Skanska aim to raise awareness of diverse backgrounds in the workplace… The construction firm Skanska is currently encouraging its staff to participate in a diversity week as part of a dedicated effort to foster an atmosphere of equality and respect in the workplace.
The company which has a total of 5,000 employees intends to directly engage with each individual member of staff during the five-day diversity initiative by hosting a range of activities, forums and presentations.
There will be two key presentations based around the topics of diversity and bullying and harassment with external speakers from relevant authorities being invited to contribute to the discussions. Speakers from organisations like Race for Opportunity, Employers Forum for Disability and MenCap will be giving 30-minute talks during the course of diversity week at the company.
The company says the aim of this event is to encourage staff to re-examine their perceptions and to be more aware of colleagues with different backgrounds and different abilities. The range of events scheduled for diversity week is designed to facilitate this broadening of attitudes among employees. The company has plans in place for activities like international canteen menus, recipe sharing, language exchanges and quizzes.
Executive vice-president for HR at Skanska, Harvey Francis said the goal was to create a “a well-balanced organisation based on respect for each other”. He added:
“Because everyone’s motivations are different, we need to demonstrate the value of diversity from an ethical, legal and business sense. This is another way that HR can make a direct contribution to creating business value and help an organisation achieve its business objectives.”
“Having a diverse team improves an organisation’s reputation, aiding recruitment and retention of talent. It also addresses issues relating to changing demographics and skills shortages in our industry.”
Mike Putnam, CEO of Skanska UK explained the rationale behind diversity week: “It is proven that a well-managed, diverse team outperforms against others. Across Skanska we are trying to up our game in terms of the diversity agenda. For us, it is not just about gender – which is obviously very important – it is about a lot more including ethnicity and educational background.”