Traditionally work around equality has focused on either the business itself looking into its processes and practices, or at minority groups seeking to understand their experience of the workplace and how to put measures in place to improve it.
These are both worthwhile and important areas of concern, but we believe that in private organisations by focusing on these aspects we miss the most crucial element of success; the current attitudes of all the people working within the business.
Research shows us that even good diversity strategies can have a damaging impact if the right information has not been shared with the workforce as a whole, and in industries with additional cultural challenges, such as construction, where there is a long-hours culture and false self-employment and stress are rife these effects are only likely to be amplified.
That’s why our approach seeks to determine the measures that must be put in place before we can start trying to mainstream equality as, no matter how good the initiative is, if the general workforce does not perceive themselves to have fair and respectful working conditions, deviant behavior and discrimination could well be the most likely outcomes.
Therefore we suggest that the first step must be generating positive engagement from individuals within the organisation, seeking to gain a critical mass of positive attitudes towards equality, only then do we start to implement further action that focuses on the situation for minority groups.
We do this using tools developed from research around Organisational Justice, Human Capital, super-ordinate tasks and inter-group co-operation and engagement. Tying together these different models we are careful to research our outcomes to ensure that our work has a positive and long-lasting effect for businesses and employees. Whilst this might seem complex and theoretical, our ability as leaders in the field to transform academic research and insight into simple, useable practice is something we pride ourselves upon.
So far our work has seen positive results with employers reporting 10% rises in positive attitudes to equality and a 5% rise in over all employee engagement, increased participation in the equality agenda and proactive uptake and support of equality initiatives.
Although our roots are in construction, our systems do not need to be. The models we have created to make organisational change can be applied to any business, as can the tools that go with them. Our mission is to support companies in achieving their equality and diversity goals alongside longer term bottom line concerns. If that sounds good to you let us know how we can help.