Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a topic of global importance that affects a range of industries and sectors. For the construction industry however it’s a top priority due to its potential crippling long-term impact. In the face of a tightening labor market, companies should be focusing their strategies on hiring, developing, and training a more diverse workforce.
Here are some of the highlights discussed at our 2022 Construction Risk Management Conference to help guide organizations in strengthening their D&I strategy:
Moving beyond the traditional industry risk control efforts that focus entirely on physical loss and greatly ignore mental health; positive working environment and culture is imperative. Creating a diverse work environment starts by encouraging a culture of acceptance, feedback and continual improvement. Building cultures where employees feel safe is crucial for teams to thrive in the workplace.
Change happens when purpose and value meet. Leaders have the power to drive change and consciously improve diversity by making D&I an integral part of the talent experience and value proposition. For this to happen it requires both leadership commitment and accountability.
Understanding the implications of unconscious bias is critical to cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging. We all have a tendency of making decisions prompted by a range of assumptions and biases that we are not aware of, but that can have a detrimental impact on D&I, therefore it’s essential for leaders and organizations to manage the situation from the top down.
There is a difference between being included and belonging to a team. Belonging is a sense you get that you are a valued member of a company and when employees feel that they have a sense of purpose. This kind of belonging increases productivity, collaboration, and commitment across the organization.
People thrive in different environments requiring diverse structures and flexibility. The construction industry needs to think proactively about how women can feel supported and encouraged to realize their full potential. The numbers are not looking positive either – women comprise 9% of the construction workforce. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has an ambitious goal of achieving 25% women in leadership representation by 2025.1 The reality is ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and that’s why it’s crucial for the industry to create an environment where women can fully participate.
A shortage in labor is worrisome for the construction industry with predictions that in the next five to ten years there will not be enough workers. Creating a more diverse and inclusive construction workforce takes time but there are actions we can take now to inspire the next generation. The industry has a great number of career and educational pathways that lead to success. However, the message isn’t spreading to children and students fast enough.
It all begins with inspiring children to think about architecture and construction from the early days. Leaders and industry experts should be speaking at schools and community events to change the conversation and reset stereotypes.
Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed entities, including Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada Inc. (in Canada).
Bill Creedon is the Global Head of Construction for WTW. During his time in the industry, Bill has held a variety of roles ranging from client management to local and global leadership. Over the years, Bill has gained experience with a broad spectrum of heavy civil and building contractors. Bill also works closely with the Graduate Development Program at WTW dedicated to fostering young talent within the company.