GENDER diversity and inclusion gives companies a boost.
According to Lam Research corporate vice president of manufacturing Mike Snell, there has been a lot of empirical data on companies that are more diverse – specifically from a gender perspective as it is easier to measure – with improved operation results.
“Thinking bigger and challenging assumptions is effectively what we have done to be successful in (our new manufacturing plant) Penang.
“We applied all our best cumulative ideas to the factory and the office and we have done the same thing in recruiting talent starting with a fresh slate with our objectives in mind and I think that is key to our success in building a very capable team that also happens to be quite diverse,” he said.
Lam Research, an American supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and related services to the semiconductor industry, expanded its manufacturing arm with the state-of-the-art manufacturing site in Batu Kawan, Penang, August 2020.
Lam Research International (LRI) is now leading its global inclusive and diversity (I&D) initiatives. In January of 2021, LRI stepped up its I&D initiatives with a focus on soliciting greater female
participation in technical and engineering fields where female employees typically make up only 10% of the total workforce.
With a goal to achieve 25% of female participation in its workforce by the end of 2022, LRI has surpassed the goal with a total female participation of 27% on top of the locally-hired leadership team comprising approximately 50% female employees.
“Diversity challenges the status quo and drives much better results when you include different areas of feedback and contribution,” said LRI managing director and general manager Soon Kuek, adding that supporting employees in finding work life balance is important to Lam Research which offers 26 weeks of maternity leave and 16 weeks paternity leave.
Achieving goals through training
Many think that a manufacturing plant is a man’s place but LRI aims to break the bias as they found that women are an untapped talent here.
“Our business is growing rapidly and if we want to continue to grow with the top talent we have to move somewhere where the population is growing.
“We are making a commitment to hiring earlier and to take time to train rather than only hire for experience,” said Snell.
Soon concurred, adding that LRI aims to make working in a manufacturing plant safe and comfortable for women along with programmes that will help foster a higher participation among female workers.
“We introduced the internship program where we could work with colleges and universities to recruit fresh female candidates and develop their skills in this field.
“Additionally, we worked closely with the Penang Skills Development Center (PSDC), among others under the train and place programme,” she said.
LRI is big on mentoring and training including a mentoring programme for all before they are hired and at every step of their career along with a five week training programme for women entering management.
Transparency and accountability
Fostering I&D is a charter of Lam’s leadership team. At the beginning of this year all people managers at Lam are required to set an Inclusion Development Goal to activate Lam managers around the world in fostering greater I&D.
“We annually survey employees on engagement , their satisfaction with management, working conditions and keep an index of inclusion as well,” said Snell
Soon added that there are a few things that will be monitored through the I&D initiatives.
“Are you achieving better results? Are you getting employee engagement? Are you achieving good retention? Are you growing the next generation of leadership? These are the few things that we monitor.
“This is also part of our inclusion and diversity approach. Not only do we continuously remind ourselves with a set goal, we foster inclusion and accountability where we share and report our results,” said Soon.
For more information and to join their workforce, visit here.