CITB reveals new ‘streamlined’ 8-member board

james_wates_310Nick Boles, the Minister of State for Skills and Equalities, today announced CITB’s new Board which will revolutionise how the Industry Training Board operates, increase diversity and put industry at the heart of decision-making.

The streamlined eight-member Board includes five women from across the industry and brings together levy payers and independent members from England, Wales and Scotland, who will be able to make swift decisions based on the industry’s needs.  They will be supported by a CITB Council with members drawn from across the built environment sector.

Skills and Equalities Minister Nick Boles said, “The new Board will have a major role in helping this dynamic industry develop the skills it needs to grow. “I congratulate all the new Trustees on their appointment and look forward to seeing them working with business and employers to address the skills challenges faced by the construction sector.

“I am particularly pleased to see greater diversity on the Board and hope that it encourages more women to consider a career in construction.”

James Wates CBE, who will Chair the new Board said, “The appointment of a diverse, smaller, industry-led Board  marks the next stage of a reform programme that will make us even more relevant and responsive to the needs and ambitions of the industry we serve.

“Our industry is facing challenging times and I am delighted that the Secretary of State has appointed a Board which fairly reflects  our industry – both in terms of diversity and representation from all three UK nations.

“As an organisation we have made increasing the number of women in the industry a priority and I am proud that CITB is the first Non-Departmental Public Body to have a Board made up of over 50% women.

“I look forward to working with our new colleagues to drive change and make a lasting contribution to our industry in the year ahead.”

The membership of the new CITB Board is:

 Chairman

James Wates CBE, Chairman Wates Group

 Employers

Maureen Douglas, Group HR Director, Forster Group Ltd. (Scotland)

David Harris MBE, Managing Director, WRW Construction Ltd. (Wales)

Karen Jones, Group HR Director, Redrow plc.

Maria Pilfold, HR Consultant and former Director of the Taylor Wimpey Group

Ray Wilson, Director and General Manager, Carillion Training Services

 Independents

Dr. Diana Garnham, CEO, Science Council

Frances Wadsworth, Principal and CEO, Croydon College

How to tick a box and build a business

Published: 11.12.2015

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 package we 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?

Workshop training Stats

 

Construction Marketing Awards - Winner

Best Construction Blog 2014 – it’s official

Winner logo
Best Construction Blog

Published: 4.12.2014

 

At this week’s Construction Marketing Awards for 2014, Constructing Equality Ltd. scooped the award for Best Construction Blog.

 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

Construction Marketing Awards - Winner

Addressing construction industry skills shortages – “North West leads the way on fair working practices”

caroline2For 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

North West based contractors; Rosslee Construction, Emmanuel Whittaker, E.R. Williams and TMJ Contractors, have been amongst the first companies to sign up for the CITB Be Fair Framework. The Be Fair Framework is a construction specific action-plan that recognises fair working conditions, employment practises and behaviours leading to national accreditation.

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.”

Nine North West companies gained accreditation through taking part in the 2013 pilot; Cull Dry Lining and Plastering Ltd, Highwire Limited, Holloway Cook Associates Ltd, ISG plc (North West Region), MAC Roofing, Penny Lane Builders Ltd, Southport Gate, The Sovini Group (One Vision Housing), and Walter Carefoot and Sons Ltd.

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.

Further information on Be Fair can be found on our website.

http://constructingequality.co.uk/befairframework/

 

To see what companies who have used us as their provider say, visit our testimonials page

http://constructingequality.co.uk/about-us/testimonials/

 

Be Fair articles

Considerate Constructors Scheme http://www.ccscheme.org.uk/index.php/citb-s-be-fair-framework

Institute of Historic Building Conservation http://ihbconline.co.uk/newsachive/?p=7875

Project Scotland http://www.projectscot.com/2014/04/citb-celebrates-diversity-with-new-industry-award-given-to-graham/

Building Contractors Training Group http://www.bctg.uk.com/macform-fair-accreditation/

 

For further information and details companies taking on Be Fair can contact Constructing Equality Ltd on 0151 706 8132 or via Patrick@constructingequality.co.uk

Re-Thinking Online Equality Training – 5 Reasons why it could be for you and your company

Published: 7.11.2015

 

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:-

  1. 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
  • In-house expertise in Online Training

“The course is construction specific, which makes it relevant” Shepherd Construction

  1. 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.

“The interactive aspects are good” BAM Construct UK Ltd

  1. 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.

“Raised important issues” Seddon Construction

  1. 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.

“Excellent pace” Robertson Construction

  1. 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.

“Keeps audience participation high” The Miller Group (Miller Construction)

To find out more about our courses, or to enrol your staff as learners, contact us in any of the following ways:

Online equality training can help you meet both organisational and procurement requirements.

How to improve the industry’s track record on equality – 5 very important pointers

Chrissi3-300x202

Published: 30.10.2014

There’s a bit of a trend happening as we come out of the recession and start to refocus on skills. Part of it is that we are looking to women and gender to overcome the skills shortage, the other part is that we are looking for the reason why women and minority groups are not represented. This in itself is not a bad thing; in fact it’s a good thing.

The challenge comes when people start looking outside of both their organisations and themselves. There are a lot of organisations and teams within them doing great work and focusing on their impact, but there are just as many, if not more, who feel the challenge lies solely with others, and that’s where the challenge for the industry lies.

You see there is no one answer to the challenge of making the industry more representative; it is a massively complex area involving a wide range of influencers, variables and outcomes. Current perspectives include: –

  1. Thinking there is one simple answer to solving the industry’s challenges.

There isn’t; it’s just not that simple. There is a lot of talk regarding getting more people into the sector as if that will make all the difference, but there is evidence against that. Pretty much any organisation in the industry can show you a wide gap between entry level diversity and that in senior management. If people are not being promoted it’s unlikely they will stay – we need to tackle the full spectrum of issues. It’s a massively complex area and what will work within a small sub-contractor will not have the same effect within an institute. CITB’s Be Fair framework understands this and guides business towards what’s right for their staff and their bottom lines.

  1. Presuming that people in business are on side with equality.

Some are, some aren’t and some don’t care. This is important; we need to understand what attitudes exist within our companies regarding equality in order to fully overcome them. Giving training on sub-conscious bias to people with aggressively negative attitudes to equality can worsen a situation, which is bad for business and for individuals. This is the area of focus for our PhD and a key part in ensuring equality works within the business.

  1. Looking outwards, not inwards.

It’s very easy to say what everyone else is doing wrong but so much harder to see where you might be able to improve. We meet many people and individuals who say the problem is with (external issue) without a second glance at their own impact. This is very concerning because if we all take this stance nothing will be done. We must ensure that those leading on industry change show how they have considered their own responsibility and put measures in place accordingly. Otherwise the only clear leadership measure is that it’s OK to just point the finger.

  1. Do what I say not what I do.

You can have as many company policies as you want, but if the actual message delivered by the actions of you and your business does not back them up you’ve probably just made the situation worse. Research shows us that the presence of a diversity strategy that is not well considered, and appropriately actioned, can have damaging effects on business.

  1. Focusing on what has gone before.

There is a lot of research on equality, both inside the sector and outside of it. There have also been a lot of initiatives over the years trying to tackle this issue. Yet at many of the gatherings I go to people often talk about this challenge as if nothing has ever happened before, suggesting old ideas as new and ignoring the lessons learned the last time we took a trip down that road. This is a sure fire way to set us back as a sector. We must learn from the successes and mistakes of the past if we are to actually move this agenda forward. Otherwise we will simply create a series of politically popular talking shops.

So what to do? Like we said, this is a massively complex array of issues that don’t become any easier when applied to the construction industry – our project-based working, long hours and fragmented nature creates a unique environment that must be understood if change is to be enacted.

The thing is though, we already have the solution – the CITB Be Fair framework considers all of these aspects and more; it is staged change for the industry at a pace it can handle and treats different organisations appropriately allowing for an action plan that suits them and improves the business.

It also has a strategy behind it that feeds information back into industry and works for the improvement of the sector.

To make change we must all take responsibility for our own organisations, actions and learning. Because if we don’t we might very well be part of the problem not the solution.

Awards:

CMA, 2014 Finalist

 

The CITB Be Fair Framework – 6 reasons your company should do Be Fair

RLDavies Awarded CITB Be Fair Accreditation (1) 17.9.14
R L Davies Awarded CITB Be Fair Accreditation

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.

  1. Your clients are doing it – main contractors who have already worked through the framework include Vinci, Morgan Sindall, Wates, Graham, ISG and Lend Lease. What’s more the Highways Agency has backed the framework alongside Crossrail, and where infrastructure goes, the rest of public procurement follows.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Next steps: so if you want to find out more about the framework you can call our offices on 0151 706 8132 for a no obligation overview, email one of our business advisors paul@constructingequality.co.uk or Patrick@constructingequality.co.uk or visit the CITB website.

Women in Construction – Parliamentary Event Review

Chrissi3-300x202Last night I had the pleasure of being invited to the Women in Construction parliamentary workshop hosted by Meg Munn MP. The aim of the workshop was to consider some ideas around why there was an under-representation of women in construction and what could be done to improve the situation. So we thought this week we would offer you a review of the workshop and hopefully invite you to add your own thoughts in the comments.

Regular readers will probably have a fair understanding of our position on the topic but for those who are new, firstly hello, secondly…a recap: –

The problem – We feel that women and other minority groups are unfairly represented and treated in industry. This belief is based upon the many papers written specifically about the issue that find two thirds of women identify with being discriminated against in the construction work place.

Why is it a problem? – Although the construction industry is a brilliant sector to work in for many reasons, it’s also a sector with its challenges. We need to step back and consider whether or not, of the 2.5 million people working in the industry, the average white male is happy with their career? In an industry that often expects 70 hour working weeks, bogus self-employment contracts and a high stress environment the answer is not always the yes we might be seeking. So if the average man isn’t happy, what would happen if we added the challenges that face women to that picture? Would you accept unfavourable working conditions and discrimination? It’s a lot to ask. I’ll work 70 hours a week if you promote me –  I’m likely to just get frustrated if you don’t.

Why does it happen? – The reasons the average person is unhappy are systemic, and we need to take a wider view to change these – they include challenges such as late payment terms, suicide bidding and increasingly tight programmes.

The bigger problem is that these factors have a knock-on effect on discrimination. Research shows us that when we are happy and secure in our workplace we are more likely to act in an inclusive and equal way. When we are scared and concerned for our job security we are more likely to segregate and be prejudicial.

What might make it worse? – So if we are in a situation where people are worried about their jobs and you introduce a programme that appears to be giving one group an advantage over another, three guesses as to how that might turn out?

The solution – You need to establish a base level of fairness, inclusion and respect within your organisation. Only once your staff feel safe and have a positive attitude to equality (as they don’t see it as a threat to their own position) can you then start to implement positive action programmes. The CITB Be Fair framework was created to do just this, so that’s an easy win. Especially when you consider that the things you need to do in order to foster positive attitudes to equality also increase employee engagement (or organisational citizenship behaviour, as some of the text books are fond of saying).

Back to the workshop – it was introduced by Meg Munn, who unlike some of the politicians I have seen straddle this particular pony over the years seemed to have a real interest and passion in, not only talking about, but making some positive change regarding women, in the construction workplace and across the workforce in general. Her opening remarks were humorous and meaningful and it was good to see such support for the sector.

Next up was Simon Carr, the Managing Director of Henry Boot which is a company we have seen before in the equality arena. It was good to hear him share his best practice regarding the work undertaken and more importantly the value that leaders in the organisation placed upon it. It’s not many companies that field an MD at a diversity event so, kudos.

Judy Lowe, the Deputy Chair of CITB then gave her comments regarding the situation, focusing on the importance of the retention of women and the need to address this through fairness, inclusion and respect. She was kind enough to credit our paper alongside other academic work and so, of course, we are a little biased in our opinion, but we felt that she made important points that reflected the situation of many women in the sector.

Then to the round table groups; four groups in the room were tasked with addressing why women didn’t feel supported in the sector and how this could be moved forward. I don’t want to spoil the surprise as I know that a compilation of these is being worked upon, but overall many common themes were identified that it’s about leadership, having something to sign up to, supporting women, recognising the experience of women, appreciating working hours and many more – too many to list here.

Meg then summed up the points and to our surprise (and, of course, delight) mentioned the CITB Be Fair framework as a possible solution to these challenges.

Overall I felt the evening did a good job in bringing these issues to light. It could be said that the points raised have been established in research, both inside and outside of the sector, but that would be missing the point somewhat. The main thing is not that we are discovering new information, but rather that we were sharing it; and that information was not coming from one lone source but a number of sources independently. This I find is much more powerful and influential to those making decisions in industry than academic research, no matter how firmly academic research establishes the facts it presents.

Now we must focus on what comes next, which is taking this momentum and translating it into something that is practical and purposeful for the sector. Judy Lowe quoted me as saying that “over 20 years of initiatives have failed to make any impact on the number of women in the sector” – here we have a real opportunity to change that and I have a strong belief that if we continue to work together to increase our knowledge and share our findings, we will find ourselves not only with more women in the sector, but with more talent overall wanting to work in an industry that we are proud to work in.

Experts in Equality, specialists in construction

Chrissi3-300x202We 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.

 

A fresh view on equality; the Constructing Equality Limited approach

Traditionally work around equality has focused on either the business itself looking into its processes and practices, or at minority Chrissi3-300x202groups 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.