Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives impact every level of the construction industry — and HR teams play a critical role in the conversation. There’s much to be gained from an inclusive workplace culture: from new perspectives and innovative ideas, to a better reputation among employees and clients. If your role is responsible for carrying DEI initiatives forward, it is helpful to make a plan for actionable progress.
Take these top tips to your teams to begin successfully integrating companywide DEI initiatives.
How to implement DEI in the workplace: Six tips for HR leaders
1. Start with hiring and recruitment.
In the construction industry in particular, a future leader can come from any background: on the jobsite, within the office, and with a high school CTE education or a four-year college degree. When leadership at all levels puts aside bias and commits to diversity, employees don’t just hear about how important these values are — they feel the positive impact every day.
2. Ask AND listen to employee feedback.
DEI encompasses a lot of thoughts and experiences, so take it piece by piece. Open forums, employee resource groups, one-on-one mentorship, and other anonymous vehicles for honest feedback establish a safe space for workers to communicate about challenges and support one another.
Some talking points to get you started:
- “Are diverse communities equally represented across all departments?”
- “Are there areas in the company where you would like to see specific improvement?”
- “How can we better empower our employees?”
- “Where do you see DEI enacted well, and what are your thoughts on taking that to other places?”
As you are developing your company’s DEI action plan, there’s no better resource than your own employees. Making sure their voices are heard and ideas are valued is a powerful step forward.
3. Boost your pipeline of diverse internal talent.
Hiring outside your organization isn’t the only way to accomplish your diversity goals. Promoting from within improves employee morale, increases retention, and helps reduce the expense of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training new employees.
Most importantly? It’s the right thing to do.
A diverse internal talent pipeline lays the groundwork for inclusive leadership. Employees can offer new and valuable perspectives on how policies and programs are being lived out, and how this affects them in the field. It’s important their voices are heard in order to build a truly inclusive culture.
4. Examine who has a seat at the leadership table.
In order for DEI to truly take effect, it has to be instilled from the top-down. If a leadership team isn’t fully invested in building a diverse culture, diversity efforts can default to empty gestures as opposed to meaningful change.
Challenge your leadership team to include members who represent different age, sex, racial, and cultural backgrounds. If your company’s leadership team is lacking in diversity, set goals for hiring and promotion with yearly milestones to chart the path forward.
When your leadership sets an example, they begin building systems of change to affect and inspire all employees.
5. Set goals for every aspect of your operations.
When Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is implemented holistically, it means so much more than hiring and staffing. Encourage your leaders to dig deeper and examine the impact of your business on your partners, clients, and customers.
Take inspiration from businesses like Target, whose DEI goals strive to create a welcoming guest experience and an inclusive and diverse workplace, as well as leaving a positive societal impact on the communities they serve. Succeeding in these initiatives is only possible after implementing policy changes, and training across many different teams and departments.
6. Know when to ask for help.
You might not know where or how to start implementing your DEI initiatives, and that’s okay. What’s important is knowing when to ask for help.
A DEI consultant can provide guidance across all stages of organizational change. If your company lacks the resources or expertise to educate employees, a third-party professional can host or facilitate conversations and training sessions to build momentum. Consultants can also leverage their professional network to help you find diverse young professionals to fill internships and other construction industry employment opportunities.
ConstructReach can help you get started
When it comes to DEI, no change is ever too small. Whether you want to fill your talent pipeline, enhance your diversity initiatives, demonstrate your investment to the communities you build in, or position your brand as a diversity advocate, ConstructReach can help you achieve your DEI goals.
ConstructReach offers a variety of resources for General Contractors to plan and implement DEI initiatives. Contact our team to discuss next steps for your organization.
A strong company DEI culture benefits everyone. Start making change with ConstructReach today.