Back in 2010, Cruden made a commitment to become a leading edge in ethical employment, quality and diversity within the construction industry. They took great strides towards achieving this aim when they were accredited as an Investor in Diversity early in 2013.
It took 18 months to complete the application process. During this time, every member of staff – from Apprentice to Chairman – undertook equality and diversity training and engaged in discussion, debate, self-assessment and self-analysis.
They were assessed across five key areas – committing, learning, developing, improving and communicating – and emerged as more enlightened and aware individuals.
Cruden have set their sights on a new goal – Leaders in Diversity, which is stage 3 in the Investors in Diversity process.
A Steering Group has been established to help guide the journey to Leader status. The Group has been tasked with developing new initiatives that will enable Cruden to actively embrace equality, diversity and inclusion.
The first of these new initiatives is Escalate Diversity.
An extension to Cruden’s core training and development programme, Escalate Diversity will focus on the understanding and management of the impact we have, as both individuals and a business, within the many different and diverse communities in which we operate.
As part of the Leaders in Diversity assessment process, staff will be asked to complete a survey regarding their commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the workplace.
Finally the market is starting to grow again and as a sector we are aware that we need short term solutions to get onto procurement lists or meet the needs of our existing contracts. This must be done alongside longer term strategies for fairness, inclusion and respect in the workplace.
With equalities legislation meaning equality training is often a public sector requirement, we have been working hard to create a training package that can fulfil your procurement needs as well as lay down a foundation for employee engagement with future inclusion initiatives undertaken by your organisation.
The key to this is understanding your audience. Since our courses were written by people who have worked in the sector we have first-hand knowledge of the industry’s understanding and in some cases concern about areas around equalities. Combine that with our vast knowledge in areas of equality and education and we have a course that is not only able to answer those concerns, but one that can do it in a way that appeals to all of the learning styles in the room.
The Christmas packagewe are currently offering is intended to not only tick the procurement box but to help your employees see how work around diversity and inclusion is important to them. From just £25 per head and with a consistent record of work what shows engaged and informed learners what better present could we give your business?
The judges commented: “This blog is an easily accessible guide to the ins and outs of diversity and equality in the construction industry. It is a fantastic idea that provides an excellent service.”
As regular readers will know, our weekly blog discusses issues, challenges and good practice surrounding fair working practices, equality and diversity in the UK construction industry, and has developed a readership of over 1000 people per month (enhanced by the over 6000 subscribers to our newsletter).
The Construction Marketing Awards are an annual event recognising marketing excellence across the built environment. The category of Best Construction Blog was new this year, with nominations being made by those working within the industry followed by a public vote to select the shortlist.
It feels a bit strange to be blogging about our blog, but we thought you might be interested to ‘peep behind the curtain’ and see some of the details and statistics about our (now award winning) weekly blog.
Our main audience is from the United Kingdom but there is growing interest from the United States, Canada and Australia.
Depending on the topics that we cover we have on average 1000 readers per month, giving on average 1280 page impressions over that time.
We have found that since moving the blog to our website we have had an increased number of connections gaining contact with us, which has led to both sales and developing strategic relationships with individuals and organisations relevant to our future plans.
We have also seen an increase in engagement with our audience through our blog. This is an indication that more people are becoming aware of fairness, inclusion and respect in the construction industry and are wanting to find out further information, such as how this impacts upon them as an individual.
Our blog is shared across our social media profiles to reach both existing and new readers. We have over 200 followers on Facebook, and over 970 followers on Twitter. The number of readers increased by more than double since we reviewed and adapted our Social Media Strategy, a percentage increase of 167% over the past year
Depending on the topic of the blog, we receive 15-60 clicks on the link from social media each week. We receive 1 or 2 ‘shares’ on Facebook, and more than double this in retweets on Twitter. We add links to our blog to 17 different groups on LinkedIn, which is by far the most popular forum for reader engagement. We usually see 4 or 5 discussions started per blog, and many of these are still ongoing months later.
Naturally we’re all really chuffed to have won this award, so here are some comments from the office:
“Winning this award is brilliant – we blog about very challenging issues sometimes so it’s great to know the industry values our contribution to making construction a fair place to work.” – Caroline Gee, Head of Operations and Be Fair Service Manager
“Winning this award has been a great achievement for us, and it is heart-warming to know that people enjoy our weekly blogs and see them as being good enough to win such a prestigious award” – Patrick Hughes, Finance.
“The responses we get to our blog posts never cease to amaze me, and for our readers to not only nominate us for this award, but also vote us through to the final round shows just how much they appreciate our insight into the issues covered.” – Matt Crouch, Marketing, Training and Product Development.
“We are absolutely delighted at winning this award, especially since the nominations come from those working in the industry. To have our readers enter us for an award was not only very touching, but also let us know that our posts are valued by those working within construction – that means so much to us. To then be selected by the judges as the Best Construction Blog winner came as a shock considering that we were up against some stiff competition. I think this shows that subjects around fair working practices and equality are beginning to reach a higher level of significance and urgency in the industry, and are being seen as solutions to issues that we face such as the skills shortages and how companies can be seen to be ‘employers of choice’”. – Chrissi McCarthy, MD
For this week’s blog we thought we’d like to show you an example of the good news we’ve been able to tell the press about the companies signing up for Be Fair – there’s no question that there’s been a groundswell in the North West so far, but we are also signing up and talking to companies that stretch from Scotland to the South Coast or are local to areas from London to Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire to Wales.
It has been fantastic to see the interest and drive from the companies so far for being part of the move to tackle their skills shortages by demonstrating fair working and employment practices for all. And the thing I love about my job is that when I speak with any of the companies taking on Be Fair, no matter what their question, I usually have an answer to help them – after all, that’s what Be Fair is for and what we as Assessment Providers are here for…to help and support companies to be the employers of choice they deserve to be or to win the work they want.
North West leads the way on fair working practices
This exciting and innovative framework is industry led, designed for the construction industry by the construction industry to promote a greater atmosphere of respect and to encourage best practice within the sector. North West firms are leading the way as some of the first contractors to embrace the framework, which is now being rolled-out across the construction sector.
Rosslee Construction, Emmanuel Whittaker, E.R. Williams and TMJ Contractors will be working with us at Constructing Equality Ltd. (the UK’s leading experts on equality and diversity in the construction industry), for assessment and support of the Framework, under licence from CITB. Our Be Fair Service Manager, Caroline Gee, said:
“We are very excited to be working with these local companies on Be Fair as some of the first contractors to lead the way for the construction industry in demonstrating they are fair employers and the kind of company people want to work for. The Be Fair Framework was successfully piloted nationwide over the last year, and has been a catalyst for business development for the companies who have taken part.”
Companies taking on the CITB Be Fair Framework and wishing to use Constructing Equality Ltd as their licensed provider for assessment can sign up directly through Constructing Equality Ltd or can select them at the registration point with CITB. Companies in-scope to CITB can currently take advantage of a £1000 incentive for accrediting under the framework.
Now, I know what you might be thinking – Online Training has not always lived up to the dream it promised; so often being dry, over cautious and even ill-informed. We are hoping to change that by providing training that will not only engage the audience but help them see the value of learning in this style. With six large main contractor organisations having tested our training earlier this year, below are 5 reasons why you should re-think Online Training as a solution to your Equality Training needs:-
We know our stuff, both practically and academically. By that we mean we really do know what we are talking about and not just on equality either. Our team houses experts in equality and construction, as well as teaching and online learning. In fact, the wealth of knowledge that went into the Training is as follows:-
15+ years practical Construction Industry experience
15+ years Teaching experience
7+ years Equality and Diversity Practitioner experience
Postgraduate qualifications in Construction Management, Equality and Teaching
We think Training should be enjoyable. We spend a lot of time thinking about how we can teach people things in a way that keeps them engaged and helps them relate to the subject. Our Training hosts a mix of videos, tasks, audio and visual stimuli to cater for a range of learning styles and needs. We also test using a range of methods so that you can see how your staff members are progressing.
We know what’s important. Whilst the law is important to know, we think that people are more likely to buy into an ‘equality’ agenda if they can understand why it’s important to them. Hence, our courses are not only written by people who have worked in the construction industry, but they also look at the benefits for the individual, the business and the Construction Sector as a whole. This approach helps people understand why this is important for them and how they can progress this work within their roles.
We know that your time is valuable. Our training modules are broken down into blocks lasting 15mins. There are tests to be completed at the end which complement the learning experience. There are currently two courses available, one which lasts for a total of one hour, and one that goes further, taking three hours to complete. This way you can pick the course that suits your company’s needs.
We consider your budget. The training is designed so that you / your company can claim grants through the CITB Grant Scheme, if you are eligible. We also provide a discount for those companies who enrol their staff on our courses at the same time as registering with us for the CITB Be Fair Framework.
The CITB Be Fair framework is now up and running – we are the only provider licensed to deliver and consult on the framework and we have already signed up the first few companies including E R Williams and Emanuel Whittaker and MWT Civil Engineering. The CITB have pledged £100,000 to the first 100 companies to pass the framework and if that’s not reason enough to sign up we thought we would give you six more.
The industry needs it– the challenges the industry has around retention, skills shortage, recruitment and equality are mostly structural. This means that they are bigger than any one company; therefore individual companies looking to overcome these challenges are likely to have to work extremely hard. Even then they risk key talent that they have developed being poached by others who didn’t put the time in earlier. This means that the main way to overcome these challenges is working together as a sector and agreeing to key areas of improvement. This is where Be Fair comes in; it subtly changes industry culture and practices in a way that moves everyone forward.
It gives more than it gets – it contains a ridiculous amount of advice and support. The framework aims to change the sector, not simply run up costs. So whilst you can pay for additional advice and guidance to help you though, you don’t have to. The framework is prescriptive and provides supporting documents so that even if you have no clue what you’re doing, as long as you follow the documentation, (at the accredited level at least) you should pass.
It’s designed for industry and understands its challenges – it’s designed to embed change, through modules that fit the industry including supply chain and site environment alongside more traditional areas like organisational employment, policies and procedures and leadership. This means that more than one person can take ownership of each module (especially in larger companies) to spread the load and the ownership. The framework is behaviourally assessed, which means that even if you have the best paperwork in the world it won’t matter if your staff are not brought in. This allows us to credit the best in the industry, not just those that look good on paper.
It works for your business – already the framework has received a lot of praise with companies reporting a 10% rise in positive attitudes to equality and a 5% increase in overall employee engagement, increases in communications and motivation as well as positive attitudes across the business. Our stance on equality is that it should benefit business – that’s the point after all; equality is a solution to business need.
CITB and the industry are backing it as a strategy for positive cultural change– the industry has aligned behind the framework from the CITB itself to the UKCG; this was a strategic agreement that this is the way forward for industry. Worried that different constructors would adopt different standards for their supply chains, industry groups and boards got together to agree one framework for the sector. That framework is the CITB Be Fair framework.
Over the course of this month we’ve been gearing up for the launch of our online learning. The courses are written, and they have a content that is not only highly informative but also interactive and engaging.
But how can we be sure? The only way to tell was to send out samples to companies from the construction industry and ask them to test it for us, and send in feedback. We sent our samples to leading industry organisations including BAM, Costain, Hochtief–MurphyJoint Venture, Seddon, Shepherd, Robertson, CIC, CITB and Miller.
100% of testers said that: The objectives were clearly outlined and met, The content was informative and useful, The presentation had the right level of interactivity, There were enough resources supplied and they all liked us presenting it.
The respondents also commented that the construction industry focus was very useful, as the training addressed the specific challenges faced by the sector. They also pointed out that they felt the training was engaging for the potential audience, and that the interactive aspects were good. The clarity of presentation was highlighted as a strong point, with the information we were conveying being concise and thorough.
There were a few technical issues brought to our attention, but they have now been remedied.
The one hour introduction to Equality in Construction will be available from the 4th of June with a launch webinar on the 30th of June at 1pmplease get in touchif you would like a sample of the training or to register your interest in the webinar.
Usually when people refer to diversity they talk about the diversity that they see or recognise; someone’s race, sex or disability. In an industry like construction where visible diversity is often lacking there can be a tendency to see everyone as the same: – the builder becomes a stereotype of a macho, hardened man; the QS, a staid controlling introvert; or the architect becomes a pair of fashionable glasses.
I happen to think these stereotypes are not only outdated but damaging – people who I know to be warm, caring and compassionate can act out of character in order to fit the norm imposed upon them. Whilst there is obviously a need to recruit, retain and support minority groups in industry, is there not also a need to celebrate and encourage the diversity we already have in the sector – even if we can’t see it?
We think so, in fact we see acceptance as a gateway-drug to better relationships, innovation and happiness in the workplace. With this is mind we are putting together a little campaign and we would like to know what you, the folks of the construction sector, think of it.
The premise is that just because you see me, it doesn’t mean you know me – we want to break out of our stereotypes and encourage others to see the diversity in the sector that we don’t always bring to work. We want to collect pictures of people working in construction with a board telling us 3 simple things
Your job title
Something about you which does not fit the stereotype of your job role.
As you can see from the picture, I’ve started us off (any chess fans out there can find me on Chesscube or Chess.com). We hope to eventually use these pictures through social media to show the fascinating range of individuals in our sector; to highlight that being a builder (or other construction professional) is an important part of who we are, but not all of it, and it does not define our personalities, interests or beliefs.
So if you, like me, celebrate the diversity in the industry why not email, tweet, Facebook or pinterest your own mini biography #faceofconstruction and help us showcase the diversity of the 2.3million people working in the sector.
There are a number of reasons why considering diversity is good for your business these include:
To prevent legislative costs,
To reap the benefits of employing a diverse team,
To increase success on public sector tenders,
To create a more supportive working environment.
When considering the business case you really need to think about what area of the business you are focusing on and what the business case means to you for example do you value the bottom line, employee retention or productivity as a priority?
The research is stronger in some areas than others for example women on strategic boards is an area currently receiving a lot of attention due to the Davies report and the direction France, Spain and Norway have taken with regards to quotas. The wonderful catalyst has also been doing great work for 50 years this year looking at the benefits of gender equality.
Yet diversity isn’t all about gender, what about people from different ethnic and religious communities or those who for some other reason experience life in a different way to the majority? In construction there hasn’t been too much research looking at a tangible business argument though there is research from outside of the sector.
The current research suggests that there is an argument for diversity when it is well managed and understood. Unfortunately a badly thought through strategy can have a negative impact on your business which is why I would always advise clients to avoid undertaking a tick box approach – it’s likely to cost you more in the long run.
The idea behind the business model is that you should be attracting a diverse workforce not to predominantly “do the right thing” or “ensure fairness for all” but in fact to strengthen your productivity and bottom line. Here are some examples of how diversity can be a positive to your organisation.
Become an employer of choice.
For minorities in construction, the support they will receive from their employer is an important factor in choosing who they will work for. It therefore stands to reason that if you can promote high retention rates and support services, you will find more interest from not only minorities but the top end of the workforce in general. A series of surveys by Target Jobs in 2008 into construction found work life balance and development opportunities to be the most important factors in deciding upon an employer.
Improve business performance
Here it’s important to note that the research suggests that a well-managed group of diverse employees will improve your productivity and profit in a number of ways which include mirroring your client base, having a wider pool of experience and creativity and being able to tap into more networks. But if the group is not well managed, the same cannot be said.
Change appears to happen at strategic level when there are more than three women on a board; in fact a US study of fortune 500 companies found that those with 3+ women on the board all reported significantly stronger than average profits.
At tactical level research has found that diverse groups outperform more capably homogeneous groups, which backs up the theory that different experiences provide us with different viewpoints and solutions.
Retain knowledge and experience
Research into diversity in construction suggests that more could have been done to stop the majority of women leaving the construction industry. What’s more compelling is the amount of money that could have been saved if we had. A 2009 government report “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement.” put the cost of replacing an employee roughly equivalent to their salary, once training, corporate knowledge and intellectual capita are considered. The same report found that committed employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisations than those less engaged; they also perform 20% better. Instead of thinking can we afford to support our staff? Isn’t it time we started to question if we can afford not to?
The latest skills survey from the CIOB finds 72% of respondents felt there was still a skills shortage. Without recruiting from the entire selection pool we are not only failing to meet demand for numbers but also failing to find the best candidates for the roles available. Increasingly a number of smaller studies have found that young men are also avoiding construction due to its macho image and male dominance. In short, to ensure that we encourage the best recruits, we need to offer the most appealing, diverse and professional environment.
Meet procurement standards and stakeholder requirements
Public authorities need to meet the equality duties of The Equality Act 2010 and more importantly, so do their subcontractors. With 60% of current work coming from this sector that’s big news for contractors. By being able to align your organisation to the needs of your client you are putting yourself in a solid position to win more work.
With a large percentage of women and minorities now making procurement decisions for public sector work they want to see themselves represented in your workforce, so if all you have to offer is middle aged white men, it might not be enough.
Very nobel sentiments but I am afraid the ‘bottom line’ is the critical element. This must be positive or no business of any description. To enable to business to function you need work but I have yet to find the way to pick and choose what work you do. You do the work you can get by whatever means, as astutely as you can and if you can afford some nobel aspirational choices that is fine and may auger well for the future when you would hope to repeat them. But then you are back to what work you can obtain and making a profit.
I THINK THIS SITE AND YOUR RESEARCH IS GREAT AND REALLY NEEDED IN AUSTRALIA FROM WORKING IN CONSTRUCTION, CIVIL AND MINING FOR 20 YEARS COMBINED, I HAVE TRAVELLED, MET FANTASTIC WORK MATES, BUT NEVER BEEN REALLY LOOKED AT FOR PROMOTION, UNLESS I TOOK TIME OUT TO TRAIN AND PAY MY OWN WAY FOR COURSES ECT. SOME USA BASED BIGGER COMPANIES HAVE A BETTER HANDLE ON THIS “THANK-GOODNESS” AUSSIES, CATCH UP WITH THE TIMES PLEASE AND REMOVE THAT “GLASS CEILING” ATTITUDE AND MAKE FOR A MORE BALANCED INDUSTRY.