Fjardaál is an Alcoa location with 550 employees in a remote community of 10,000 inhabitants in East-Iceland. Since it was opened Fjardaál has striven for a gender diversity rate of 50%. The 12-hour shift system was a barrier, as women found it difficult to work for family reasons and it was not attractive for them to come back from maternity leave to working 12-hour shifts.
A new labor contract in 2015 opened the gateway for changing the shift system from 12 to 8 hours. Fjardaál’s management and the unions collaborated on the change, which took place in March 2016. The goal with those changes was to create a family-friendly work place, attractive for both men and women, reduce turnover and make it easier for women to come back to work after maternity leave.
The new system meant that Fjardaál had to hire 50 more employees as one shift was added, going from 4 to 5 shift groups. Recruitment was aimed at attracting women with the new shift system, as the proportion of women had dropped to 20%. It turned out well: one-third of the fifty employees hired were women.
The diversity rate at Fjardaál is now 25% women, and the turnover rate lower than ever. Turnover among shift workers was about 17.5% in 2014 but is now YTD 4.5%. The 8-hour shift program allows more flexible work environment for women coming back from maternity leave; they can choose to work days only while adjusting to work. The change has also benefited male workers, because both genders can now spend more time with their families, creating a balance between work and life. Moreover, the community profits, as people are more active in their free time.
At Alcoa, we believe we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for every employee driven by our value to Care for People. We need every single heart and mind actively participating in what we do — encouraging us to think in new and different ways. By creating an inclusive workplace culture, and being committed to diversity and development, we give employees the best opportunity to succeed professionally at our company. As the CEO of Alcoa Corporation, I am honored to add my name to the signatories of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge.