The American people are demanding change.
They want the culture of businesses across the U.S. to be more inclusive.
Beyond the ethics of embracing inclusivity and diversity in the fastener industry, it’s also smart business. The most successful companies are those whose culture represents all their customers. To be profitable in a global economy, a company needs the insights of people from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and experiences.
The Difference Between Inclusion and Diversity: Why They’re So Important
Oftentimes, people aren’t quick to embrace change unless they understand why it’s going to benefit them. Here are just a few reasons inclusivity and diversity in the fastener industry – and in every industry for that matter – is critical to the success of your business:
- Profitability: According to McKinsey, we can add over $12 trillion to the GDP simply by narrowing the gender gap by 2025. They also found that gender diversity can increase a company’s profitability by 25%. Ethnic diversity can increase profitability by 36%.
- Hiring and culture: Being known for diversity can make a company more popular among potential employees. People will want to work for you, making recruitment and hiring efforts easier. Such a reputation is also appealing to potential customers. Additionally, fostering an inclusive workplace culture leads to happier employees with increased job satisfaction and productivity rates.
Diversity and Inclusion: What’s the Difference?
Diversity in the workplace is when you employ a diverse group of people. A diverse culture includes people of different:
- Sexual orientations
- Education levels
- Marital statuses
- Political affiliations
- Abilities (e.g., hearing- or vision-impaired)
On the other hand, inclusion is making sure everyone is treated with fairness and respect. Each employee has the opportunity to contribute fully, and they have equal access to the company’s resources, as well as opportunities within the company.
Some characteristics of an inclusive workplace include employees feeling like they:
- Have a voice
- Are valued
- Have access to learning and development opportunities
- Work in a collaborative environment
To summarize, diversity is the characteristics or traits that make us all unique. Inclusion is the behaviors we exhibit to ensure people around us feel welcome. Activist Verna Myers put it best when she said: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
How to Encourage Inclusion and Diversity in the Fastener Industry
Anthony Paradiso of Achievers.com said that “without inclusion in the workplace, diversity efforts will not succeed.” If you want to ensure diversity in the fastener industry, here are some ways you can encourage inclusion in your company.
1. Set Your Diversity Goals
Start by looking at your business and onboarding process. Is your company diverse? If it could use some work, consider how you’ll go about fostering diversity going forward, especially with new hires.
2. Educate Your Leaders
The most influential people in your company are the leaders – executives and managers. Regularly provide inclusion training to boost its awareness, reiterate the importance of inclusion and ensure it’s being exercised. Then, encourage the leaders of your company to share their knowledge, goals and ideas with the rest of their teams.
3. Create an Inclusion Council
Your counsel should be made up of leaders who are passionate about inclusion and are ready to do the work needed to start making progress.
The council will meet quarterly to discuss:
- Diversity and hiring goals
- Retaining diverse talent
- Troubleshoot challenges
- Advancing diversity and inclusion
- Employee feedback
Your inclusion counsel can also reevaluate company policies. During their review, they can see which old policies to abolish and what new ones to implement. In addition to changing entire policies, they can change the language of company policies and manuals, ensuring gender-neutral language.
4. Offer a Sponsorship Program
You can help accelerate the progress of diverse groups in the workplace by pairing them with experienced sponsors. According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), a sponsor is not just a mentor that offers advice. Instead, they’re an advocate. HBR found that when employees have a sponsor’s support, they experience over 80% increase in job satisfaction and career progression.
5. Encourage Employee Participation
Besides inclusion training, remind employees of the importance of diversity and how they can play a part. Remind them that these changes require deliberate effort from everyone in the company.
For example, if you have a referral/recruitment program, ask your employees to think about less obvious, more creative solutions. Instead of choosing their family members or best friends who may be from the same demographic, ask them to think about those outside that demographic. Who do they know that has a different background, range of abilities, belief system, skin color, or education that would qualify as a referral or potential new employee?
6. Provide a Way for Employees to Give Feedback
People need to share their stories and connect with others, particularly if they’re part of a marginalized group.
Create ways for these employees to feel heard. Encourage them to offer feedback. You can do this by creating:
- Employee surveys
- Company discussions (so every employee can hear from these groups and learn about their story, their perspective)
Do what you can to foster an environment that encourages open dialogue. Doing so will help nurture understanding and camaraderie.
Inclusion and Diversity in the Fastener Industry: It Starts with You
The idea of ensuring diversity and inclusion (D&I) in an entire industry can seem daunting. However, you and your company can make a difference.
Start implementing changes in your hiring and culture. Foster an inclusive environment. Embrace change and the beauty (and profitableness) of diversity in the workplace.
When you do this, you will start to notice the benefits: Less employee turnover and higher job satisfaction. Increased company profits.
Other companies will take notice, too. At the next International Fastener Show, you can lead by example and share with others how D&I is benefitting your employees, your customers and your bottom line.
When others see how it benefits you, they’re more likely to make changes, too. And that’s how you can play a role in bringing more diversity into the fastener industry.
Want to share how D&I has benefited your company? We’d love to hear from you on LinkedIn.