Introducing Respectful Workplaces | Fireclay Tile
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Introducing Respectful Workplaces

By Laura Martinez

Introducing Respectful Workplaces

The theme of International Women’s Day in 2022 is #breakthebias, and at Fireclay Tile, we’re raising the bar to ensure that everything we do as an employer and leader in our industry guarantees spaces of inclusion, gender equality, and respect.

To do our part to #breakthebias, our People Team is introducing Respectful Workplaces, a training program designed to raise our expectations of conduct so all feel welcomed wherever they work.

What is Respectful Workplaces?

Respectful Workplaces is a one-hour training course created by Fireclay Tile. The training combines education, interactive exercises, self-check-ins, and open forums for questions and reflections. Organized in-house by our People Team, Respectful Workplaces Training features three primary goals:

1. Develop an understanding of what disrespectful behavior and harassment are

2. Raise awareness on how disrespectful behavior and harassment impact individual colleagues and our organization as a whole

3. Teach techniques to support a respectful and inclusive work environment

All 250+ Fireclay employees will go through the Respectful Workplaces training so that everyone who enters our factory, offices, showrooms, or virtual spaces has confidence that they will feel safe, comfortable, and respected regardless of gender, race, or orientation.

How Does Fireclay Define Respect?

Respect is giving due regard for the thoughts, feelings, and traditions of others. Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them.

At Fireclay, respect is in line with our core values of kindness, treating others with empathy and warmth, and honesty, treating others fairly, the way we would want to be treated.

Caitlyn Child, Head of Fireclay Tile Sales
Caitlyn Child, Head of Fireclay Tile Sales

Who is Respectful Workplaces For?

Studies show that the number one thing teammates say they need is respect in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, Teammates say that respect is as important to them as pay increases, recognition, useful feedback, and learning opportunities.

Respectful Workplaces aims to ensure an environment of respect for all employees, but women are uniquely at risk of harassment, discrimination, and sexism. The statistics are clear.

  • 1 out of every 3 women has experienced discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace

  • For every dollar a man earns on average a white woman earns 81 cents, a Black woman earns 64 cents, and a Latina woman earns 53 cents

  • For every 100 men promoted, 72 white women are promoted, 68 Latina women are promoted, and 58 Black women are promoted

  • Women are 24% less likely than men to receive advice and mentorship from senior leaders

Fireclay Tile is a majority women organization, with 52% of our employee population identifying as female—including 67% of our leadership team. Compare that to the global average where women hold just 25% of the jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Liz Martinez, Innovation Lab Assistant
Liz Martinez, Innovation Lab Assistant

Historically, women in manufacturing have faced an added risk of bias, stereotyped by the idea that manufacturing is a man’s role and not a place where women belong.

At Fireclay, we know firsthand this couldn’t be more untrue, evidenced by the instrumental roles women play in every step of our organization each day. Fireclay simply could not operate and we could not create the quality of tile we’re known for without the talented women of our team.

Our Residential Sales Manager and Leader of the LIFT Team Resource Group that supports women, Jennifer Dresel, had this to say about working in such a women-led organization.

"I have a moment every time I'm in a sales leadership meeting that all of us are women. It's really empowering to be in a room full of intelligent, supportive women."

Breaking the Bias

Everyone has biases, conscious or unconscious. We begin forming biases when we are very young, and they are shaped by the environments and people we are exposed to and the experiences we have.

A major contributor to gender discrimination in the workplace is an unconscious bias toward men's and women’s roles and capabilities. When this unconscious bias shows up in the hiring and promotion processes it can lock women out of roles they are qualified for, including leadership positions.

Respectful Workplaces encourages us to recognize and give attention to our biases, and make deliberate efforts to not act upon them. When we conduct ourselves in this way we ensure that all teammates we interact with are treated fairly and with respect.

Isabel Hernandez, Mosaics Team
Isabel Hernandez, Mosaics Team

Leading by Example

At Fireclay Tile, we strive to be the brand in luxury handmade tile, not just in terms of the quality of our products but also the way they’re created. This focus has driven us to lead our industry in how we treat our Earth, our community, and our teammates, making us the first B Corp Certified tile company in the world and among the top 10% of all B Corps worldwide.

For our female teammates in particular we offer 12 weeks full pay maternity leave and 1 month of free diapers/wipes after delivery. For traveling mothers, we offer Milk Stork to ensure breast milk is always available for little ones. We have an on-site Mother's Room at our factory. Gender pay equity studies are performed annually and shared with our Board of Directors. Fireclay Tile Family Fund supports teammates and their families with $125 per family member per year for extracurricular activities.

Fireclay Tile Benefits

These benefits are in addition to covering more than 90% of healthcare premiums for employees and 60% for dependents, paid time off, employee stock options, a company-matched 401K program, a bonus plan, and more.

We conduct Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training and hold ourselves accountable by measuring eight specific inclusion indicators. This year we held emotional intelligence training for our support, sales, and marketing teams. We offer Team Resource Groups formed around specific dimensions of diversity including ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities, or network groups. We’re forming TRGs through leadership, general membership, and allyships to women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and Fireclay Family communities.

Fireclay Tile Inclusion Indicators
Spring 2021 Statistics

Respectful Workplaces is the next step to establishing the gold standard for women in manufacturing and positive work environments for all. Not only do these programs create a safer, more enjoyable workplace free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, they also benefit the organizations who implement them with higher productivity and performance and lower absenteeism and turnover rates.

We encourage companies in all industries to join us in ensuring respectful workplaces and breaking the bias.

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