Southwire 2021 Sustainability Report: Employee Engagement & Retention
Employee engagement and retention are critical to maintaining successful organizations. Actively engaged employees are 21% more profitable, 17% more productive and 41% less likely to have absentee issues1. We believe that by engaging employees, keeping them motivated and empowering them to make a difference, they find deeper connections to and meaning in their work. We also feel that by empowering our employees we can retain top talent and achieve our business goal of a strong, sustainable Southwire through positive financial performance and increased productivity.
Southwire recognizes that to retain employees and develop leaders, we must cultivate a culture focused on employee success and implement opportunities to grow job contentment, accomplishment, satisfaction and motivation. Therefore, to help retain and engage top talent, we commit to providing unique professional development opportunities that help employees connect to our culture and enhance their skills. Supporting employees also allows Southwire to strengthen our workforce, improve customer satisfaction and achieve better business outcomes. We use data-driven approaches to manage employee work experiences. We take a holistic approach to employee engagement by collecting feedback at three critical phases of the employment journey:
Additionally, we partner with Peakon, a subsidiary of Workday, to conduct annual Living Well Engagement Surveys that capture data for all three phases. These surveys collect anonymous employee data to help identify engagement and retention trends and opportunities. Each survey features 15-20 questions that ask employees to rate their experience with essential drivers including management support, peer relationships and freedom of opinion. Surveys also allow employees to leave contextual comments and provide feedback that help leadership understand employee needs. We believe that by surveying employees at different stages of employment, we are better able to identify areas for improvement and develop strategic efforts to engage and retain them—especially during the critical first 90 days of employment.
We utilize a company-wide virtual Performance Management competency model to help employees understand and grow their strengths. Integral to the process, we focus on helping to develop leadership skills and attributes unique to Southwire culture and articulate their implications for fostering our culture and driving performance. In support of fundamental leadership development and building organizational capability, we train and expect Southwire people managers and front-line leadership to master core competencies identified by their roles. Our educational series, Your Learning Your Way, also helps embed core competencies and is open to all interested employees. Recognizing the value of mentorship, we also engage Southwire employees through the Southwire Link Mentorship program. We are excited about this step in our inclusive employee development evolution and are proud to make this applicant-based mentorship program available to all employees. Please visit the Southwire Learn & Grow career page to learn about more professional development opportunities.
In 2021, Southwire experienced increased employee turnover, especially within the first 90 days of employment— something we are treating very seriously. The “Great Resignation,” a byproduct of the COVID-19 global pandemic, continued to produce significant turnover rates across all industries. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing quit rates (voluntary turnover) were at 2.5% in December 2021, with an annualized rate of 30% during the same period year-over-year. To address the turnover challenge, Southwire formed an internal team of People & Culture employees from across the company tasked with evaluating needs related to building culture and increasing retention. During this same timeframe, Southwire also observed higher engagement scores among our ERGs, sustaining a monthly employee engagement rate of at least 80% across our employee population. To improve engagement and retention performance, Southwire teams are increasing the frequency rate of employee surveys and employee engagement through 2022. We also strive to improve our overall employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) by empowering leaders to make long-term improvements in the areas that matter most to employees. Improvement areas include enhanced onboarding to make the process more concise, targeted and relevant to employee groups. Southwire will continue to improve the onboarding experience through 2022 and beyond.
SOUTHWIRE CANADA RECOGNIZED AS GREAT PLACE TO WORK
In March 2021, Southwire Canada was recertified a Great Place to Work® using the Great Place to Work® Trust Model© measuring five key dimensions: Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie. Our certification demonstrates dedication to Southwire employees, communities and other stakeholders.
“This certification is a great recognition of our employees and our culture,” said Tim King, Southwire’s president in Canada. “It reflects our core beliefs of Southwire’s founder, Roy Richards, Sr., who regarded Southwire’s people as our most important and influential asset and, after more than seventy years of successful business, this still remains true.”
1 According to a 2020 Gallup report.