Balfour Beatty VINCI are responsible for delivering the Area North HS2 Strategy. We caught up with Aman Sidhu, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, to find out why Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is so important for them as a business. Aman has been in the construction industry for 14 years formerly in an Operations role before moving into EDI.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of the HS2 strategy and how we want to set ourselves up as a business. Our core values are safety, respect, integrity and leadership and we try to find ways to embed inclusion into everything we do.
Safety in construction is key and so it is vital that we develop an inclusive environment where we encourage people to speak up if they have concerns about behaviours and feel they have a voice.
Leadership is about being inclusive in our behaviours. Our employees come from a wide range of nationalities. So, it is very much about generating a culture of belonging and understanding each other. This way everyone knows they have a part to play and as a result bring their best self to work and can be fully productive.
For me this is the difference we have made to people in this region. This project has created a lifeline to hundreds of people living in the area. We have employees who, for whatever reason, had never thought of a career in construction as a possibility. To know that we have provided life changing opportunities for these people makes me feel very proud.
We do this by embedding DVI into everything we do whether it is making sure our suppliers are accountable and have an obligation to meet our DVI deliverables to having DVI as a KPI in our Board meetings. We do this through training and innovation and through our communications everything is designed with inclusion in mind.
Diversity enhances the workplace and gives our colleagues a better working experience. We are the West Midlands biggest employer and have c10,000 people on site.
Some people think of diversity as a gender issue or place it in boxes. But it is about lots of small things and being one step ahead by incorporating it into everything we do. For example recruitment, training, communications, and leadership.
Our bronze accreditation was obtained through Clear Assured and I believe our success in attaining this has been due to us having firm foundations in place. We have made sure our website is fully accessible for all users and that all our policies are written with an ‘inclusive lens’. We have looked at how we write our job descriptions and have now made it possible for all candidates to be able to feedback on our recruitment process so lots in place for continued improvements.
There is still more to be done as we work towards achieving a silver award. Hopefully one day a gold accreditation will be on the horizon.