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Manson's Culture of CARE— Why and How Does Diversity Make Us a Stronger Company?

John D. Heckel—Corporate Ethics & Compliance Officer

As Manson’s Ethics & Business Responsibility Manual states: “Manson is a company which is located in offices across the country. As a consequence, we bring in people with varied backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. In doing so, we become a stronger company and one that reflects the customers we serve and the communities in which we work.”

Why and how does diversity make us a stronger company? To answer these and other important questions, I sat down with Manson’s Northwest Operations Office Manager Melanie Erdman, who is leading Manson’s efforts in support of the Associated General Contractors’ (AGC) Culture of CARE initiative to Commit, Attract, Retain, and Empower our workforce.

JH: Melanie, tell us a little about your work background and what your day-to-day duties are at Manson?

ME: I have a very diverse background in business, specifically in the construction industry. I have worked over 25 years in Operations, Human Resources, and Accounting. Any given day can be different for me, depending on what the needs are for the Pacific Northwest Operations team.

JH: How did you become involved with championing Culture of CARE at Manson?

ME: I met with Manson President John Holmes, and he mentioned that he was impressed with my involvement and the increase of activities with regard to the Manson Cares initiative here in Seattle. He then asked me if I would be willing to dive into the AGC Culture of CARE, and, quite simply, I leaped at the opportunity.

JH: What is the Culture of CARE initiative?

ME: The Culture of CARE initiative was launched by the AGC to help construction companies achieve a culture where every member of the team feels valued and welcome. Manson employees have a right to work in an environment that is emotionally safe, welcoming, and inclusive.

JH: Manson utilizes three core values that we judge all actions against: (1) Are we taking care of people first and always? (2) Are we doing the right thing? and (3) Can we find a better way? How is the Culture of CARE initiative different than what we are already doing?

ME: Taking care of people, of course, means providing a safe work environment free from physical injury, but, at Manson, it also means providing a workplace free of harassment, bullying, or hazing. We are great at calling an “all stop” for physical safety on a jobsite, but what about psychological safety? Studies indicate that male construction workers have the highest rate of suicide in the country. We want Manson employees to work in an environment that prioritizes both physical and emotional safety, providing comfort and inclusivity.

JH: Manson as a company has taken the Culture of CARE pledge: “We pledge to commit our leadership and resources to fostering a Culture of CARE at every level and in all aspects of our organization. Through this commitment, we seek to attract and promote diversity in our industry, retain and value human relationships, and empower every employee to harness and engage the power of diversity for the benefit of our industry and community.” You have been encouraging employees to also take the Culture of CARE pledge. Why?

ME: By taking the Culture of CARE pledge, Manson shows its commitment to ensure that our employees have the opportunity to advance in their careers. Having individuals take the pledge demonstrates a personal investment in moving the culture of Manson toward diversity, equity, and inclusion. Pledging to a Culture of CARE signals to others that those individuals who have taken the pledge are approachable and care about how people are treated.

JH: Does a Culture of CARE make a business more competitive?

ME: It has been proven that a diverse work group increases employee satisfaction and therefore a company’s performance versus companies with employees who all think and look the same. That is one reason why Manson endeavors to hire employees with diverse backgrounds, opinions, perspectives, and experiences. People who are looking to start a new job or switch career paths will look at how we treat people to decide if Manson is the right place for them. That includes our subcontractors, vendors, customers, and each other as colleagues. Creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all is essential to achieving our mission.

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