When Interloop rolled out its Vision 2025 strategy in 2021, it set many targets for growth across its apparel manufacturing business. But the core to this five-year plan is its investment in people.
By 2025, the Pakistan-based apparel and hosiery manufacturer aims to increase workforce diversity by 30 percent by employing thousands of women in executive and non-executive teams. Additionally, the company has a goal to upskill 80 percent of workers on future competencies across all operations, product development, supply chain management and general management.
To become a source of inspiration for the apparel industry at large, Interloop wants to pull out all the stops to ensure that its employees are trained well and working productively, but also enjoying healthier lives.
“It starts with how you perceive your workforce or the costs you’re incurring. For most people, it’s a cost,” said Faryal Sadiq, vice president, sales and marketing, Interloop. “At Interloop, our mindset is that it’s an investment into our people, which bears fruit in terms of their productivity, engagement and low attrition rates.”
During a recent fireside chat with Sourcing Journal, Sadiq highlighted Interloop’s focus on creating conditions and culture that promote equity by driving change to ingrained systems of inequality. The company rolled out an extensive training program on gender sensitization and conscious and unconscious biases, training over 1,000 individuals, with the aim to cover all its staff by 2025.
As an example of Interloop’s efforts to empower its women employees, Sadiq highlighted the company’s day care centers, which allow mothers to drop their children off during the workday without going off-site. She noted that the company implemented the day care without any ROI in mind.
“It was very clear to us that this needs to be in place for us for our women to deliver on what they feel is a comfortable working environment,” Sadiq said.
To ensure that Interloop follows its diversity and engagement goals, Sadiq stressed the importance of data governance and reporting, with the manufacturer launching its own annual Sustainability Report highlighting progress across all areas of the business.
But Interloop’s work isn’t exclusively catered to improve the wellbeing of its own employees. By putting people at the center of its operations, that goal extends to the surrounding community beyond the walls of the manufacturer’s facilities. For example, Interloop is inducting more women-led businesses into its own supply chain to help spur their growth.
Sadiq also pointed to Interloop’s partnership with the Salman Sufi Foundation and local university Government College Women University Faisalabad (GCWUF) to launch the Women on Wheels program. Nearly 2,000 women signed up for the program, which is designed to empower women by providing them with the skills and training necessary to become motorcycle drivers. This gives them the independence to commute to work and school and run routine errands.
According to Sadiq, a lack of mobility is the number one barrier for Pakistani women from joining the workforce.
The manufacturer is also working with the government of Pakistan to provide free vocational training to women in rural areas, as well as working with various non-profits to provide women with access to microloans and other financial assistance.
Click the image above to learn more about how Interloop empowers its employees.