We believe people’s differences and the way we can work together make the world a better, more creative and beautiful place to live in. One area that we think is crucial for the construction industry is LGBT inclusivity.
So, what is happening within construction to make things better for LGBT people?
Stonewall is the UK’s leading LGBT+ organisation. They create campaigns and resources to educate LGBT and non LGBT people. They also support young people and organisations in creating safer and more inclusive environments.
How have they been involved in the construction industry?
The first way, was the #NoBystanders campaign. The campaign was about speaking up for LGBT people, whether you’re LGBT or not, and not as the campaign title suggests, being a bystander to homophobic, transphobic, biphobic and lesbophobic abuse.
"The first way that Stonewall have been working to improve conditions for LGBT construction workers is the #NoBystanders campaign."
The #NoBystanders campaign wasn’t construction specific but we are seeing it utilised in the construction industry in a really positive way.
Lend Lease, the international construction company, implemented the #NoBystanders campaign through 'toolbox talks'. Employees were invited to share and learn from each other and speakers on LGBT issues and diversity.
"Lend Lease held 'toolbox talks' where employees were invited to share and learn from each other on LGBT issues"
It was reported to Stonewall that these talks were received well by both LGBT and non LGBT employees. Distributing information, having guest speakers or even a day where employees are encouraged to take a look at resources or discuss issues around these areas can be really positive.
In 2015 that Stonewall launched the Rainbow Laces campaign. The laces have appeared on sports pitches, on the street and in construction since 2015 as a show of solidarity to LGBT people. Being an ally can be intimidating, especially if you don’t always understand the issues surrounding the lives affected. It’s a part of making people who are LGBT feel that they are safe and welcome at work.
"These small actions can be part of making LGBT people aware that they are safe and welcome at work"
Lend Lease have actually been championed by Stonewall for their willingness to adapt to the needs of LGBT employees. They were the first company in the construction industry to take part in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. The Index works to rank employers based on LGBT-friendly environments.
Martin Coyd who chairs the Lend Lease Europe Diversity Council has talked about how a more inclusive culture can be good for business. Diverse thinking can propel a company forward where others may stay stuck going round in circles. The same has been said of increasing the number of women and BME people in businesses also.
Go Construct wrote positively about the developments in the construction industry for LGBT diversity and awareness. They highlight the #NoBystander campaign and how this can be implemented in the workplace as part of a zero tolerance for bullying initiative.
Other ways to make workplaces more LGBT-friendly included: Having LGBT role models within the work place, taking staff surveys to better understand the needs of your staff and offering workshops to better equip LGBT and non LGBT staff members on how to tackle homophobia.