Construction companies have begun to look at their own business practices and have pledged to improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) in the workforce. 

This is not only in response to an increased interest in companies’ efforts to embrace and develop different identities. It is also the result of companies recognizing the benefits of having these practices in place.

What is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

According to psychologist and DE&I Consultant, Dulce Maria Vega, the term “DE&I” is an umbrella term that is used to describe three distinct concepts:  

  • Diversity: The range of groups of people in your workforce. These can refer to differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, marital status, etc.  
  • Equity: Promoting fair processes providing opportunities for all individuals in a company. In the workplace, this requires employers recognize barriers and opportunities and properly address them so that everyone has a level playing field. 
  • Inclusion: When your employees feel a sense of belonging due to your policies and have the ability to be their true selves. 

The Benefits of Having a DE&I Policy 

Implementing DE&I policies is not just a trend, it has real implications for your employees’ (and your company’s) success.  

Benefits of Having Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practices 

Promoting diversity, particularly in the construction industry has been associated with higher levels of productivity and retention. And guess what else that affects? You guessed it, your company’s financial performance 

A global study by McKinsey & Company, found that those companies that had more gender diversity were more likely to outperform on profitability. And the ones that didn’t take diversity into account? Well, they were 27% less likely to experience profitability above the industry average.  

Benefits of Promoting Equity 

Equity, has it’s own unique set of benefits. Studies have shown that enabling equity allows for better job satisfaction as well as employee engagement which leads to better retention rates.  

Not only does promoting equitable practices allow for better retention, but it also creates a stronger workforce. Creating custom learning and development plans can help create that level playing field that they need to succeed in your company.   

Benefits of Fostering Inclusion 

In a typical workplace, there are several differences among your individual employees. The question is, does your company embrace those differences?  

Workplaces that have embraced and supported employees’ differences have employees who are more likely to contribute profitable ideas, skills and innovations. These practices also encourage higher retention rates and are associated with spending less money on recruiting and onboarding.  

How to Get Started with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Now that you’ve heard about the benefits of DE&I in the workplace, you’re probably thinking “I want these benefits for my own company.” Here are some actions that you can take to get started:  

Do a Diversity Audit  

Before thinking about where you have to go, you have to think about where your company currently stands in terms of things like recruitment. A diversity audit, which consists of data collection and staff consultation, can help you understand the identities that make up your workforce. It can help you create a tailored Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy.

Identify your “Why” and Create Goals 

Once you assess where you are, the next step is to define the business case and why your company could benefit from a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. To do so, it’s important to highlight how initiatives in this space connect to your company’s mission and values.

Once this is thought out, identifying goals addressing needs uncovered by the audit is necessary. Goals, such as those targeting recruitment and engagement, must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (SMART). 

Get Exec Buy-in  

Once you have the what, why and how established, it is now time to engage the right stakeholders. Show them the benefits you plan to achieve and your roadmap for achieving them.   

Think about DE&I as a project and evolve over time  

When implementing DE&I initiatives, companies need to know that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is not just a trend. It is something that should be cultivated and assessed at least annually. By doing so, not only will your employees flourish, your company will, too.  

To learn more about HR tools that will help you successfully implement your DE&I plan, read Encourage Diversity in Construction: Here’s Why.