Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Manufacturing Workforce

Once a more traditional industry, manufacturing is now much more advanced and modern, and it requires diverse skill sets from all walks of life and experience. That’s why manufacturing leaders must stay on top of outreach efforts to attract diverse talent and create inclusive manufacturing environments that welcome everyone to participate and contribute.

Manufacturers have done a great job of improving traditional perceptions and creating more welcoming workforces. Together, the manufacturing industry and community schools are continuing to make strides in recruiting a more diverse workforce. In 2017, 29% of women (compared to 12% in 2015) communicated that they feel the school system encourages female students to pursue a manufacturing career. 

Here are some ways that your company can keep moving the needle toward building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Provide STEM Training to Employees

Access to training opportunities is vitally important when recruiting new talent. Women, people of color, and other diverse individuals are extremely underrepresented in the manufacturing and STEM fields. Providing all employees with access to these types of training opportunities helps develop their skillset quickly and enables manufacturing to continue being viewed as an innovative industry. 

Get Leaders Thinking About Diversity & Inclusion

To improve your company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, the tone of these endeavors must be set from the top. An excellent place to start is bringing in a diversity and inclusion specialist to take your leadership team through workshops and training on initiatives like establishing new policies, creating new programs, and recruitment strategies. From there, your leadership team members should be tasked with communicating these diversity and inclusion efforts to various organizational areas. 

While a workshop can get the ball rolling, it is important to keep things in motion. Establish a D&I (Diversity & Inclusion) task force or resource group that will meet regularly to ensure new policies are adhered to and to continue closing the skills gap.

Consider Partnering with a Staffing Agency

Attracting and sourcing the right talent for your organization takes a dedicated resource. It also involves assessing where your organization currently stands in terms of diversity and inclusion. For example, what percentage of your employees is made up of underrepresented groups? What number would you like to work towards? These are the types of goals that a staffing partner can help your manufacturing organization achieve. 

Provide Equal Pay and Make It Known

It sounds simple, but providing equal pay for all employees is a great way to raise awareness about your organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts. According to recent research, 49% of female employees reported that they would leave their jobs if they discovered a male counterpart was earning 25% more than they were. If your organization is not already offering equal pay, you can turn to third-party benchmarks to compare your compensation plan to similar workplaces and ensure that it is fair to all employees.

Make Every Voice Heard

Your employees need to feel free to voice their opinions and be their authentic selves—regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or orientation. Establish an open-door policy in which all workers can feel free to voice their concerns to the company’s leaders at any time. You might also consider holding regular “town hall” meetings in which the whole company can ask questions and voice concerns in an open forum environment. 

Tools for Success

Catalyst Connection is here when you need strategic direction, including specific approaches to diversity and inclusion efforts within your manufacturing organization. We have a selection of workshops, assessments, and planning sessions available when and if you need them. Please reach out to our team of industry experts for more information.