Danny Sullivan’s Director of Strategy, Kacey O’Driscoll talks about Celebrating Pride Month and recognising and supporting LGBTQ+ communities within the construction industry.
From your perspective, what is the meaning of Pride month?
Pride month is hugely significant for a number of reasons: it’s a chance to celebrate, to educate, to belong. One of the greatest opportunities I believe the month presents is the prospect for employers to gain a better understanding of, and provide support for, the populations they employ. As leaders and employers, we have a huge responsibility to take care of our people and their wellbeing. We have an obligation to remember always that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
This month, and every month, we must step up and show courage, representation, and allyship for all our people. Pride month is an opportunity to educate ourselves on how to create a safe and inclusive environment that embraces people for who they are and foster a culture where people can come to work truly feeling valued, respected and – most importantly – themselves.
What do you think has changed to make construction a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees?
Strides have certainly been made to support LGBTQ+ communities in the industry in recent years. Changes in legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation of course helped, and with that the advent of related written policies and procedures which construction companies have proudly taken the lead on advocating.
I think the greatest change to come to construction is that it has matured beyond the historic heterosexual male-dominated environment to understand that diversity is a real strength. Having team members from varied backgrounds empowers all of us and our companies to create better outcomes. Companies within the industry are now more than ever showing commitment that goes beyond lip service and implementing inclusive workplace practices. It is inspiring to see the real change leaders within the industry motivated to make real, lasting changes.
However, a word of caution, if construction wants to attract the best and brightest talent it is crucial that we as an industry do not compromise on these commitments. A recent survey found that four out of five Gen Z employees say they would not work for a company that doesn’t share their values. For construction to achieve its ambitions – and attract the great talent required to do this – it must cultivate values-driven companies; strong lived values will be what makes the difference in the end!
How do we bring this topic to our sites and ensure a psychologically safe environment for people to talk about their experiences? To ensure that LGBTQ+ employees feel safe and empowered at work, it is important to be upfront and open about our values and expectations from day one. In order to set standards like this, senior leadership and sponsorship that is visible and vocal is vital. So too is ongoing education across all levels. Listening to and learning from our teams on site will ensure that, together, we can cultivate a stronger work environment and help LGBTQ+ workers feel safe, supported and respected.
At the Danny Sullivan Group, treating others with respect, acknowledging people’s dignity and having empathy with everyone’s life situation are fundamental to creating a culture we are very proud of. One where everyone comes to work feeling valued and respected. Respect forms the basis of our culture. It helps our people know who they are and why they show up to work each day. It guides our behaviours and so too our aspiration to be on the front lines of progress and ensuring that Pride is a way of life rather than a moment in June!
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