As 2022 begins to wrap up, industries across the world are looking forward to what the next year brings.
2023 is also the beginning of the mid-2020s, a decade that began in uncertain conditions. While these last few years have been challenging for all industries, they have also witnessed promising shifts in global work culture. With a new generation taking significant portions across all industries, employees are prioritizing wellness and culture in their places of work, and leaders are taking heed of their teams’ needs. While the construction industry has historically struggled in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, there has been an increasing push to create and rebuild these spaces for all employees and leaders.
Firms and contractors are looking to the future and how we can create more diversity and inclusion in the industry, from hiring practices and recruitment to the protection of employees on jobsites. And these initiatives aren’t just useful in keeping teams happy; a 2019 international study by McKinsey reported that diverse and inclusive organizations are more likely to have higher productivity and profitability. With new shifts and innovation in construction, there are also increasing opportunities to diversify both teams and firms.
DEI initiatives bring in more than social value
As the industry continues to struggle through skilled labor shortages, leaders in construction are innovating to have more diverse and inclusive teams. In adopting and practicing DEI initiatives, these firms aren’t just securing better outcomes for their employees – they’re also transforming their organizations for sustained success. In their study, McKinsey reports that ethically and culturally diverse organizations are more than 30% more likely to outperform competing firms, and that gender diversity at the executive level is correlated to “15% higher profitability and value creation.”
For construction leaders taking the next step to ensure their team’s well-being and success, read the following tips on fostering diversity and inclusion through bettering employee outcomes and future-looking business practices:
Be proactive when it comes to protecting your employees
According to a recent Construction Dive survey on employee experience on construction jobsites, 65% reported to have witnessed racist behavior, with nearly 40% reporting racist language to have been used. Moreover, 70% of respondents reported that nothing was done to address the explicit and implicit behaviors that harm both an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing. When it comes to protecting their team, leaders need to be proactive, not reactive, to racism and prejudiced behavior and abuse. With many firms investing in jobsite monitoring, it is now easier than ever to identify racist and otherwise harmful graffiti or abusive behavior at worksites. With these tools in hand, managers and leaders can take swift action to protect employees and ensure their well-being and safety.
Check in with employees to understand who they are and what they need
Leaders in all industries, not just construction, should take the initiative to get to know their teams. These employees, after all, are building and maintaining our projects — so it makes sense that we provide a work experience and community where they not only feel comfortable, but also heard, and supported. Understanding the demographics of your company’s workforce is also a helpful step in seeing the strengths and shortfalls of your hiring and recruitment practice, especially when you’re able to identify any gaps that may affect the overall health of your team.
Recruiting and hiring with a DEI mindset
Having DEI initiatives in mind when building your team doesn’t have to mean that you exclude particular groups to favor others. Some of the misconceptions in DEI involve favoring some identities over others to meet quotas when in reality, the initiatives themselves can be as diverse and dynamic as you aspire your organization to be. And diversity and inclusion don’t necessarily mean the same thing, either. While diversity points to the range of identities within a space, inclusion defines a type of environment that is welcoming to different backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives. Targeting both is a foundational strategy that goes hand-in-hand to building and maintaining healthy practices.
Value and practice accountability on all levels
Protecting your employees and maintaining a DEI-centered organization goes beyond day-to-day operations – it also encompasses the high-level decisions you make as a leader. Teams should have visible and accessible resources for calling out incidents of harmful behavior. Having these systems in place lets your employees know that they are protected and supported in your organization, also making it easier for management and leadership teams to take action when needed.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are an on-going practice
DEI initiatives are not just a checklist to show your stakeholders. They are a foundational part of building and maintaining healthy and future-looking organizations. Part of these initiatives is being proactive in knowledge-building and sharing, which means you’ve already taken the next step as you read this blog! Continue building DEI foundations in your organization by staying on top of industry updates and news, and keeping proactive when it comes to protecting your employees and teams. As a leader, you have the power and responsibility to steer your organization toward the right path.
At TrueLook, our business is protecting firms like yours. We offer a range of construction cameras for remote jobsites and a platform of robust viewing and collaboration features that help you protect your firm and employees. As a leader in construction software, we are also dedicated to upholding the DEI values that our industry needs to build a better, stronger future. We are proud to have a diverse leadership team that prioritizes the wellness of our employees, and we continue to partner with and highlight firms that share and practice these values. Contact us today to learn how we can support your remote jobsites, or read our blog for more industry news and insights.