A family-owned manufacturing business, Protecting Fencing is Australia’s trusted fencing partner.
The company has been proudly manufacturing in Australia since 1973, using the highest quality locally sourced raw materials and the best machinery available.
Samantha Swain, the director of Protective Fencing and a trailblazing female leader in the construction and manufacturing industries, firmly believes that diversity and inclusion are crucial for success in any business.
Drawing on her own experiences of feeling like a minority in the industry, she advocates for greater respect and appreciation of people from different ethnicities, genders, religions, and abilities.
Her vision is to create a workplace culture that values and embraces diversity, where everyone feels included and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.
“We need to move towards the idea that no one person is at a disadvantage. People might have unique strengths and challenges, but increased abilities elsewhere.
As industry leaders, we need to collaborate with individuals, and their abilities, to transfer their skills into the areas where they can be most valuable,” Swain said.
Protective Fencing is committed to creating a workplace culture that champions diversity and inclusion. While recognising that larger tier one contractors have been successful in this area, Protective Fencing is determined to be just as progressive in its approach, despite being an SME.
The company has developed a holistic strategy that is entirely focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, with the aim of fostering an environment where every team member feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.
“The first step we took was a review of our mission, values and behaviours. Our goal was to ensure that these elements reflected our inclusive work culture.
With this in mind, as a team, we identified six core values for success.
These are: tenacity, quality, integrity, sustainability, respect and accountability,”
“We then elaborated on each of these values and defined them with corresponding behaviours to give them more clarity and meaning in our context.
Integrity, respect and accountability all directly relate to owning the way you behave and respecting other people’s diverse backgrounds.”
“These six values and their corresponding behaviours are promoted and reinforced to our team in everything we do—not just in yearly performance reviews, regular toolbox meetings, or in posters around the workshop, but in our everyday conversations within the business,”
“Our company’s values and corresponding behaviours not only empower our staff to drive our success, but also help us retain top talent.
In addition, they serve as a clear indicator of whether someone is a good fit for our team in terms of our values and culture.” Swain said.
Practical implementation Protective Fencing’s successful implementation of its new mission, values, and behaviors is exemplified by a recent recruitment effort for a machine operator.
As Swain explained, “Initially, a ‘traditional’ job advertisement yielded a few male applicants, but none of them met the job requirements.
However, when the company shifted its focus to promoting its inclusive and diverse work culture, along with benefits like proximity to home and teamwork, the response was remarkable.
The second job advertisement attracted 20 applicants, of which over a quarter were female. After careful consideration, Protective Fencing hired a man and a woman who continue to work for the company today.
“When you start promoting a diverse work culture, you improve the reach of your talent pool.”
“Recruitment, retention and onboarding strategies need to change. The focus must be on the reason why people would want to work with you—what makes your company a great place to work.
The employment landscape has evolved, so companies must evolve with it. Job seekers have more options now than ever before.
Society has moved away from the idea that it is the company interviewing a candidate—interviews are a two-way street.
People want to work somewhere where they can wake up in the morning feeling motivated and enthusiastic about their day,” Swain said.
Another important factor is offering workplace flexibility.
For instance, it is important to have policies in place for parental leave.
“Any parent—regardless of gender—should be equally able to care for their child.
Having a management team that respects the shared responsibility of parents is important.
Managers should not be asking fathers why they are taking time off to care for a child. Having a policy in place that recognises shared parenting arrangements is essential.”
“Historically, this hasn’t been my experience. My husband and I both work full-time, have challenging jobs and share parenting equally.
Fathers are just as entitled to parental care as mothers; parental responsibilities should be able to be shared equally.”
“We are proud of what we have achieved so far, but we are even more excited about what the future holds for Protective Fencing as we continue to build a diverse and inclusive team that is focused on delivering the highest quality products and services for our customers.” Swain said.
AUSTRALIA’S MOST TRUSTED FENCING COMPANY
Protective Fencing Australia has been delivering trusted, reliable, innovative security solutions since 1975. That’s why we’re Australia’s most trusted fencing partner.
Phone: 1300 436 200
This article was first published in the Steel Australia – Autumn issue – 2023