Today is International Women’s Day.
Across the Transport & Infrastructure sectors lots of companies are making some really great strides to increase diversity, we discussed these improvements a few weeks ago, you can read more here.
But what does it mean to have a truly inclusive work environment? How can you promote a culture that not only attracts diversity, but also nurtures and develops diverse talent throughout their working life?
A recent study by Great Place to Work shows that when employees trust that they and their colleagues will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or age, they are almost 10 times more likely to look forward to going to work.
So how do you know if you are doing everything you can to be an inclusive employer?
Here are eight questions you should be asking yourself…
1. Do you have employee resource groups?
Employee resource groups or diversity groups are communities set up by employees that share a common identity. They can facilitate a space for networking, professional development and create a sense of belonging.
2. Do you have frequent internal conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
What are the company’s commitments to Diversity & Inclusion and are you having frequent discussions about how to meet these commitments?
Having bold statements around what you and your company hopes to achieve is one thing, but keeping it front and centre in people’s minds is crucial to achieving objectives. Strategies should be discussed regularly and amended as and when necessary.
3. Are your benefits inclusive?
Benefits are not one-size-fits-all, and if policies haven’t been evaluated in years, then they could be outdated. Whether it’s healthcare, paid time off, flexible parental leave, or other additional perks, it’s important to understand the company’s policies so you don’t end up compromising on your needs or values.
4. Are performance reviews standardised?
Unconscious bias influences the vast majority of our decision making, which is why having standardised performance reviews can help to mitigate bias and ensure everyone is evaluated fairly.
5. Are there mechanisms in place to collect and act on employee feedback?
Employee feedback can be hugely informative and constructive, allowing you to gain a perspective that you wouldn’t see yourself. Ensuring that feedback is gathered systematically (engagement surveys etc) and fed into policy making will go a long way towards creating an inclusive culture.
6. What training do you offer employees around diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion training as part of an onboarding programme is petty standard practice, but you should also look at what training you offer your employees beyond onboarding. How regularly do you offer different training courses and what resources are available to staff beyond week one?
7. Do you partner with any organisations outside of the office?
Encourage your employees to join groups such as Women in Transport, Women in Rail, the Women’s Engineering Society, or the National Association of Women in Construction by funding their membership and allowing time out of work to attend networking events and seminars.
Having good relationships with these groups will not only motivate your current workforce but will be a network for sourcing talented diverse candidates into the business as well.
8. What examples of women in leadership roles do you have?
Put your money where your mouth is and promote the diverse talent that you do have within your organisation. Female leaders should be advocates and role models for women wanting to get into the transport and infrastructure sectors and mentors to those looking to climb the ladder. This is particular pertinent for recruitment; external candidates will look for evidence of women already working in the organisation holding senior roles.
Unfortunately, it is still an uphill battle when it comes to diversity across the Transport & Infrastructure sectors, but we are moving in the right direction. The more that we openly discuss positive steps, celebrate successes, and recognise days such as International Women’s Day, the closer we will come to inclusivity in our markets.