Changing perceptions of construction is critical to attract more women into the industry.
Nikunj Upadhyay, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Wates, was among industry contributors interviewed for a major feature in Construction News about how company culture, flexible working and the right environment can be a catalyst for change.
Earlier this year Wates set bold targets as part of a new Diversity and Inclusion plan, including a commitment to double the proportion of women in the workforce, across all levels of the organisation. Nikunj discusses how meeting these targets will require culture change that includes providing flexible working, the right environment and empowering people.
Flexible working is a vital part of changing the culture of the industry. Enabling people to manage a good work-life-balance is particularly important for retaining your workforce long-term.
“We can put a lot of effort into hiring diverse individuals but if the environment does not allow them to build successful careers while managing multiple responsibilities in their life, they won’t stay with us.”
Empowering our people
Finding, supporting and empowering people within the business who are more open to new ways of doing things is a key step to driving change.
“Nobody likes change and there is comfort in doing things that have always been done. To drive change, identifying early adopters within the organisation who can talk about the value of doing things differently can help influence other people within the organisation.”
The right environment
As well as speaking to line managers about changing set working patterns, Nikunj is also reviewing Wates’ recruitment process to ensure we have a fit for purpose process that helps attract diverse talent.
Our Guiding Framework
Our Guiding Framework builds on the vision and values that have shaped the company since 1897. Our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion is a key principle within the Guiding Framework – and our ambition to be representative of the communities we serve.