Even at larger and more established firms, it is increasingly common to find in-house incubators that fund and promote innovation and experiment with solutions to real-world, on-site issues. These kinds of initiatives encourage new ways of thinking and also incentivise new voices in the room, particularly from young and up-and-coming talent within organisations.
Diversity and Inclusion can address the skills gap
The reality is that the current construction workforce is overwhelmingly white and male – and this group is also gradually aging into retirement while fewer young people are replacing them.
Importantly, leading firms and professional organisations, such as RICS, are addressing this by looking beyond programs to improve retention, address gender imbalances and attract young talent. Instead they are looking at diversity in the true broad sense which includes race, religion, sex and sexual orientation, and how to remove barriers to career progression for those traditionally less represented in the industry.
Still, it is one thing to make the right noises and another to put them into action. In my experience, creating and maintaining executive will is critical to lasting change and often improves with the use of tools such as unconscious bias training. Also, data and staff engagement surveys across an organisation is a critical backbone to a Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
Quality data enables a sound understanding of underlying issues, while thoughtful selection and implementation of proven interventions provides a means to measure and test return on investment decisions. Empowering working groups that include diverse people and have access and support from executive decision makers have also proven to be a great strategy for success.