At Signature Hardware, women represent 58% of our customers. However, our employee base is only approximately 30% women and our leadership is even less. Women represent nearly half (47 percent) of the total U.S. labor force, however they are underrepresented here at Signature. While this is typical at manufacturing and distribution companies, it also means we are missing out on some of the best qualified candidates.
Data shows that companies with diverse leadership are more profitable. Diversity in organizations contributes to competitiveness and innovation. Talent-driven innovation is the number one determinant of competitiveness and research shows leadership diversity can be a contributor to innovation. With that in mind, recruiting and retaining women is just smart business and can contribute significantly to our competitiveness.
Today we are kicking off an important and exciting new initiative at Signature. Kim and Brett have agreed to lead our Gender Equality Initiative at Signature. Below are the core initiatives that they will be implementing.
- Balance recruitment at all levels and functions. Starting today, all hiring managers must interview at least 50% women for each open position. This week, Kim will be distributing a simple form that each manager is required to fill out after each interview. We will be reporting this data on at least a quarterly basis to all of you.
- Integrate 50% of women at the top level of the company. Diversity drives diversity. Cultural change begins with leadership. Data shows that in order for diversity and equality programs to gain traction throughout and organization, senior leaders must visibly lead by example. We will be releasing the target date for this in October.
- Removing Bias. We are currently reviewing our job postings and changing any phrasing that may lead to bias. We will also require all hiring managers and any manager that has a subordinate to attend Gender Bias training. We are targeting January 2017 to have everyone participate in the training.
- Equal pay for equal work. Kim and Brett are reviewing pay by position and gender. We will release our findings in October. We will also be making any adjustments if needed.
As business leaders in NKY and in Ecommerce, it is up to us to be the change in our community and in our business. I encourage all of you to get involved and participate.