Manufacturing leader Trivium Packaging’s DEI strategies

Manufacturing Digital speaks to Adina Avram, Director of Talent Development and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) at Trivium Packaging

Please introduce yourself and your role.

“I'm Adina Avram, and I'm excited to have joined Trivium as their Talent Development & EDIB Director in 2023. With more than 10 years of experience in HRM, working for companies like Electrolux, EVBox, and DS Smith, I now oversee Trivium's Recruitment, Talent Management, Learning & Development, and EDIB initiatives. My focus is on attracting, engaging, retaining, and developing employees throughout their time with Trivium, ensuring they feel fulfilled and empowered.”

What led you to this industry?

“I was drawn to Trivium's emphasis on sustainability, and its mission to do right by the world. In order to care for our planet, we need to protect and empower our people too, and I saw a brilliant opportunity to drive forward positive change by implementing an EDIB strategy. Through my work, I am aiming to enable continuous growth and development and I found a chance at Trivium to accelerate the talent agenda and contribute to the company's success through its people.”

What is Trivium Packaging?

Trivium Packaging is a global supplier of infinitely recyclable, metal packaging for the world’s leading brands. Trivium has more than 60 locations worldwide and employs close to 7,500 people with sales of US$3.3bn. Trivium offers a wide range of metal packaging with innovative shaping and opening solutions, which allows us to develop standard and custom shapes based on customers’ product and brand requirements.”

Tell us about your Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) strategies?

“At Trivium, we are at an early stage of EDIB strategy implementation, having started a structured approach to EDIB this year. During 2022 and 2023, we prioritised establishing the EDIB structure. This involved creating a strategic diversity forum composed of our CEO, CFO, CPO, and CSO, as well as two employee resource groups: Wellbeing@Trivium and Women@Trivium. Having these forums in place helps create awareness and education on EDIB topics.

“Crucial to the workforce respecting and adopting EDIB is outlining our stance on ethics and behaviours, as well as setting the standard. For this, we’ve introduced an EDIB governance - a set of policies to outline our position against discrimination - as well as improving our recruitment and performance review processes, to reduce bias throughout the employee lifecycle.

“In tandem, we’ve increased the number of internal campaigns, training, mentorships, and workshops we offer to improve awareness and understanding of the topic. Tracking data is imperative to the success of our strategies - we can only make improvements when we know the true picture, and we are consistently expanding the data points we collect to ensure we capture our entire workforce’s needs and our initiatives are inclusive to all.

“At Trivium we are focusing on taking an intersectional approach to EDIB working towards setting the foundation for a culture of safety, respect and curiosity where employees can bring their authentic self to work because their difference is being accepted and celebrated.”

Only 67% of manufacturers have an EDI strategy or are planning one - why do you think this is?

“Despite a generally positive response from society to the topic of EDIB, creating meaningful change within corporate and government institutions has faced challenges. There are several factors at play here. Firstly, change makes people uncomfortable. Many can be fearful of adopting new ways of working - think how many companies resisted digitalisation and held on to paper. In a similar way, changing your workplace practices can be perceived as daunting. However, just as companies could not survive without digitalisation, you cannot survive without EDIB. For new generations, it is an expectation, not a question of if or when, with Gallup research showing it is in the top three priorities for employees when choosing an employer.

“Once companies accept this, implementing EDIB requires genuine change and a comprehensive systemic one at that. Not only will procedures, policies, and data collections need to change, to ensure your workplace is equitable, but tools, equipment, and infrastructure - think toilets, prayer rooms, and breastfeeding spaces  - will also need updating to accommodate different needs. Adaptations such as these require investment and time, and the initiative to do so, won’t come naturally to all.

“For some businesses, their leadership teams have not yet realised the power of EDIB - considering it as optional. As a result, minimal efforts are made to accommodate employees. Leaving the decision only up to businesses will always lead to a delayed adoption of inclusive practices, so institutional change is often necessary to accelerate change. An example of a law that promotes equity in the workplace we can mention is Spain’s introduction of paid menstrual leave - the first country in Europe to do so, advancing gender equity.”

Why are DEI strategies critical in attracting newer generations and diverse employees?

“Right now, the manufacturing industry is facing an age problem. In fact, according to the Manufacturing Institute, 78% of manufacturers are very or somewhat concerned about the ageing workforce. So why is this happening? Perceptions of the industry are still outdated. What was once a labour-intensive job role, now requires in some parts of the production process also digital skills. This transformation is a great opportunity to make manufacturing roles more attractive to the new generation that has grown up with technology. 

“In parallel, manufacturing is seen as a male-dominated industry. We know from research that diversity is a crucial factor for Gen Z job seekers, with one survey finding that 83% of Gen Z candidates declare a company’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) important when choosing an employer.

“By implementing an effective EDIB strategy, organisations can show employees from all generations that manufacturing can be workplaces where employees are represented and respected; can access opportunities in a fair, equitable, and transparent manner; and feel safe and empowered. In doing this, you tap into groups of skilled candidates who may not have previously considered manufacturing as a career path.”

Tell us about some of your partnerships.

“At Trivium, we value partnerships with other organisations and charities as they help to broaden the recruitment pool and draw the attention of diverse applicants. Additionally, it creates an inclusive culture where employees and potential workforce can connect. We currently partner with BATA in Spain - where we hire individuals on the autism spectrum - and Neurodiversity in Business Netherlands, which supports and empowers neurodiverse individuals through awareness and education.”

What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company?

“Over the upcoming year, our priority will remain on raising awareness and providing education to reduce bias in the employee lifecycle through ongoing process improvements. Additionally, we will continue the efforts in governance and further develop our policies and procedures to achieve a more inclusive and equitable workplace where our employees can feel a true sense of belonging.”

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