WHY MANAGING IT MATTERS

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Promoting a culture of inclusivity for diverse individuals—across our employee population and on our board of directors—benefits both our business and our employees. McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have higher financial returns than less diverse companies, while companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform national industry medians. Further, Southwire, like other companies across the country, is planning for major demographic and social changes over the coming years. We hope to attract and retain the top talent in our industry by promoting a culture of inclusion that values varied thoughts and perspectives. As an employer searching for top talent, and as a responsible supplier, Southwire maintains a strong commitment to ensuring our workforce continues to reflect our complex and evolving world.

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Diversity extends beyond physical characteristics to include diversity of thought and perspective, which promotes a more innovative and creative environment. At Southwire, we believe an inclusive culture enables talent to flourish and encourages our employees to reach their highest potential. We believe that, if we strive for inclusion, diversity will naturally follow. Weaving employees into our community, regardless of their background, demonstrates to all potential candidates that they have a home at Southwire. Simply stated, Southwire wants employees to feel empowered, see diversity and experience inclusivity.

Our Inclusivity Mission: We will foster an inclusive environment that recognizes the value and talent of diverse perspectives, regardless of gender and ethnicity, while at the same time advancing leaders throughout our organization who can unleash sustainable business growth.

Southwire focuses on three elements to create an inclusive culture: development, connection and awareness. Avenues for our employees to connect, develop and become aware of other perspectives and learn how people’s various backgrounds and experiences bring value to teams and performance include:

  • Involvement in Southwire’s Project GIFT® activities, which connect employees with each other and our local communities;
  • Participation in a mentorship program;
  • Contributing to a Sounding Board, which connects employees with executive management in a very open dialogue about Southwire’s strengths and opportunities for improvement; and
  • Attending employee resource group functions (see below).

Governance

Southwire’s senior vice president of inclusivity and talent management leads the company’s inclusion efforts. In 2017, we expanded the outreach of our diversity and inclusivity strategy by introducing two new employee resource groups (ERGs) composed of employees from various business areas. We now have six groups building objectives to create awareness and a more inclusive workplace for women, people of color, veterans, LGBT and a multi-generational workforce in both manufacturing and corporate environments. The ERGs each have an executive sponsor.

To further our inclusion efforts, our Inclusivity Council—comprised of our chief executive officer, his direct reports and champions from each ERG—meets quarterly. The Inclusivity Council allows members of the employee resource groups to provide input directly to the Executive Leadership Team at the quarterly meetings.

In 2017, Southwire revised our inclusion goals, setting new diversity and inclusivity goals for executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents and vice presidents. Performance on these goals will directly affect incentive compensation in 2018.

Policies & Commitments

As a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, Southwire fully supports Principle 6, which states: Businesses should uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Southwire’s Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, last updated in September 2017, is outlined in our Employee Handbook. Additional non-discrimination measures are covered by Southwire’s Anti-Retaliation policy, which prohibits retaliation for any protected activity, and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination policy, which protects employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss or disclose their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant.

To further encourage an inclusive workplace for our employees, Southwire has an Anti-Harassment policy and provides disability accommodations, religious accommodations and paid time for nursing mothers. For details on these policies, refer to the Employee Handbook (effective January 2018) under Related Resources. Southwire is also opening a Commuter Hub in Atlanta to provide a more flexible working arrangement for many of our salaried employees. To further accommodate our employees, we will expand our paid parental leave to two weeks for eligible full-time employees in 2018.

Employee Resource Groups

To further our inclusivity mission of fostering an inclusive environment that recognizes the value and talent of diverse perspectives, regardless of gender and ethnicity, while at the same time advancing leaders throughout our organization who can unleash sustainable business growth, Southwire actively promotes six employee resource groups. In 2017, we introduced groups to increase connections within our veteran and LGBT communities. Southwire also facilitates and encourages all of these groups through its FUSE intranet site.

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  • Inspires employees to create an environment that embraces inclusivity with an emphasis on women.
  • Provides an avenue to encourage networking, embrace collaboration and empower current and future leaders.
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  • Fosters a community of inclusivity, diversity and empowerment by valuing all people of color.
  • Serves as a vital resource to promote awareness, cultural differences and the importance of diversity, fostering an environment that encourages investment in the development and engagement of the entire spectrum of Southwire’s people.
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  • Inspires employees to create an environment that embraces inclusivity with an emphasis on millennials.
  • Provides an avenue to encourage networking, embrace collaboration and empower current and future leaders to master the essences of Southwire.
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  • Builds organizational capability by ensuring the workforce is diverse in all levels of leadership throughout manufacturing facilities to achieve business results.
  • Helps to instill a culture of acceptance of all people and develop systems that are more than just words on paper, but inclusion in action. Together Everyone Achieves More.
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  • Enriches the lives of Southwire employees by creating deeper relationships with fellow employees, providing opportunities to serve through veteran outreach and awareness events and by engaging in network and career growth opportunities.
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  • Advocates for a work environment that respects, welcomes and supports people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and enables them to bring their whole selves to work, allowing them to perform to their full potential.

Inclusivity Training

Southwire is building our organizational capacity in numerous ways. We are providing across-the-board training for leaders to make Southwire a more inclusive and engaged place to work. In 2017, we conducted an in-person development workshop for directors and above on leading inclusively, with a focus on the importance of microinequities. Southwire provides executive workshops focused on leading inclusively, in-person development learning days for directors and senior leaders, and training for our managers and front-line leaders on leadership competencies. Also, we have a new self-driven learning platform where employees can access assigned tasks or develop themselves in areas they would like to learn or improve.

Data Monitoring & Reporting

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To objectively determine the inclusivity of Southwire’s culture, we track a variety of metrics. Our quarterly Human Capital Dashboard measures average years of service, percentage of female employees, average age, percentage of minorities, biometric grades and turnover of high potential employees. We report diversity measurements along with national benchmarks quarterly to Southwire’s board of directors and senior leadership. We share our performance on some of these metrics below.

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Employees

Permanent Employees by Gender*
Target
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

21%79%

 

22%78%

 

20%80%

 

19%81%

 
2014201520162017
Female
Male
*Information on employees through SAP SuccessFactors excludes employee data for Mexico, Honduras, China, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Diverse Candidates
Target
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

30%

 

30%

 

23.5%

 

26%

 
2014201520162017

Our employee engagement survey, which measures the Southwire employee experience, enables us to track inclusion. For example, we ascertain whether there are differences in how various demographics respond to the questions and whether the experience aligns with Southwire’s values. Based on employee feedback, we are pursuing a different way to measure engagement that provides a more real-time perspective. Read more on our Employee Engagement & Development page.

Grievance Mechanisms

Southwire provides numerous channels for employees to raise concerns or submit grievances. When employees deal openly and directly with each other and their supervisors, communications are clearer, and the work environment and work attitudes are more positive. Therefore, through our Open-Door Policy, if employees have concerns about working conditions or the business, we strongly encourage employees to voice their concerns to their supervisor. However, employees may also voice their concerns to any manager at their location, their site manager and/or human resources, all of whom have an Open-Door policy.

The company also has a robust complaint reporting and investigations procedures. Under these procedures, an employee subjected to any conduct that they believe violates Southwire’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, Anti-Harassment Policy, Workplace Violence Policy or Anti-Retaliation Policy, must promptly speak or write to a Human Resources representative. Likewise, any other conduct that an employee believes may violate the company’s Standards of Business Ethics and Conduct Policy should be reported to the employee’s supervisor, facility manager, or Legal Department.

Additionally, Southwire employees may use Just Ask, a line of communication to submit questions or concerns related to diversity or inclusion practices through an online or hard copy form, email or phone call. The submission goes to our corporate communications team, which directs the question to the appropriate person to respond, typically within one to two days. The questions/concerns and responses are shared with leadership on quarterly basis. Employees can also submit emails to the champions of each ERG through Southwire’s FUSE intranet site.

For more than 15 years, Southwire also has used a peer review process, outlined in the new Employee Handbook, for concerns regarding hourly employees at all non-unionized locations. The peer review group is comprised of the employee’s peers and management. Our Waukegan and Pleasant Prairie sites, which are unionized, have their own process.