The gender and diversity gap. It’s something a few of us have come to accept as part of normal practice in the UK’s manufacturing industry. But with the country’s issues surrounding Brexit and the current skills shortage costing UK businesses around £2bn a year, companies can’t afford to be missing out on the talent half the workforce has to offer.
It’s time to think about changing our approach to the whole subject.
Despite efforts to increase awareness, progress has been moving at a snail's pace. Therefore, its time for company owners to take charge and make a change. If you're an owner or Director of a manufaturign business where do you start? Here are 7 tips for improving diversity within your manufacturing business.
1. Leading from the top
In order to make any major change in an organisation there needs to be honest “buy-in” and commitment from the top positions in the company, this will then filter down throughout the lower positions. The directors of a company have a huge influence not only over the policies in place to encourage diversity but for also setting the culture to be more inclusive of these employees.
From public statements to recruitment programs and policies, it all has a wider influence on how the company views a diverse workforce. A commonly used method is to implement targets for diverse recruitment and promotions, which can be rewarded through compensation and bonuses.
2. Measure your current diversity rate
Linking back to the previous point, you can’t measure whether the initiative is working or not if you don’t know where you are now and where you want to go. By looking at metrics on diversity recruitment, retention, promotions and turnover you can get a sense of your current position and set targets based on the results for 6 and 12 months time.
3. Empowering your diverse employee groups
The idea of creating diversity groups where employees can share experiences on their workplace interactions, is becoming popular for many companies in other industries. These employee groups are a good way of drawing important insights that can guide the company’s policy and decision making. This helps managers to see what steps they can take in order to make the company more attractive to diverse candidates and accommodate their needs.
4. Cross department initiatives
By encouraging different parts of the business to open lines of communication you can help employees to share their ideas of what they expect from the company and their colleagues. The benefit of this is that it provides everyone with a more well-rounded perspective and understanding of each other, this can be done by simply setting up conferences, meetings and small group discussions.
5. Working with workforce intermediaries
Manufacturing companies that maintain good relationships with outside groups such as educational institutions, employment consultantcies and non-government groups, seek to gain from their unique insights on how to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Working closely with these partners will also help them to understand what type of employee you’re currently looking for which will prevent wasted training and recruitment costs.
It seems that manufacturing industries have a lot to gain by widening their potential talent pool to attract more women into their workplace, as diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median. However, the manufacturing industry has got a long way to go as women are still severely outnumbered by men, but the time to start this change is now.
If you would like some help with creating a diversity hiring strategy for 2020 for your business, contact our Executive Search team today on 016 254 5411.