Jung, Continuous Improvement Consulting Intern
Strengthen, support and recognize workforce leadership and/or participation in Inclusion Networks.
Bringing together Hispanic and Latinx workforce members and their allies to build a community within Seattle Children’s and the Pacific Northwest is the cornerstone of the Hola Inclusion Network. Connections and collaborations are integral for Hola. With a growing community of 250+, members consistently come together in community — from the Women’s Empowerment & Belonging series last March, to more informal weekly Cafecitos and the Hispanic Heritage Month Art Show highlighting members and their families.
“Not being from the Pacific Northwest and not having family around is not easy, but building a community was important to me. Hola has allowed me and many others to feel Seattle is home. We know there is a gap in Hispanic/Latinx workforce representation, but we also know a strong community is the cornerstone of retention and developing our community helps attracts new people. Which is why collaboration both internally with other Inclusion Networks and externally with other Hispanic/Latinx employee groups are always part of Hola.”— Joe Arredondo, Chair of the Hola Inclusion Network
Identify and eliminate disparities in experience and outcomes across terms of employment, specifically cultivation, hiring, onboarding, evaluation, advancement, corrective action, retention and separation.
Expand career pathways to attract and develop future diverse research trainees and staff and faculty members through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs from elementary school to early career faculty positions.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute launched Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program, a $45 million investment in training early career scientists historically underrepresented in biotech in the development of therapeutics for childhood conditions. Seattle Children’s has pledged to raise an additional $10 million for the program.