Perhaps This is the Perfect Time to Access the FIR Toolkit
For a variety of reasons, the issues of fairness, inclusion and respect are very much in the news. It’s probably worth reflecting on the fact that the construction sector still has some distance to travel towards being fully inclusive, whether that’s in relation to race, gender or sexual orientation. The latest ONS workforce data, for example, reveals that only 15% of the construction workforce are women.
By and large, it’s not a lack of willingness that has held back change. The majority of firms recognise the need for an inclusive workforce and want to be part of making that happen. But when you’re dealing with working cultures that have been decades in the making, you need a concerted effort to challenge assumptions and dismantle unconscious biases.
While that can seem like a big task, it’s worth remembering that the Supply Chain Sustainability School has produced an excellent FIR toolkit to help. The free resources include CIPD accredited e-learning modules covering many aspects of equality and diversity practice. These include topics such as setting up an inclusive site and site office, and inclusive approaches to recruitment and leadership.
Spreading FIR Good Practice
It’s important to build good practice across the organisation from the bottom up. So there’s also a series of short ‘toolbox talks’ with supporting notes that can be used onsite and in other workplaces. These cover basic issues such as acceptable language, individual responsibilities and wellbeing.
The approach also needs to work top-down. Business leaders and managers can then be clear about expectations and understand what good practice looks like. With the right training they can be confident about providing guidance, setting a positive example and dealing with any issues appropriately.
Osborne is fully committed to Fairness, Inclusion and Respect for several compelling reasons. First, it’s the right thing to do, and as a family run business that matters a lot. Second, it’s clearly good for the business if we can recruit and develop talented people from all sections of the community.
The final benefit is one of behaviour and the culture that FIR helps to create. We believe that the way we treat each other as colleagues is a mirror of how we treat our customers, which can only be positive for the future of our business when we get it right.