Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in Construction: Construction Inclusion Week
Different experiences offer a variety of perspectives in the workplace.
One of the most recent trends in the construction industry is developing a workplace culture that is not only exciting and innovative, but also vibrant and diverse in experiences, traditions, and backgrounds. There have been a host of discussions off and online about how to build and maintain diversity within the construction industry.
As a result, several general contractors have launched some incredible initiatives to ensure that they are creating an environment of inclusivity. DESTINI Estimator user, XL Construction, based out of California, created a goal that all of their projects have 25% participation from underrepresented business enterprises, “including minority and women-owned subcontractors and trade partners.” While they haven’t hit it yet, they began at 14% and are now at 18%. Meanwhile, PCL Construction based out of Denver, partners with local community organizations to hire laborers for their projects.
The Time for Change Consortium came up with Construction Inclusion Week to highlight the contributions these general contractors are making to continue creating a better and brighter future for the industry. Many of these initiatives often fly under the radar, and Construction Inclusion Week’s goal is to put them back on the map, to recognize them as significant and worthy of celebration as breaking ground or hitting project complete. To that end, each day of Construction Inclusion Week has a different theme to explore:
Leadership commitment & accountability
Leadership Commitment and Accountability
Day one of Construction Inclusion Week is all about ensuring that support for change comes directly from leadership. Without the help of those who lead the charge, it can be difficult to bring about meaningful and lasting change. That’s why many general contractors are developing programs that invest not only in today’s leaders, but also the leaders of tomorrow.
Day two focuses on something we all struggle with: our unconscious biases, those assumptions that we make without even realizing it. These assumptions aren’t inherently good or bad; in fact, they often make our lives easier for us by helping us make decisions more quickly. However, the result of our unconscious biases can often end up excluding others without even realizing it.
One way general contractors can tackle unconscious biases is through the help of workshops that help unpack the snap judgments we make in a safe space. The Beck Group is one such contractor that has implemented these workshops to great success.
When we think of diversity and inclusion, we often think of lofty, sweeping goals, like hiring more women for C-suite roles or bringing on consultants to lead webinars and training sessions. While both of those things are excellent, it’s also important not to overlook the little things—like the suppliers you’re partnering with.
Messer Construction is an excellent example of intentional supplier diversity. They ensure that suppliers have an easy and accessible way to partner with them on their website; they have an Economic Inclusion department that makes sure supplier diversity is included in business goals, and they share a quarterly newsletter that highlights suppliers who come from a multitude of backgrounds
Day four of Construction Inclusion Week centers on ensuring that the jobsite cultures we cultivate are respectful, collaborative, and positive environments to work in.
How can we begin to do that? Lean Construction Blog suggests that one of the ways we can ensure increased transparency and dialogue is through technology. Being able to communicate more effectively is a huge aspect of building a culture that encourages a unified team that genuinely cares about the opinions and well-being of each other.
Mentorship is key to building the leaders of the future.
Last but certainly not least, Construction Inclusion Week finishes up with community engagement. It can be easy to consider the projects that we build as being involved with our communities and end it there! But true engagement goes far beyond that.
Beck Technology client, Balfour Beatty has led the way in showing what it means to be deeply involved with the cities and neighborhoods that they work in. They focus on using local materials, suppliers, and employees when possible; they have established multiple volunteer and mentoring programs, and they develop case studies showcasing where they went above and beyond in ecologically enhancing the surroundings of their projects.
Want to Learn More?
On top of all that, by visiting www.constructioninclusionweek.com, you can access a plethora of resources for opening up conversations about diversity and inclusion at your own company, including pre-recorded webinars and discussions, films, podcasts, and activities. Although these conversations are rarely easy, they’re extremely important to the success of everyone in the construction industry, from the C-suite to the jobsite workers.