Here at Taylor Wimpey, even before we set up the Diversity and Inclusion Group, we have always tried to represent the wide ranging communities that we work with through the people that we employ. However, with women representing only around 11% of the construction workforce and BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) workers being generally under-represented in construction in comparison to the resident population of the UK, we and the industry as a whole are facing a challenge of recruiting a more diverse and representative workforce.
This is something that we have been looking to improve for a while so when we set up the Group we already had a very clear purpose – to support a more diverse and inclusive culture and promote greater diversity awareness throughout our businesses.
Assessment is key
We started the process with an assessment of our current policies, culture and awareness, and with the help of an external consultancy engaged with around 250 of our employees across the Company, through unconscious bias tests, 1-2-1 interviews and focus groups. Around one quarter of the staff who took part in the research were senior managers, giving us a good insight into our current processes and thinking involved in decision making, recruitment, attraction and succession planning. The results from the tests, interviews and focus groups highlighted both positives and negatives in our current culture and processes in relation to diversity and inclusion experienced across the Company.
Being recognised externally
Whilst assessing our processes internally, we also took part in a number of external initiatives to assess and start improving our perception externally; this included taking part in the Leonard Cheshire Disability 100 Programme, which is a summer internship and professional development programme, where we employed a number of young disabled people on a paid placement basis to give them valuable work experience and an opportunity to express their talents in a variety of functions, from customer services to land buying. Three students were employed with Taylor Wimpey throughout the summer of 2015 and we plan to continue our involvement with the scheme in 2016. Our Land and Planning Director Jennie Daly has also taken an active role in engaging with groups including the Association of Women in Property, where she is working with other like-minded professionals to provide a forum for women in the sector. In addition, our HR team is working with the Career Transition Partnership and Force Select to offer career opportunities for ex-Armed Forces personnel and raise awareness of the various career opportunities Taylor Wimpey can offer. We are also reviewing the possibility of further engagement with key diversity organisations such as Disability Confident, Stonewall, Race for Opportunity and others, all of whom we have met with and can offer us greater insight into diversity and inclusivity.
In November 2015, the Group moved to the next stage in the project – strategy planning and preparation for rollout – to start planning solutions for the issues identified so far and accentuating the positives, to help our current and prospective employees fully enjoy the benefits of a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. The feedback from the assessment stages has been analysed and a draft of the proposed action plans is currently being reviewed. Once this has been finalised we will then confirm our proposals for the training programmes, which will initially be trialled in pilot locations prior to the wider rollout to all business units. This is planned for H1 2016.
Click here to find out more about diversity and inclusion at Taylor Wimpey.