As National Inclusion week draws to a close, it's time to reflect on what we've learned and how to keep the conversation going, especially as we move into October and Black History Month.
We've had so many conversations this week and the subjects we have covered are wide ranging. Some conversations have been extensions of topics we have covered before, some where we're just starting on our journey. One thing is for sure though - we have all learned something about each other and about how we want to grow together as a team.
One of our aims for the week was to understand more about what inclusion means to different people, so we shared an inclusion quiz with our team and ran daily mini polls throughout the week. It was interesting and reassuring to learn that 90% of people feel that EKFB is an inclusive workplace, 75% feel valued at work and 100% acknowledge that in meetings they recognise the ideas and contributions of different people.
Last week, at our fortnightly Team Talk an overwhelming 90% of the team said that “mutual respect and trust are massively important to sustain an industry leading team.” This can only be achieved by creating an environment where everyone is valued, respected and proud to belong.
We asked some of our colleagues to tell us what inclusion means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Tilly Jones, On-Boarding Together Coordinator, on LGBTQ+ inclusion:
“When I first joined EKFB I was able to select Non-Binary as my gender identity on the Onboarding forms. For the first time I wasn’t forced to select ‘other’, and this meant that from day one I felt accepted and seen. Wherever you fall on the spectrums of gender and sexuality, it’s so important to feel like you’re able to bring your whole self to work, because that’s when you are happiest and the most productive.”
Stephanie Davis MCIHT, Streetworks Co-Ordinator, on Disability inclusion:
“Having dyslexia is often seen to be a weakness but I believe this is one of my greatest strengths. I see and write things differently to others; therefore I can come up with ideas that most people haven’t considered. There is not a weakness in asking for help, I use software on my laptop to change the colour of the screen to stop letters moving on the screen and grammarly for context and spelling. I always use a black pen on green notepaper. Take time and find what's right for you.”
Lloyd Silenje, Planning Manager, on Race Inclusion:
“This is a very sensitive topic but we need speak up because racism often exists in the workplace, in part because society still bears scars of past injustices. It is comforting to note that protection and safety nets do existing within EKFB in the form of policies against racism and discrimination in any form and people get recognised based on merit without considering race or other irrelevant factors. We shouldn’t need policies in place as our attitudes and approach to one another should be based on respect and treating each other as we would like others to treat us – it’s only when you sit down and get to know a person that you can understand that person’s values.”
Mohammad Pasha, Engineer, on Religion Inclusion:
“Learning about each other’s religions helps us understand and respect people’s faiths. For example, as Muslims we pray five times a day and to a lot of people this seems extraordinary. But if you put into perspective, for Muslims the most important relationship we'll ever have is with our Creator and whilst the average adult picks up their phones 1500 times a week, we connect to our creator 2 to 3 times a year.”
Justine Lerner, Engineer, on Gender inclusion: “When we talk about Women in construction and engineering we are not singling out a gender; after all, we are a team that has come together for a common purpose, which is to deliver the project. Pointing this difference is not a question of getting more interest or highlight a particular gender, it is about getting equality regarding works, responsibilities, challenges and respect in the workplace.”