At Ingersoll Rand, we are building a culture that is inclusive and respectful at its core. Diverse teams are more innovative, better at solving problems and deliver greater results for our customers and shareholders.
At the end of 2018, our workforce was 23.1% female and 21.7% of leadership positions were held by women. On our Board of Directors, four out of the 12 members are women. We strive to continue growing the diversity of our workforce and ensuring fair compensation for our employees. Read more about our employees and workplace diversity.
This year, we worked with The Manufacturing Institute to bring more than 200 women in the industry together through the STEM Forward program. This two-day experience provided networking, mission-critical data and time for solution building among the employees at Ingersoll Rand and other manufacturing companies near our headquarters in Davidson, N.C.
Our diversity and inclusion office offers a range of learning experiences for managers and employees that help expand our culture of inclusion. For example, our Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) helps accelerate career advancement for high potential women. The success of WLP has led to the launch of two additional career development programs for women which will begin in 2019. The diversity and inclusion office also hosts several Bridging Connections sessions per year that create a safe space for employees to speak openly about topics related to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and more. In 2018, more than 2,800 employees participated in this program.
We have eight employee resource groups (ERGs) companywide which reflect the diversity of our workforce. Our ERGs include the following:
Our newest ERG, VisAbility, was created in 2018 with the aim of making both the visible and the invisible disabilities more part of the dialogue in a safe and comfortable manner. VisAbility’s mission is to promote disability awareness, equip managers to create opportunities for every employee, and to support employees with disabilities or those who care for a person with a disability. Additionally, we have eight Inclusion Networks established at manufacturing sites and sales offices around North America.
In 2017, we became the first in our industry to enter the Paradigm for Parity Coalition, a pledge to bring gender parity to our corporate leadership structure by 2030. As part of our pledge, we are implementing a comprehensive action plan to (1) minimize and ultimately eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace; (2) significantly increase the number of women in senior operating roles; (3) measure and communicate progress both with senior leaders and publicly; and (4) build career progress and create a culture change for flexible work arrangements.
In 2018, we made significant progress by refreshing and re-deploying our online Unconscious Bias training and developing hiring practices. We require managers to review this training before interviewing candidates. We also engaged many of our senior leaders through a two-day Diversity Learning Lab and are continuing the conversation through quarterly reviews of our gender representation data. In 2018, we increased women in leadership roles by 1%; that progress will accelerate in 2019.
As part of our strategy to foster diversity and inclusion, we participate in numerous coalitions and pledges. For example, we joined 150 of America’s leading CEOs in a pledge to cultivate diversity and inclusion in the workplace through the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.
Our ongoing efforts have been recognized for awards including recognition on Thomson Reuters’ annual Diversity & Inclusion Index. Additionally, for the second consecutive year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation awarded us a perfect score of 100% in workplace equality on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This sustained leadership on the CEI recognizes our winning culture and commitment to empowering people.