WHY MANAGING IT MATTERS
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.
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.
Southwire focuses on three elements to create an inclusive culture: Awareness, Connection and Development. Awareness creates understanding that leads to meaningful connections, which result in the development of a diverse and inclusive workforce. Southwire offers:
- Special events, keynote speakers and virtual content via Degreed;
- Project GIFT® activities, which connect employees with each other and our local communities;
- New hire onboarding and informal networking;
- Sounding Boards, which connect employees with executive management in a very open dialogue about Southwire’s strengths, opportunities for improvement and growth;
- Employee resource groups (see below).
Southwire’s director of diversity and inclusivity and workforce development leads the company’s inclusion efforts. In 2018, we expanded the outreach of our diversity and inclusivity strategy by introducing two new employee resource groups (ERGs) comprising employees from various business areas. Our six groups build objectives to create awareness and a more inclusive workplace for women, people of color, military veterans and their families, 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.
Starting in 2018, performance on our diversity and inclusivity goals directly affects incentive compensation for executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents and vice presidents.
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 under Related Resources.
Employee Resource Groups
Southwire actively promotes six employee resource groups to further our inclusivity mission. Southwire facilitates and encourages all of these groups through our FUSE intranet site.
Our ERGs hosted different events throughout the year to engage group members, such as new-hire lunches via FUSE, a private screening of Black Panther for SPECTRUM, corporate strategy and product training for the Women’s Network, speed mentoring events for NEXTgen and participation in Atlanta Pride through ALLiED.
Southwire offered unconscious bias training sessions during a two-day experience in the summer of 2018 for our company directors, vice presidents and senior leaders. The content was later assigned via our LMS to the “people manager” career band. Southwire is also 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. 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, Degreed, where employees can access assigned tasks or develop themselves in areas they would like to learn or improve, including unconscious bias.
Data Monitoring & Reporting
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.
Permanent Employees by Gender*
Diverse “High Potential” Senior Leadership Candidates*
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. Read more on our Employee Engagement & Development page.
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 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 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 site is unionized and has its own process.