Construction leaders react to societal changes outlined in FIR Culture Survey

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construction leaders

The FIR (Fairness, Inclusion and Respect) Culture Survey 2018, carried out by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, revealed the benefits of FIR on the construction industry, while calling for construction leaders to help embed these cultural changes

The report addresses issues of workforce diversity and inclusion and suggests that by improving the treatment of those working within the construction industry, will prove critical to the delivery of the Government’s £600bn Pipeline of works.

Already, a staggering eight out of ten organisations in the construction industry are looking at changes to procurement and over nine out of ten are reviewing recruitment practices.

Issues core to Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) are now seen as vital to resilience and growth, suggests Caroline Johnstone, Head of Group Sustainability at Galliford Try:

“A diverse and inclusive workforce is central to bridging the skills gap and ensuring successful delivery of the pipeline of infrastructure projects over the next decade and beyond.

“We must attract and retain a mix of talent that is truly representative of the diverse world in which we live – and FIR is integral to achieving this.”

The FIR programme is being delivered by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and the Supply Chain Sustainability School with funding and support from the CITB.

The programme will address the skills shortage in the sector and the risk this presents to major infrastructure, construction and housebuilding projects.

Findings from the survey suggest widespread support for FIR in principle, showcasing  many construction leaders who are starting to implement the ideas into their practices:

  1. Some 4 out of every 5 organisations (80%) have started to embed FIR into monitoring and procurement practice; however, only a few organisations would claim FIR is fully embedded into people management (14%) or recruitment processes (10%), as yet;
  2. Over 85% of respondents agree that the School programme has helped them have a better understanding of FIR issues and the business case for FIR;
  3. 81% or respondents agree that they now have the confidence to challenge poor behaviours, up from 66% in 2017;
  4. 77% of respondents agree that the FIR programme has improved their management skills, up from 62%.
  5. Over 85% are changing procurement (or considering it) to drive FIR into supply chains.

With FIR now impacting the tender process and informing questions in prequalification questionnaires, Robert Hall, Group Safety, Quality and HR Director of Adey Steel Group argues that companies need to take ownership of their responsibilities: “Commercially, being part of the FIR agenda can help win contracts.

“Moreover, it makes sense for any modern, forward-thinking business to adopt the FIR agenda.

“After all, what is the alternative? Being Unfair? Being Exclusive? Being Disrespectful? Who wants to go to work in a place like that? How is that business going to recruit great people and keep them?”

Despite a growing interest in the many benefits FIR has to offer, only 14% of respondents are confident enough to declare that change has now been fully embedded into their organisations.

Timothy O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Danny Sullivan Group, claims that many organisations still need to embrace the development opportunities that FIR can bring to the table: “If the industry wishes to address the looming skills shortage and generate real employee retention, then it must become embedded.

“The FIR Programme offers us a chance to create an engaging working environment where everyone is treated equally and encouraged to be their true selves.

“If we work together towards this, then we open the doors for exponential collaboration while also improving our employees work life and wellbeing.”

To further support and develop construction leaders within the industry, the FIR programme is launching a new eLearning module ‘Leading people inclusively’ that will be made available as as part of the FIR toolkit through the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

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