Want Diversity In STEM? Start With Inclusion.

Each person on your payroll has a place within the organisation: their ideas, ways of working, age, experience, education, and background all bring something valuable to the table. Every employee can make a genuine difference to business success, and there’s much evidence to support the fact that diversity equals profitability.

Educational programmes and recruitment drives all aid the increase of underrepresented groups coming into STEM industries such as manufacturing, and of course, these are positive strategies. The key issue is what happens once you have your increased diversity. Are you doing enough to retain these employees? Is your company culture one that is a safe space for everyone to bring their best to work every day?

Take gender diversity, for example. There’s some exploration needed around women who’ve studied for a STEM degree but decided not to pursue a career in manufacturing. Is a deeply ingrained ‘macho culture’ creating an air of hostility – however unconscious that may be – that’s putting female graduates off? What could the industry do to make itself more appealing to female graduates?

Well, This Is Awkward…

In order to move forward, it is important to examine, realistically, how inclusive your business culture is. Let’s be honest; some of these conversations you may have within the business on this subject will get uncomfortable at times. However, pushing through awkward conversations is the way you make progress and actual changes.

When you identify the problems, work to solve them, by putting policies and procedures in place to prevent them from happening again.

Time To Change

With the right culture in place, with inclusion at its heart, you create an environment where people want to work, collaborate and innovate. Then, when the recruitment drive kicks in, more diversity flows into your workforce, and your workforce is more likely to remain diverse.

Manufacturing businesses now have a unique opportunity to kick-start the biggest cultural shift the industry has ever seen. Leaders stand a good chance of overcoming cultural obstacles to change if they demonstrate exemplary leadership and embed a future-fit culture.

Read more about Diversity and Inclusion in STEM industries by downloading our thought piece, The Robots Are Coming. Can Manufacturing Future Proof It’s Culture, here

If you’d like to talk to us about fostering a more inclusive work culture, get in touch with us at human@cultureconsultancy.com