“Listen and Act”: Bishop-Wisecarver Shares Retention Secrets
Keeping her employees happy and engaged is something Pamela Kan, president and owner of Bishop-Wisecarver, takes seriously.
And for good reason. Workforce retention is a pain point for many manufacturers and consistently cited, along with recruitment, as a top business challenge in the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey.
For Kan, meeting this challenge starts with getting her employees’ input—what’s on their minds, their career aspirations and the ways they think the company can improve. Then she acts on it.
Garnering feedback: To assess engagement, Bishop-Wisecarver surveys its employees and calculates an employee net promotor score, which is an internal measurement of employee satisfaction. Kan, the executive director of culture and people and department heads then discuss the areas that need improvement.
- “We share with employees where we have friction points or where things need to change,” Kan said. “We make that very visible. We then start checking these things off the list.”
The company also offers employees many different opportunities to share what’s on their minds, through informal check-ins, team huddles, employee lunches and skip-level meetings.
- “Every single one of these times we are asking for feedback,” Kan emphasized. “We document it and follow up on it, because whenever you ask for feedback and you don’t then respond with changes or next-level discussions, you break the trust with your employees that you care about them.”
- “I reach out to new employees at the 60-day mark to see how it’s going,” she continued. “One actually reached out and said, ‘yeah, we need to talk.’ It was all positive. Some things he didn’t quite understand, being new [to the company], and it showed me some gaps in our onboarding process.”
Conducting reviews: Instead of formal reviews, Kan says Bishop-Wisecarver has instituted quarterly check-ins, with the conversations often centering around career advancement.
- “We’ve tried to create a career ladder that’s not just vertical, but allows for offramps where employees can explore different channels of the company,” said Kan.
- “If somebody starts as an application engineer, that doesn’t mean they have to stay in engineering. They might want to go and try a position in sales, project management or marketing. We leave the door open.”
Other strategies: Kan has also implemented several other workplace practices to keep employees engaged.
- Recognizing employees: Through a program called “Bishop-Wisecarver Bucks,” employees receive a bank of bucks once a month that they can use to recognize others who have lived up to one of the company’s core values: preserve the family culture, deliver a signature experience, embrace a pioneering spirit and the need for speed. The company has an online portal where those receiving the bucks can purchase company merchandise, gift cards or tickets to events.
- Inspiring the next generation: Based on feedback from her employees, Bishop-Wisecarver partners with multiple nonprofits that support students in their local community. One of these is FIRST Robotics, which inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, as well as well-rounded contributors to society, by engaging them in mentor-based research and robotics programs.
- Reimagining the workspace: After polling her employees, Kan redesigned an entire building to reflect the workstyles and needs of her team. For example, the second floor of the building is now a large training space, where tables, chairs and white boards have wheels for easy configuration for company-wide meetings to multiple small groups. To break down the silos of separate lunchrooms, she created Wisecarver Way Café, complete with a pool table and ping-pong table. The company also has a space for employees to do yoga, allows them to bring their dogs to work and offers gym memberships.
- Offering support: Bishop-Wisecarver also has a program called Life Guides, which connects employees undergoing hardships with peer mentors who have been through similar difficulties, such as caring for an elderly parent or coping with a death in the family.
The last word: “Don’t ask your team for feedback and then do nothing with it,” Kan reinforced. “That’s what creates disengaged team members. Sometimes we don’t get it right, but at least we’ve tried.”
The Manufacturing Institute has many initiatives to help employers retain and develop their teams. For a deeper dive, check out this study by the MI on improving retention and employee engagement. The MI will also explore retention challenges and solutions at its Workforce Summit in Atlanta on Oct. 16–18. Click here for more information.
From JFK to Mother Teresa: The Career of Snap-on CEO Nick Pinchuk
In an interview with Nick Pinchuk, you will start with JFK, meander through Ralph Waldo Emerson and the New Testament, meet Mother Teresa along the way and find out only at the end that he helped send the Viking probe to Mars. And let’s not forget another achievement: he delivered his own child in the backseat of the family car.
The Snap-on chairman and CEO, an executive committee member and stalwart supporter of the NAM, sat down for a very wide-ranging interview with NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons at the NAM’s recent board meeting, at which he received the Manufacturing Icon Award. Here are some of the highlights.
Starting with Kennedy: When asked how he got into manufacturing, Pinchuk cites Kennedy’s 1961 speech promising that the U.S. would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Pinchuk was one of the “millions of young people” who pursued STEM careers because Kennedy inspired them, he said.
- He then found himself shipped to Vietnam after a stint in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. His experience in the army later helped launch him into management at Ford, when the company was looking for someone who could “run something 24 hours a day”—just as he had in Vietnam.
- He “parlayed” that experience into a business degree, then rose fast in two other organizations—United Technologies and Carrier. His experience in Vietnam helped a second time, leading Carrier to choose him to run its Asia operations.
- Finally, Snap-on came calling, looking for someone with international experience. “On a day in which the board of directors likely had too much wine,” Pinchuk joked, “they decided to give me the CEO job.”
The life lesson? “I probably am sitting here because I went to Vietnam. It could never have been planned.” Pinchuk said. “I’ve made friends in many countries. I’ve opened factories. I’ve met two canonized saints of the Catholic Church and actually a lot of presidents. They weren’t part of a life plan. They were opportunities that arose in which I was prepared and privileged to participate.”
- And here’s another thing he didn’t exactly plan: while driving his wife to the hospital at 4:30 a.m. after she went into labor, he found himself forced to “pull into an empty parking lot and run around, open the door and play catch.”
Purpose: Timmons and Pinchuk discussed the necessity of upskilling the workforce, and in the course of explaining why a sense of purpose is so important to workers, Pinchuk mentioned the time he met Mother Teresa.
- “I talked to her, and she said a bunch of things to me that changed my life. She said, here’s an example that might be useful to you. I was walking down a street with some of my sisters and a beggar got up from the curb.”
- “This was someone I would usually consider to be the subject or focus of my mission to help. The beggar walked over and gave me a coin of little value. And she said, you know why? It’s because he could find respect in the fact that he helped Mother Teresa. Purpose. Purpose is everything.”
On strategy: When asked about his successful 20 years at Snap-on, Pinchuk said, “I believe that an organization’s strategy best emanates from what actually works for it. And so if you understand what works for you, what’s inherent in the DNA and the capabilities of the people, then you say to yourself, ‘Well, that should be my strategy.’”
- “We have people who send me pictures of small Snap-on toolboxes with ashes of their loved ones in them because the loved ones believed that among the most important things in their lives were Snap-on tools,” he continued. “We cannot break that faith.”
- “Therefore, we have to know who we are. And, that is, we are those who give working men and women the means, through the use of Snap-on tools, to declare they’re doing something special and to signify the pride they have in their profession. Making Snap-on worthy of that belief is the core of our strategy.”
The last word: Timmons concluded the conversation by thanking Pinchuk for his support of the NAM and the Manufacturing Institute, saying, “We’re so grateful for your unwavering service to the NAM and your industry. You’re a true model for business leaders in America.”
NAM Announces New Leadership
Yesterday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons announced recent changes to the organization’s leadership team.
Newhouse to senior advisor: Last month, NAM Senior Vice President Aric Newhouse announced he would step back from his day-to-day management responsibilities of the policy and government relations teams on July 1. Newhouse will now serve the NAM as a senior advisor.
Aligning advocacy: Managing Vice Presidents Chris Netram and Jordan Stoick, respectively, will lead the NAM’s best-in-class policy team and government relations team. To further combine the strengths of the NAM’s government relations, public affairs and communications operations, Stoick and Netram will report to NAM Executive Vice President Erin Streeter.
- Over the past few years, Streeter has led engagement with all of the NAM’s external stakeholders, overseeing advocacy campaigns and key relationships with the White House and members of Congress, while continuing her leadership of communications, marketing and brand reputation.
- “I’m excited about what this means to further integrating our advocacy efforts,” said Timmons following the announcement. “These changes will elevate the leadership and expertise of our best-in-class policy professionals.”
Membership: NAM Chief of Staff Alyssa Shooshan will take on the role of senior vice president of membership in addition to her current roles of overseeing the executive office and the board initiatives teams. Jeff Pierce will increase his focus on sponsorships, issue advocacy development and new member growth as the senior vice president of strategic development. Pierce’s leadership has been instrumental in the rapid growth of sponsorships and other new revenue streams, and he will continue to lead their expansion.
- These changes bring the membership and board initiatives teams into closer alignment. They also recognize the demand from NAM members to grow operational and thought leadership programming.
The last word: “As Aric steps back after 16 years, he leaves a record of accomplishment widely recognized by his peers in the association community,” said Timmons. “From being named CEO Update’s Association Lobbyist of the Year in 2016, to The Hill naming him a ‘top lobbyist’ for many years, to his most recent inclusion in Washingtonian Magazine’s Top 500 Influential list, his wisdom, influence and bipartisan approach are legendary.”
- “There are two things any high-performing organization looks to achieve in these moments of change: continuity and improvement. And that’s what this leadership will deliver—to continue advancing the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States.”
Stopping the DOE’s Regulatory Onslaught
The Save Our Gas Stoves Act—which is expected to pass the House in the near future, though it has been temporarily blocked due to an argument over the debt ceiling—would prevent the Department of Energy from moving forward with its overly stringent efficiency threshold for gas stoves.
That would be a win for reining in DOE overreach, but work remains in the fight against a regulatory onslaught by the agency. The NAM and its association partners are leading the way.
What’s going on: Since January, the DOE has undertaken an unprecedented slew of regulations aimed at home appliances—and if implemented, these measures would yield little in the way of energy savings for consumers and result in appliances that cost more.
- They would pile on the costs for manufacturers, too—more than $2.5 billion, according to the DOE’s own estimates, in a package of standards that could go into effect as early as 2027.
- “There are currently nine open rules [from the DOE] on appliance products that have very little energy savings for the consumer while they have really significant cost to the industry,” said Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Vice President of Communications and Marketing Jill Notini, whose organization isurging consumers to call on Congress to support the Save Our Gas Stoves Act.
The background: Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the DOE is required to review appliance-efficiency standards every six years—but it’s not required to tighten them, Notini said, adding that the last time reviews were done for gas cooking appliances, the agency opted against making any changes.
Higher costs for all: These new DOE standards would significantly raise production costs for manufacturers while reducing features, performance and affordability for consumers, according to AHAM calculations based on DOE data.
- Consumers would save just $1.51 a year in energy costs, or 12.5 cents a month.
Too tight: It’s no surprise, then, that the proposed standards are so stringent as to make almost all on-the-market gas ranges noncompliant, Notini said.
- According to the DOE’s own technical analysis, 96% of gas cooking appliances would fail to meet the proposed efficiency threshold.
- The standards would have a significant effect on consumers, too. Redesigned gas stoves would only be able to have a single high-input burner, increasing the amount of time it would take to boil water or cook a meal, Notini said.
Washing machines: Another recently proposed DOE regulation requires that washing machines use almost 25% less water and cooler water temperatures, a restriction that would also hit consumers hard.
- The point-of-purchase price tag for washing machines would increase $150 per washer—while saving consumers just $7.85 a year, according to the DOE.
- Inflation has become a major concern for consumers across income segments, but particularly among low- to middle-income households, which will see the biggest impact from the proposed standard, Notini pointed out.
The last word: “Manufacturers rely on regulatory clarity and certainty. Unfortunately, DOE’s proposals only add to the regulatory onslaught manufacturers are currently facing,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris.
- “The NAM remains committed to working with all federal agencies, including the DOE, to ensure that rules and regulations are practical and feasible and do not harm manufacturers.”
Manufacturers Find Opportunity in AI
How will AI change the work you and your employees do? The Manufacturing Leadership Council—the digital transformation arm of the NAM—is helping manufacturing leaders figure out the opportunities created by new generative AI technologies, including ChatGPT.
Recently, the MLC held a Decision Compass discussion to help manufacturers learn how to take advantage of these new tools safely and effectively.
The participants: The conversation was led by two members of West Monroe’s Center of Excellence for AI: Ryan Elmore and David McGraw. Elmore and McGraw shared their expertise and addressed questions from manufacturers throughout the call.
The use cases: AI is a diverse and complex tool that is likely to have a lasting impact on manufacturers across the United States. According to McGraw and Elmore, there are a range of applications for the technology, from supply chain optimization and production planning to predictive maintenance issues.
The workforce impact: According to Elmore, AI will also transform the manufacturing workforce.
- Some roles that involve repetitive tasks like data processing could be adjusted or eliminated, while some new jobs will be created around tasks like prompt engineering, which ensures AI programs deliver the most useful and accurate results. Most importantly, however, existing jobs will likely be modified to account for new tools.
- “Some are going to go away, some are going to be created, but the vast majority is going to change mentality, change infrastructure, change the way we work,” said Elmore.
Prompting success: Elmore and McGraw emphasized that the key to using generative AI effectively is developing useful prompts. How you ask AI programs for information, and what data you provide, will determine the quality of the output. They provided a few broad guidelines:
- Keep it simple: Your prompts should be detailed, precise and as succinct as possible.
- Data matters: The better and more detailed your data, the better your output will be.
- Keep it human: Generative AI still requires a human to determine the reliability of the output. Manufacturers shouldn’t plan to use outputs blindly without keeping a human in the loop.
- Share safely: Assume anything you put into AI that is not behind a paywall is not private. Only use data that you’re comfortable with others viewing.
- Follow up: If you receive outputs that don’t make sense, or that indicate some sort of failure, ask the program for more context and problem solving to assess whether the output is accurate or beneficial.
Safety first: AI can also be used in negative ways—for example, by cyber attackers attempting to gain private information from you using software that mimics the voice of someone you know.
- Elmore and McGraw emphasized that manufacturers using AI should consider providing trainings so employees can recognize and guard against safety issues.
The last word: “I think most importantly, you’re only limited to your imagination,” said McGraw. “There’s really a lot of use cases that can be solved with this technology.”
Learn more: Want to find out more about how digital tools are changing manufacturing? The MLC will delve deeper into these issues at this year’s Rethink Summit, taking place June 26–28 in Marco Island, Florida. Learn more and register here.
Creators Wanted Tour Revs Up at Indy 500
The Creators Wanted Tour, a joint project of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute, set new records at the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”: the Indianapolis 500.
By the numbers: The tour’s 17th stop, generously sponsored by Snap-on, allowed nearly 1,600 young fans and their families to experience modern manufacturing first-hand.
- In addition, more than 72,000 students and career mentors signed up online to learn more about manufacturing careers.
- So far, over 10,000 students have taken part in the immersive experience since its launch in October 2021, with 84% of participants reporting an improved view of modern manufacturing careers. Online signups have now surpassed 1.3 million.
What they’re saying: “’Creators Wanted’ is a critical message to all young people, parents, caregivers and educators across our country,” said Snap-on CEO Nick Pinchuk, who is also an NAM executive committee member and MI board member.
- “Snap-on is proud to bring the Creators Wanted Tour to the [Indianapolis Motor Speedway] and the Indianapolis 500, showing younger race fans and their families that manufacturing is an exciting place where the opportunities are many, the careers are rewarding and the lives are filled with the pride of being part of something greater than yourself,” he continued.
- NAM President and CEO and MI Chairman of the Board Jay Timmons added, “The world’s largest single day sporting event met the nation’s largest manufacturing campaign—and it revved up enthusiasm about modern manufacturing in a big way with more students and their families.”
Behind the scenes: Alongside the Creators Wanted experience at Fan Midway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), fans were also treated to a number of other interactive exhibits.
- These included: Snap-on’s “Makers and Fixers” tent; Honda’s racing simulator and vehicle fleet; the IMS Kids Zone where young fans raced on their own track; and FactoryFix’s activities and resources to help people find their path into manufacturing careers, including its work through CreatorsWanted.org.
- “Seeing folks at Indy curious about our ‘Creators Wanted’ campaign was such a great confirmation of the research and testing we did to arrive at the name for this effort,” said Erin Streeter, Executive Vice President of the NAM. “When parents and kids asked us about the type of creators we need in manufacturing, it just showed how spot-on our message really is.”
- The NAM video team captured some of the fan sentiment with this video.
The big picture: “These tour stops often serve as the first interaction individuals have with the NAM and the MI, and the impression is powerful,” said Chrys Kefalas, Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy at the NAM. ” These meaningful personal interactions create lasting impressions and underscore the industry’s value.”
Bechtel, Siemens Talk Infrastructure and Workforce
Implementation of programs and funding from 2021’s historic, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is now in full swing—and manufacturers are already hard at work.
What’s going on: During discussions at an Infrastructure Week event hosted by United For Infrastructure earlier this month, leaders from Bechtel and Siemens USA discussed the significant social and economic impact of infrastructure investment.
- The Business Roundtable “commissioned a study to look at the economic impact [of] every taxpayer dollar invested in infrastructure, and we concluded that [each dollar] generates $4 in economic growth,” said Bechtel Chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel, who is also chair of the BRT Infrastructure Committee. “We concluded that a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment over 10 years unlocks, on average, additional household disposable income of $1,800 a year for every family in the United States. Modern infrastructure creates a huge amount of social, environmental and economic benefits.” Bechtel spoke alongside Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu on a panel.
- More benefits of the investment in infrastructure are on display in the many projects of industrial technology company Siemens USA, according to the company’s Vice President and Head of U.S. Government Affairs Brie Sachse.
- Sachse discussed the recent opening of Siemens’ second U.S. electric-vehicle charging manufacturing hub in Carrollton, Texas, as well as a partnership with utility ComEd in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. There, Siemens is providing the management software for a first-of-its-kind, utility-owned microgrid cluster. “It will lead to cleaner, more reliable power for a neighborhood in the midst of revitalization,” Sachse said during a lightning round at the event. “We’re enthusiastic about the momentum to electrify America.”
Permitting reform and workforce: Both Bechtel and Sachse stressed the critical importance of filling current and future open manufacturing jobs. Bechtel echoed NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons—who spoke on an earlier panel—when he stressed the need for infrastructure-project permitting reform at the congressional level.
- “The shortage of construction workers is real. It’s the current constraint throttling how much work we feel we can responsibly commit to and deliver at once,” Bechtel said. “I think it’s the single most important thing that we can all address besides permitting reform.”
- After the event, Bechtel thanked industry allies and business leaders “for continuing to lead on improving the permitting system so we can move projects through the pipeline more efficiently.”
The power of apprenticeships: The companies are betting on apprentice programs to help fill jobs.
- Siemens recently launched an apprentice program in Wendell, North Carolina, to “support the growing EV market,” Sachse said, adding that apprenticeships like this one are “opening the door for career pathways that are both well-paying and meaningful.”
- To fill the worker shortage, “we’re doubling down on the things we know that work,” Bechtel said. For example, the company uses apprentice readiness programs, in which people are “learning while they’re earning [and] they’re accessing and accumulating health and retirement benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise.”
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines! Heroes MAKE America is Reaching More Veterans
When service members leave the military, manufacturers are quick to say: “Come on over!” Military skills are usually a great match for manufacturing careers, which require attention to detail, technical abilities and creative thinking. And there’s no better matchmaker than the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America initiative, which since 2018 has been offering training certification programs and career courses to transitioning service members and veterans.
Today, HMA not only serves service members on military installations across the country but has also expanded its reach via a virtual training program.
Widening the reach: Now in its second year, the virtual training program has allowed HMA to impact service members on a national scale.
- For the first time, members from four branches—Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy—are participating in the same class at the same time.
- Additionally, the geographic range of participants has increased to comprise students located far and wide, including in Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas and Kentucky.
- The program has reached more than 120,000 prospective students through local transition assistance, HMA’s LinkedIn and Facebook presence and the SkillBridge website.
How it works: HMA partnered with Texas State Technical College to create a virtual nine-week training and certification program.
- Participants earn nationally portable, industry-recognized Certified Production Technician certification as well as an OSHA 10 certification.
- Through Heroes Connect, HMA also partners with sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, The Caterpillar Foundation, Amazon, Howmet Aerospace, WestRock, Saint-Gobain, Atlas Copco, Cargill, FUCHS Lubricants Company, C.H. Guenther & Sons, Honda Foundation, Niagara Bottling and the NAFEM, PPI and SEMI Associations to connect program graduates and members of the military community with manufacturers.
What we’re saying: “It’s exciting to see members from four branches of the military all in one virtual classroom together,” said Heroes MAKE America Senior Program Manager Katie Bowerman. “There’s a lot of strength in that kind of diversity.”
Spread the word: Do you have jobs for which HMA students might qualify, or know of a service member who would want to join the program? The HMA virtual program is open to any transitioning service member who is in their last six months of active-duty service, as well as to veteran and active-duty military spouses. For more information, contact [email protected].
NAM to SEC in Court: Get Activist Shareholders Out of Boardrooms
Activist shareholders from across the ideological spectrum have increasingly influenced public companies’ proxy ballots, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has unlawfully become their willing partner. That’s why the NAM has moved to intervene in a court case on the matter.
What’s going on: The NAM yesterday filed a motion to intervene in a case challenging the SEC’s authority to compel manufacturers to use their proxy ballots to speak about divisive social and political issues that are unrelated to a company’s business or long-term value.
- If granted intervenor status, the NAM will argue that the SEC’s rules requiring companies to include activist proposals on the proxy ballot violate federal securities law and the First Amendment.
The background: An activist group that holds shares in Kroger Co. sought a shareholder vote on a proposal to have the grocery chain issue a public report concerning its equal opportunity employment policy.
- Kroger sought permission from the SEC to exclude the proposal from its proxy ballot, which the SEC granted. The group has sued the SEC, accusing the agency of acting in an inconsistent and politically motivated manner.
Why it’s important: Though the SEC rejected this proposal, the agency often requires companies to publish shareholder proposals it deems to have “broad societal impact.
- The NAM’s motion to intervene argues that the SEC’s requirement that companies publish and respond to these proposals is a violation of the First Amendment’s prohibition on government-compelled speech.
- Furthermore, federal securities law does not permit the SEC to dictate the content of company proxy statements, so the agency’s politicization of corporate governance has unlawfully federalized issues that have traditionally been governed under state corporate law.
Unnecessary—and increasing: Forcing manufacturers to take political positions on their proxy ballots drives up costs for the companies and draws needless and unwanted controversy, the NAM says. Yet, the number of activist proposals on proxy ballots is only growing.
- “In total, 682 shareholder proposals were filed for annual meetings being held through May 31,” The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reported.
How we got here: The NAM has been urging the SEC to prioritize the needs of long-term shareholders over activists’ agendas for many years.
- The NAM opposed the SEC’s guidance requiring companies to include most environmental and social proposals on their proxy ballots.
- It also urged the agency not to move forward with a proposed rule limiting companies’ ability to exclude activist proposals.
The last word: “The corporate proxy ballot is not the appropriate venue for policy decisions better made by America’s elected representatives, and manufacturers are regularly caught in the middle as activists on the left and the right bring fights from the political arena into the boardroom,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly.
- “The NAM Legal Center is standing up for manufacturers to ensure they can focus on growing their businesses, driving economic expansion and job creation and creating value for shareholders.”
An Electrical Manufacturer Sparks Inclusion and Diversity
Manufacturers nationwide are taking steps to ensure a supportive and respectful workforce that values the varied talents and backgrounds of all employees. nVent—a manufacturer of electrical connection and protection solutions—believes that inclusion and diversity initiatives have the potential to positively impact every part of its business.
Inclusion and diversity have been a priority for nVent since it became a public company in 2018. By identifying strategic initiatives for its inclusion and diversity efforts, nVent has become a thought leader in the electrical manufacturing industry. Five years later, those initiatives have become a comprehensive strategy that is embedded in the company’s operations.
“We may not always have the answers,” said Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Laura Brock, “But we want to make sure we create an opportunity for progress and share the resources we have developed with our customers and partners to drive inclusion in our industry.”
A comprehensive strategy: nVent’s strategy is built around four pillars designed to promote inclusion and diversity throughout the company, according to Brock and Inclusion and Diversity Manager Jasmin Buckingham.
- Employees: From recruitment onward and throughout the employee lifecycle, nVent ensures that inclusion and diversity is part of every employee’s experience.
- Communities: nVent strives to be “a good citizen” in its community by promoting shared economic growth through multiple avenues—including philanthropy. It has made inclusion and diversity a central aim of these efforts.
- Customers: The company supports a diverse range of customers in the electrical industry and works to meet all customers where they are.
- Suppliers: nVent is focused on supplier diversity, which promotes engagement, growth and innovation through diverse business relationships.
Other initiatives: nVent runs several initiatives within its pillar strategy to drive inclusion and diversity across the company:
- ERGs: Employee Resource Groups are an important part of inclusion and diversity at nVent. These groups are “the hands and feet of creating an inclusive culture,” according to Brock. All employees are welcome to join ERGs, which create connections between peers across the globe. The ERGs allow employees to share experiences and discuss topics that are important to them, she added.
- Workshops: After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, nVent hosted workshops where people could ask questions and engage in discussion about race and injustice. Attendance sometimes topped 900 employees.
- Learning circles: nVent created a series of additional opportunities to bring employees together in inclusive spaces. These smaller groups allow employees to share stories and engage in open conversation.
Accountability for inclusion: Brock and Buckingham made it clear that the company’s inclusion and diversity work requires constant progress and accountability—making it essential to track metrics and promote improvements.
- Through an “inclusion index”—an employee pulse survey that sent out four times a year—nVent employees share their honest feedback. The data is then used to generate ESG scorecards for departments and leaders, which are a factor in compensation.
- “The choices we make and the behaviors we exhibit impact our culture at nVent. Everyone plays a role in creating an inclusive and respectful environment for all,” according to Brock.
Taking the pledge: nVent is also a proud signatory of the NAM’s Pledge for Action, which commits the industry “to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color” by 2025.
Advice for the industry: Companies should “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” according to Buckingham. “It can be uncomfortable having these open conversations … but it is important and impactful so that you can learn and understand one another better to make it a more inclusive workplace.”