As discussed in previous posts, there is a strong stereotype for the construction sector being a very male and metro sexual dominated industry. However, the industry has made progress towards increasing diversity for both gender, sexuality and different minorities too. There is still however, a lot of work to be done to tackle discrimination by making lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) employees feel more included.
Research suggests that 2 in 5 LGBT+ people employed in the construction industry do not feel comfortable opening up about their sexuality with their co-workers. As well as this, negative homophobic as well as transphobic comments are still prevalent in the construction workplace.
Being more inclusive also has been shown to be beneficial for companies and organisations too. Improving the productivity of employees, as well as job satisfaction. As well as helping to attract new employees from a deeper talent pool and ensuring that there is no discouragement to join from potential new recruits.
Improving brand equity too, by boosting reputation as an organization or business that will not discriminate against any race, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
There are a number of strategies that should be adopted in order to ensure that more inclusion in the construction industry is achieved:
1. Open discussion
It is vital that businesses allow themselves to be open to discussing LGBT+ inclusion throughout the organisation on all levels, the standards must be recognised, promoted and dialogue encouraged. Different elements of inclusion need to be included; therefore LGBT+ will require its own discussion away from other inclusive topics such as gender and race.
It is very important that people be able to discuss their own experiences with a clear topic of the discussion set out beforehand.
2. Understand your employees
By carrying out something like an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and keeping it anonymous, you can begin to learn and understand any issues within the organisation that people may not feel comfortable disclosing in an open forum. As well as gaining some potential valuable suggestions from employees that can be used to better your company.
3. Assign specific support staff
By assigning key figures or “champions” within your organisation that people can feel confident to approach or confide in with any issues, this can be a huge positive towards improving overall inclusion as well as LGBT+ inclusion as a specific topic.
Improving any workplace in any industry for the LGBT+ community won't be completed overnight, but by taking the necessary steps by promoting and educating people on the topic, this will go towards reaching greater overall diversity not just in the workplace, but in society in general.
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