5 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Optimize Their D&I Efforts, According to Experts

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
April 12, 2024 at 11:20PM UTC
Manufacturing companies are taking diversity and inclusion into greater consideration, with several companies making recent efforts to ensure that manufacturers — both in the public and private sectors — are amendable to and represented by all groups.
To help get the entire industry up to speed, PwC and the Manufacturing Institute put together a report  of insights and experiences from diversity and inclusion experts. They consulted the best of the best within consumer and industrial manufacturing companies, among other sectors. Here are five paths to greater diversity and inclusion at your manufacturing company, according to their research. 

1. Set the tone (and culture) at the top.

All diversity and inclusion specialists cited in the report agree that the success of diversity and inclusion efforts hinges on executive leadership. This is because C-suite and executive leadership mandates on company priorities and values can affect cultural change in a different way than lower management's mandates. 
This leadership, the report reads, can occur on numerous fronts, from public statements to training programs to promotional efforts. 

2. Measure efforts, then set higher goals.

"Success cannot be measured without a clear picture of where you are now — and where you want to go," the report reads. 
To set goals that are both attainable and ambitious, begin by capturing the status of your efforts. Measure using diversity metrics, such as inclusion-related employee recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion numbers. Then, respond coherently to the data. If something is working, keep implementing it. If something else isn't working, get employee and expert feedback on why. After you have determined what is and isn't working, set higher goals for your existing programs that will encourage growth. Last but not least, set ambitious goals based on industry standards that will need to be achieved with new programs.

3. Organize and empower employee groups.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are "voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices and objectives," according to Catalyst. "Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement and expanded marketplace reach."
ERGs can help advocate for positive change surrounding diversity and inclusion, and they play an important role in sharing insights that can guide company culture. Additionally, a feeling of ownership over their experience will aid in the recruitment and retention of inclusion-minded talent. 

4. Cross-pollinate high-impact efforts.

When one part of the organization finds success in its diversity and inclusion efforts, this success should transcend departments — and even borders. 
"Transplantation can happen across borders, as in the case of multinationals operating in many global territories," according to the report. "But, it also can move locally — as in from one operation to another — or cross-functionally."
If a department or even team is seeing success with a D&I effort, speak to the effort's key decision makers to learn what made it successful. Then, use those learnings to implement it across the company. This may mean anything from engaging senior leadership in a cultural change, or working with team leaders to alter individual recruitment efforts. However, the successful first iteration is a strong platform to advocate from for these changes.

5. Partner with workforce intermediaries.

Workforce Intermediaries are outside groups like educational institutions, local employment agencies and professional groups or organizations. These groups can work with organizations to broaden their talent horizons and reach a more diverse workforce, as well as close the skills gap.
“In addition to our standard talent sourcing channels, we have excellent partnerships with organizations like the Society for Women Engineers, National Society for Black Engineers and the National Urban League to recruit diverse talent," Michelle Murphy, Chief Diversity Officer and VP, Global Talent, Trane Technologies, told the researchers. "We seek talent at the national and local level, and develop relationships with organizations that help us identify diverse talent that may be interested in Trane Technologies.”
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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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