Helping to lead the way with Fairness, Inclusion and Respect

Whilst the promotion of equality and diversity and combatting discrimination is central, Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) is more widely about creating happy, safe environments for people to work and stay.

It focuses on attracting and retaining talent and therefore helping the industry tackle the skills shortage we know we are facing. By creating an environment and culture that people want to work in, we will naturally achieve a more diverse workforce as it becomes an attractive career choice across communities.

Since beginning our role as FIR ambassadors for Osborne, we have attended training and workshops to increase understanding of the agenda. This has given us the opportunity to engage and work with ambassadors and experts from across the industry.

Ben admitted that when initially asked to become a FIR Ambassador he was sceptical:
“I assumed it was just another course about diversity in the workplace. After attending the first workshop though I was amazed at how all-encompassing it was. The FIR agenda essentially sets out to make the workplace a better environment for everyone working in it; it would be hard for anyone to say that they weren’t interested in that. The best part about it is that it shouldn’t take any more effort – just a few adjustments and making everyone at all levels conscious of the impacts of everyday decisions.”

For Stav, she is clear on the reasons why she wanted to be an ambassador:
“I want to increase awareness of the industry to the wider community so we can attract a diverse workforce. It is important to change the taboo that is attached to the construction industry, of it being a middle-aged-white-male industry.”

Having ambassadors within the business helps to keep our finger on the pulse and ensure we remain up to date and in the right place to share best practice. Being an ambassador means promoting the culture of FIR within Osborne, acting as role models across our contracts and projects, embodying the principles of FIR and working collaboratively to positively develop our culture.

It is also important that we step in to challenge behaviour which would create negative workplace environments for our colleagues and we hope to empower others to do the same. Hannah remembered back to one of our first workshops, saying:

“A phrase that really stuck with me from the first discussions was ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’. It sometimes feels hard to challenge conversations or behaviours as we are worried about the reaction, but unless we begin to do this we reduce the chance of learning and developing our culture of FIR. I feel strongly about the work we are doing because everybody should feel safe, happy and valued at work.”

Moving forward, we are fully engaged in the new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Group to represent and utilise best practice and ideas that we are learning from our FIR workshops, resources and conferences.