People First

Inclusively Building Talent by Design

Author-Wendy-Montgomeryby Wendy MontgomeryMar. 9, 2022

Diverse leadership teams typically result in improved innovation, faster problem-solving, better engagement, and increased financial performance.

Employers have long heard that a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace can benefit a company's bottom line. Ultimately, this means that diverse leadership teams typically result in improved innovation, faster problem-solving, better engagement, and increased financial performance.

Historically, the construction and engineering industry hasn't always been seen as the most progressive. However, over the years, many individuals working in construction and engineering have made it their mission to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For example, last year, the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week was held in October. This new event was created to identify ways to advance and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in construction by building awareness through educational and business resources specifically for the construction and engineering industry. More than one thousand contractors came together to promote Construction Inclusion Week, holding events, sharing resources, and celebrating employees.

Although the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week was a success, there is no doubt that more needs to be done. Only through a continued focus and diligent action can real change happen, and progress be sustained.

Here are three ways Southland is continuing our journey and focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion:

1.  Embrace an Inclusive Workplace

At Southland, we aspire to build a workforce that represents the diversity of the people who occupy the buildings we design, build, and maintain. By focusing on people first, we ensure all employees, customers, subcontractors, and vendors feel valued and included to bring their authentic self to the table every day and have a sense of belonging.

Creating an inclusive workplace also means offering equitable benefits and access to tools and resources that help our people progress their career. For example, our Parental Leave benefit embodies equity and inclusion, offering up to 12 weeks paid leave for both mothers and fathers. Additionally, we empower all employees to seek out career experiences and opportunities to invest in their own growth by providing multiple instructor- and self-led courses, resources, and materials to guide both personal and professional learning journeys.

Lastly, we seek out ways to celebrate our differences throughout the year with an Engagement and Inclusion calendar that highlights a collection of heritage, cultural, lifestyle, and relevant industry celebrations and awareness events. We believe this creates and fosters an inclusive community by connecting through stories and celebrating our differences.

2.  Commit to Continued Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education

We are committed to educating all employees with meaningful and audience-specific content, setting baseline expectations for awareness and behaviors. To achieve this commitment, we have partnered with several industry and world-wide respected experts in providing education and resources regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Some of those partners and programs include CatalystGartner, and Culture of CARE. In addition, we have created an internal learning program that will release learning modules focused on creating baseline education for several topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion terms and definitions, implicit bias, how to lead with empathy, bystander training, and more over the next several years.

3.  A.C.T.

Lastly, we take action, strategically executing our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts by being accountable, caring, and working together. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is just the beginning — to effectively integrate it into our everyday actions, we must make a concerted effort. This is how we A.C.T:

  • Accountable: We are accountable for our behaviors and act on creating an inclusive culture.
  • Care: We listen to others' experiences and proactively seek to understand different points of view.
  • Together: Together, as one company, we build our People First culture, allowing all people to feel like they belong.