From 1,000's of builders on sites across London tying up their boots with rainbow laces in support of LGBT equality to an industry-wide advice network – construction is embracing sexual orientation diversity. To bring about a more inclusive approach to our workforce, employers have put a range of strategies in place.
Research has shown that making the workplace more inclusive for LGBT employees brings many business benefits including:
A structured approach to develop fairness, inclusion and respect in construction companies has been provided by the CITB’s Be Fair Framework. It is aimed at creating workplaces where employees feel valued and supported. This is done through free resources that look at the Equality Act 2010 and how to implement this effectively in the workplace.
Many employers adopt a “no bystander” policy to encourage people to discourage those who use offensive language – whether innocently or intentionally.
As they are within the community itself, LGBT staff are encouraged to be role models and to be given the time to inspire others, preventing feelings of isolation for employees.
The LGBT job site Diversity Jobs lists only jobs from companies with established policies of inclusiveness. It features jobs from multiple sectors including construction.
Staff are anonymously surveyed, with questions on sexual orientation and transgender identity, so they can share their thoughts on equality, diversity and inclusion. The feedback is used to help make company-wide policies and plans.
The network provides a supportive, safe and confidential space to meet, share and discuss views, experiences or concerns. It aims to raise the profile of LGBT construction professionals and act as an adviser on LGBT users of infrastructure.
Unconscious bias training, coaching and workshops can also be offered. Unconscious bias is when we judge each other unfairly based on ignorance, making mental shortcuts, often resulting in bad, inaccurate or biased choices.
Others are encouraging LGBT staff and straight allies to form networks so that they can discuss issues and share experiences in an accepting environment.
And there’s also an industry-wide network of LGBT colleagues open to all LGBT professionals working in the construction and infrastructure sectors.