Approaching business aims with a D&I lens

Treating wider business objectives as D&I issues can strongly support success in these aims, according to Skanska's global diversity manager

Pia Hook explained that a D&I lens can help deliver on specific organisational goals, such as health and safety targets.

“This isn’t just theoretical, it’s about providing concrete results. For instance, as a construction firm, safety is extremely important to us, and getting it wrong can obviously have huge consequences. We realised that safety could be a diversity and inclusion issue," she told HR magazine.

"As we have a multilingual, multicultural workforce, we needed to make sure that health and safety measures are delivered in a way where everybody could understand the procedures," she added. "I’m convinced that treating it as a D&I issue will help us get results.

“The recipe for success is to find a key priority in your industry. For us it was safety, but anyone can pick the part of the business that’s most important for you and show how it can be a real enabler within your organisation.”

Under Hook, Skanska launched a D&I programme that saw the construction firm score above the industry benchmark for employee experience of inclusion. Part of the organisation's success is down to being vigilant to bias, Hook said.

“We use the engagement survey to “measure” inclusion, focusing both on the result of D&I specific questions as well as gaps between different demographic groups, for instance, with women and men. If there is a gap, that shows we are not yet as inclusive as we would like to be.” she said.

As an organisation with over 40,000 employees worldwide, technology has played an important role in ensuring values are communicated throughout the business. Hook said it's important to recognise that engagement with diversity can be difficult in larger organisations.

“It’s taken six years, and before we began this journey we were really disenfranchised,” she said. “We’ve created short films showing potential dilemmas within the workplace; these can be accessed via an app which is available to all our employees. This way, people in our organisation are encouraged to talk about our values on a daily basis and learn how our values will be carried out every day.”

Hook encouraged other employers to look beyond recruitment when transforming D&I.

“The challenge isn’t just within the recruitment process, it’s about creating a fully inclusive culture. We started recruiting more diversely, and by and large we were successful. But trying to implement that culture takes time,” she said.

Devising a strong set of values is a key part of this, Hook added. “There are lots of different aspects, but we’ve always said that openness, trust, fairness, and respect are the values that guide our behaviour at work. Everything stems from there."

Pia Hook will be speaking at the WIG Diversity & Inclusion Conference 2018 on 2 November, Central London. Find out more, see the full list of speakers and book your place on WIG’s website.