We had an interesting conversation yesterday which involved someone asking where they could find a specialist to talk about equality. When we said that we could do this for them, they mentioned that they were looking for an equality and diversity specialist, not a construction specialist. Knowing that the customer is always right we thought we had better clear this one up.
We are an organisation that specialises in construction equality; the reason we can do this so well and can be confident that we are providing solutions that drive the right results for your business is that we are experts in equality across the board.
In fact we go a little beyond that and we don’t just look at the current thinking in equality and diversity – we dig deeper to understand what the research says about this thinking, how well it has stood the test of time and if it is likely to cause any predictable side-effects.
We are very strong believers in equality, but we know from the work of (Tajfel, 1981) that if you set people in different groups with opposing tasks they will work against each other, even out of office hours.
We kinda think the term ‘equality’ can cause that separation sometimes – not because that’s what it should do, but because that’s how it is often misunderstood. Equality is often seen as being about other people, even when technically we are the other people. This is why we prefer to say fairness, inclusion and respect.
We also know that organisations who have an inclusive environment are more likely to have employees that are positively receptive to equality initiatives (even when using the term ‘equality’) than companies that have a more individualistic environment (Huo, Y & Tyler, 2001).
We have looked at the research around diversity training (Kalev., Dobbin, & Kelly., 2006), diversity strategies (Dobbin & Kalev, 2013) and other initiatives (Ness, 2010), both inside the industry and out of it, to understand what works, where it works and importantly why it works.
Because we devote an incredible amount of time to reading and understanding the context not just wider than construction, but wider than equality; considering psychology, sociology and behavioural economics to name a few, we can explain why the business case is a little more complex, and a little more robust than it might appear at first glance. We can also explain why equality shouldn’t always be your first concern when aiming to create an equal organisation (it sounds odd but that’s where our research on attitudes and behaviour is important) and not just what practice is, but what current thinking is. In other words where equality is going.
We also know what we don’t know (or at least where we don’t feel we have the depth) which is where we redirect you to our trusted friends; organisations who we think like to read research and invest in people as much as we do, for example Stonewall.
We can create solutions for individual companies just as easily as our proven solutions for entire industries; we can only do this because we know our field so well.
So yes, we are construction specialists, but that’s only because we are very much equalities experts.
NB – Caroline has pointed out that we should probably mention that our academic qualifications in equality alone include a PGdip, PgCert and acceptance onto a doctoral programme.