Today, Monday 10/18/2021, is the first day of the first-ever Construction Inclusion Week @TFC_CIW! Cauldwell Wingate supports initiatives promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the work place and, of course, within the construction industry. Below please find five key topics on how we can better understand and promote inclusivity within our work environments. #constructioninclusionweek @CAGNY #CAGNY #DEI
Day One: Leadership Commitment & Accountability – To fully realize a culture of inclusion and belonging requires both leadership commitment and accountability to ourselves and others. Neither leadership nor accountability are top-down but rather shared responsibilities that each of us regardless of role, title or position can actively demonstrate. There are lots of examples and definitions for leadership. But at its most basic level leadership is the ability to influence others towards achieving a goal. Accountability is owning and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. When these are put in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion, it means we all have a part to play. All of us being leaders, modeling the behavior we want to see in others and influencing others towards the goal of a more inclusive society; and holding ourselves and others accountable to actions that help inspire and achieve that vision.
Day Two: Unconscious Bias Education and understanding the implications of unconscious bias, is critical to cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging. It is important to recognize not all unconscious bias is bad and unconscious bias is an inherent trait of being human. Unconscious bias is the brains way of efficiently filtering and organizing information. In its simplest form it can be benign, helping us to easily decide what to have for lunch. In its most complex form it can be insidious, manifesting in reinforcing or enabling negative stereotypes. In the first example we can quickly decide on the food we like. In the latter example, this can lead to exclusionary and harmful behavior. Defining unconscious bias, recognizing how it can manifest in the workplace and engaging steps to mitigate are the building blocks to creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.
Day Three: Supplier Diversity – What is supplier diversity and why is it important? Supplier diversity is a business practice that refers to the inclusion of businesses owned by diverse individuals or groups in the procurement of goods and services. A diverse supplier is generally defined as a business that’s at least 51% owned and operated by an individual that’s part of a traditionally underrepresented or underserved group. Common classifications are minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs), woman-owned business enterprises (WBEs), and small-business enterprises (SBEs). Businesses owned by other minority groups, such as LGBQT+, veterans, and persons with disabilities, may also be considered diverse suppliers.
Day Four Jobsite Culture – Establishing and maintaining a positive jobsite culture means that everyone gets to experience a work place that is inclusive and respectful. We know what a good jobsite culture feels like – it’s the job that everyone wants to be on because it looks and feels welcoming. We also know that a good culture leads to a safer and more productive job, one that provides higher value to our client and allows each and every worker to perform their best work. Everyone must actively care for each other and ensure that everyone feels both physically and psychologically safe. Jobsites are our work homes, they are where we spend our days, and they are where we gather the emotions, attitudes, and behaviors that we bring home to our families. We should expect to get a high level of respect and standard of care where we work. We must create work places which are equitable and meet the needs of all employees, industry-wide. We need to ensure jobsites are free of bias and harassment; where all are treated with respect; sites in which our professional opinions are heard and valued and all have a seat at the table. Additionally, our clients appreciate and have come to expect a diverse and respectful workplace. This is not diversity on paper only, we need to foster collaborative and inclusive teams where everyone can do their best work and deliver for our clients.
Day Five: Community Engagement Community engagement, through volunteering and financial donations, is embedded in most companies in our industry. History has shown us we are an enormously generous group of people. As we continue to advance our efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive environment, it is important to step back and look at our community engagement through a DEI lens. Are we supporting diverse communities in meaningful ways? Is there open dialogue between our companies and community leaders? Are we leveraging the resources of our industry to create real social change? Whether through in-person volunteering, cash donations, employee giving or sponsorships, we are in a unique position leverage our desire to give to create positive change in inclusion within our companies and our communities.