Increasing workforce diversity
Keech Australia has been designing and manufacturing high integrity steel castings for over 85 years.
The company produces a complete range of ground engaging tools for mining, earthmoving and construction equipment, as well as high integrity steel castings for use in agriculture, rail and defence industries.
Keech recognises that a diverse workforce is more than a legal obligation or moral imperative and diversity not only brings varied perspectives but can aid productivity and innovation.
The challenge for the business has been overcoming perceptions about ‘dark, dirty and dangerous’ work. A reliance on walk-ins to fill internal vacancies had also resulted in a narrow pool of applicants.
As part of the Career Revive Initiative, Keech began to proactively monitor the Bendigo Jobs Board for potential candidates. This represented a significant shift from traditional reliance of expressions of interest from job seekers.
Keech shared its goals to increase the recruitment of women into its workforce with local labour firms and requested that they actively seek diverse candidates for new positions.
In order to build ownership for diversity initiatives across the business, the HR manager established a committee dedicated to sharing ideas and actions on how to increase female workforce participation.
Internal communication channels were also used to engage staff in Career Revive activities, enlisting staff as supporters and sponsors for implementation activities.
The company recognised that its industry sector did not traditionally attract women applicants. The perception that the tasks involved a high degree of physical labour, contributed towards this perception. Physiotherapists who managed physical assessments during the recruitment phase to make informed assessments, were invited to tour the site and re-evaluate the workplace and related tasks.
The diversification of recruitment approaches resulted in the hiring of a female forklift/truck for the Distribution Department, and a female Production Employee in the Heat Treatment Department. An increased focus on communication across the business has also led other female staff to express interest in other areas of the business.
The broadening of the conversation about workforce diversity has helped to increase the confidence of existing female staff and has helped to position them as key contributors and enablers of diversity efforts in future.
Keech is now examining how it can leverage its networks and other forums to promote opportunities and lead broader change in the Bendigo business community.