Improving productivity is a long-standing struggle within the manufacturing industry. While there are several factors that contribute to the problem, one strategy can make major improvements. The manufacturing industry suffers from a decided lack of diversity. Despite efforts to recruit women and minorities, statistics from 1995 versus 2015 show little change. In fact, there are fewer women in manufacturing now than 20 years ago.
How Diversity Improves Productivity
Part of the problem preventing women from joining the manufacturing industry is the fact that it is a male-dominated field. The engineering community is largely male with only 9% of manufacturing employees being female. This can make young, potential female engineers feel alienated and unsure if the opportunities are worth it.
However, it behooves the manufacturing industry to take serious strides to combat this perception. Businesses that boast gender diversity are more likely to see a boost in work performance. There is also a rapidly growing shortage of qualified engineers and manufacturing workers. With a growing spread between skilled workers and jobs that need filling, the manufacturing industry cannot afford to overlook women and minorities.
A diverse work environment has other benefits as well. Inclusion strategies help improve recruiting efforts as well as increase employee retention rates. This is because diverse workforces tend to be more inclusive, which can increase employee engagement.
How to Boost Diversity and Inclusion
Understanding the importance of diversity and implementing effective change are two very different beasts. To affect company culture, businesses need to make changes based on their current level of diversity.
Level 1: Implement the Basics
Businesses just getting started on their diversity and inclusion initiatives should:
- Track diversity in the workplace
- Identify sources of diverse talent
- Place a high value on a variety of experiences and opinions
- Implement an open door management philosophy
- Work and partner with diverse groups
Level 2: Provide Expectations
Once businesses establish a diversity benchmark, employers need to implement the following:
- A strategy to achieve diversity goals
- A way to measure the success of the strategy
- Training for managers and executives
Level 3: Stimulate Accountability
With an effective plan in place, employers can encourage the proliferation of diversity and inclusion by:
- Measuring and tracking diversity and inclusion
- Holding leadership and management accountable for achieving goals
- Rewarding leadership and management for diversity accomplishments
- Circulating progress on a public platform
- Beginning to train non-management staff members on diversity and inclusion
Improving manufacturing diversity has a direct effect on productivity. With a widening skill gap and struggling productivity rate, manufacturers need to implement measurable diversity and inclusion efforts. To learn more about implementing effective change in the manufacturing industry, contact the experts at Trion.