Your guide to improving diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing sector

July 5, 2022

If you could improve your business' performance levels, problem-solving skills and financial targets practically overnight, you'd take the leap, right? This is what a diverse and inclusive (D&I) manufacturing culture can do. Breaking out of the norm and adopting innovative, out-of-the-box initiatives to target and retain diverse employees is not only the right thing to do socially, but economically as well. Let's explore these details and how to widen your applicant pool.

The case for D&I hiring

In a May 2020 McKinsey report, and a data scope of over 15 countries and 1,000 companies, they found that the teams with a diverse pool of employees outperform financially those who do not hire with D&I in mind. In fact, companies that hire for gender diversity are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability, and ethnic diversity hiring outputs 35% more profitability. Diversity representation on executive teams further improves these profitability numbers as well.

The survey also found that the more diverse your teams, the faster they will improve.

All of these numbers are due to the ways in which introducing different backgrounds and life experiences can expand your team's ability to problem-solve with new, creative solutions. The more resistant a business is to introducing new diversity groups, the less likely they are to succeed.

Improving diversity and inclusion

Setting a goal to hire more diverse individuals for your company is a great first step to getting started. To achieve the effects of a diverse workforce, there must be intentionality to being inclusive, rather than hiring these groups as tokens.

Made Smarter's 2021 guide to D&I offers several proactive strategies for developing an inclusive space for new hires to feel comfortable, supported and valued:

  1. Ensure that all voices at the table are being heard. Watch out for who is included in ideation meetings, and whose ideas are being used most often. Track data and notice gaps among insights and representation.
  2. Executive representation is important. There is a stigma in manufacturing that you can create a D&I business by hiring entry-level positions. Fix what is known as the "leaky pipeline" and ensure women and BIPOC employees are offered just as many opportunities as other members of the company.
  3. Create a safe space for minority groups to speak up about their needs. Curating a space of inclusively means offering an ear and a hand where needed. Listen to your employees' needs and goals and find ways to make these conversations actionable. Find out what motivates your teams to get them moving and excited about their future at the company.

The best way to make minority groups feel included and safe is to ensure that every member of your business is involved. Set up policies and cultural norms that ensure inclusivity doesn't end with any one person.