CREATING A CULTURE WHERE EVERYONE IS HEARD AND RESPECTED

Dean Pinner reflects on Pride Month and explains our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

During June we celebrated #pride month, which highlighted some of the ways we are working hard to create a more inclusive environment for all LGBTQ+ colleagues and how we actively encourage education to support becoming a brilliant ally.

However, our diversity and inclusion strategy goes beyond one month, and further than gender identity or sexual orientation diversity. 

Creating a better place for everyone to bring ‘their whole self to work’, while part of our Keyline Civils Specialist family, has been one of the areas I have personally put high on my agenda in my role as Managing Director. I’ve been working closely alongside both Keyline and TP plc colleagues on the ongoing work to ensure all colleagues have the freedom to express and to be our authentic selves; as this is core to who we are and what we value as a business.
 
SO WHY IS DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION SO IMPORTANT?


Everyone is different and it would be pretty boring if we were all the same! Having this difference, creates difference and so it’s vitally important that people can be themselves – and be known for who they are when at work as well as out of the workplace.
 
The one uniting bond is that we’re all human so it’s up to us to create a workplace which celebrates, supports, respects and values one another for what we each bring to the team.
 
What’s also driving our focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) is that our colleagues are keen to hear more from the business. We have now launched a Diversity and Inclusion network and during the first session we spent some time in groups talking about why we wanted to be involved, what we are personally passionate about and what difference we would like to make within our business.
 
We know that small changes can make a big difference tomorrow and I’m keen to share how we’re keeping the conversation going and are emphasising the importance of diversity and inclusion not only within Keyline, but in our industry as a whole.  
WHAT BEING A DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE MEANS
  • DIVERSITY refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique. 
  • INCLUSION refers to the behaviours and social norms that ensure people feel welcome.
For us, being a diverse and inclusive workplace is that everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the business, feels safe to be themselves, equally involved and fully supported.
 
It’s about exploring and building upon the unique potential of each person rather than highlighting the differences between us. A diverse workforce includes colleagues with a wide range of interests, viewpoints, backgrounds and life experiences. These diversities can come from many different parts of our society and can be represented within our teams and by individuals in many ways. For example, an individual’s culture, race or ethnicity, religion of spiritual beliefs, gender or sexual orientation. It also includes disability and generational diversity.
 
An inclusive workplace enables a diverse range of people to work together effectively. It brings many benefits to a business too. As an organisation we’re proud to be safety leaders, but we know that safety is more than just physical – it’s mental health and wellbeing too – and having support in these areas for everyone involved is vital to our success.
 
We also believe greater knowledge and behaviours around diversity and inclusion helps us to serve our communities better, creating better customer interaction and ultimately business performance.  
 
We are starting our journey of creating ways of contributing to employee wellbeing and engagement. And our culture of listening and speaking out goes a long way in helping us to shape our strategy, company values and policies.
 
Last month we had a company wide colleague engagement survey ‘Your Voice, Our Future’, where we asked all colleagues  to take part in providing feedback on key issues relating to all aspects of how we operate.
 
Much of our work is also about celebrating diversity of thought and you only get that through diversity of people. Our Youth Board in particular is a great example of positive steps forward to ensure all voices are heard and acted upon. I’m learning a tremendous amount from our younger colleagues and what they think their, and our, challenge is – and this always leads to a better business and a better culture, where people feel they can be who they are and have a voice.
NINE WAYS TO BE AN ALLY
 

This nine point guide to being an ally, that was written in relation to the LGBTQ+ community, actually reflects a lot of the work we’ve been doing recently around D&I as a whole. It is a great reminder of some of the things we can all be doing – at all levels and in all areas of our lives – to ‘do the right thing’ to improve equality and inclusion.   
 
  1. Do your research: Committing to increase understanding around diversity is a good start to becoming an ally. Learn the different terminologies and the difference between them, so you don’t have to ask colleagues what they mean.
  2. Listen: The more we listen to each other, the more we’ll understand, and this will make it easier to remove barriers, raise awareness and create an inclusive workplace culture.
  3. Speak out: If you have a conversation with someone and it concerns you, elevate your reports to the appropriate person and make a plan for dealing with them. Actions should have consequences, and you need to make it clear that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. When we witness discrimination in the workplace, it can be very uncomfortable, and it’s much easier to pretend you haven’t heard or simply say nothing. We all need to do more to support each other and have the courage to speak up when we see or hear discrimination.
  4. Role model behaviours: While it’s important to have a leadership that advocates diversity and inclusion it’s equally vital to have advocates at all levels, who live and breathe inclusivity. Role models at the top of the company are also tremendously important in the cultivation of acceptance.
  5. Be honest: Be honest with your colleagues and admit when you’ve made mistakes previously. Likewise, own up when you don’t understand something. No one expects you to be an expert – and people will appreciate your honesty rather than staying silent for fear of saying the wrong thing or saying something stupid. Wanting to learn, educate and grow through open communication is welcomed and shows that you are truly looking to be an ally.
  6. Support local community events: We are extremely proud of our colleagues who showed their support during Pride month and hope similar events and activities will continue to encourage more conversation and involvement in all types of events that aim to increase engagement.  
  7. Shared responsibility: An organisation can work as hard as it wants to create a more inclusive culture but what’s essential is that all colleagues see it as a shared responsibility to ensure it happens at all touchpoints. This can be done through encouragement, picking colleagues up on potentially derogatory language, strong anti-discrimination policies, listening to staff and concerted diversity training. This will also lead to a team working together more effectively and more collaboratively too.
  8. Play your part: From personal actions and knowledge sharing, through to encouraging and supporting colleagues to be more inclusive – even the smallest of actions add up to create greater change. You can show your support, set up network groups or get involved in policy making change programmes – it all counts and we can all play our part however big or small.  
  9. Be more accountable: So the final point is about accountability. Whether you are in a leadership position or just starting your career, be transparent about where you are on your diversity and inclusion journey regarding representation and levels of advancement. But get involved and be part of it.
 
For me, I know I can help, support and lead to ensure all voices are heard. And I personally feel I’m becoming a better person through all of the positive work around diversity and inclusion that I’ve been involved in so far – and the journey continues. I’ve been extremely proud to have seen the activities and evidence of allyship around our business during Pride month and hope this continues across all areas of where we need to continue to become more knowledgeable and supportive to our fantastic colleagues.
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