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VolkerWessels UK launches new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy

VolkerWessels UK has this week launched its refreshed equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, setting out the way in which the business will progress the pursuit of inclusion between now and 2025.

The business has set out three key objectives, which will be delivered through eight EDI focus groups (comprising a sponsor, a lead and a delivery team).  The objectives are as follows.

1. To engage with our operational and office-based teams to ensure they are fully equipped to lead, manage and work inclusively. We will achieve this through:

  • Operational engagement - delivering a tailored approach for our operational teams to promote inclusive behaviours and raise awareness of all aspects of EDI.
  • Education - providing opportunities for people at all levels in the organisation to enhance their EDI awareness, in both formal and informal settings. We will provide coaching and support to ensure our managers are equipped to lead consistently at all times.
  • EDI Champions - a group of volunteers from across the business who actively promote the understanding of EDI principles with their colleagues through awareness and information sharing, and can act as a ‘safe person’ to support and guide everyone at VolkerWessels UK.

2. To create a fully embedded culture of inclusion throughout our business through:

  • Recruitment and retention - we will attract and retain a diverse range of individuals from a wide talent pool and ensure equal opportunities for all.
  • Governance – taking responsibility for ensuring a clear strategic direction for EDI, through the development and adoption of effective policies and visible commitments, and maintaining effective memberships and accreditations to appropriate and aligned partners.
  • Communication - ensuring communication is engaging, two-way, effective and inclusive; sending strong, clear and consistent messages about our commitment to EDI. To engage and work collaboratively with all our stakeholders including our clients, supply chain, partners, local communities, and all those we work alongside and with, to mutual benefit.

3. To engage and work collaboratively with all our stakeholders including our clients, supply chain, partners, local communities, and all those we work alongside and with, to mutual benefit:

  • Supply chain - engage with our supply chain to share our EDI values, commitments, and expectations, and promote a collaborative working relationship to challenge and support each other on our EDI journeys.
  • Stakeholder engagement - embed the principles of EDI into our wider community engagement activities, as outlined in our People-Planet-Purpose sustainability framework, and continue to proactively engage with our clients and other stakeholder partners to mutual benefit.

Naomi Connell, VolkerWessels UK’s chief finance officer and EDI board sponsor, said: “At VolkerWessels UK, we are proud of our inclusive culture. We are determined that our business will continue to be one where everyone feels included, valued and free to be their authentic selves – a sustainable business which is enriched by diversity, and is an attractive and comfortable workplace for our employees and stakeholders; one which can attract, and retain, the best people. Everyone across our business has a role to play to ensure we remain united in creating an inclusive environment.

“The boards of VolkerWessels UK and its businesses take ultimate accountability for achieving our vision of true inclusion. We are proud of the journey we have taken to date and now fully endorse this strategy to enable us to progress EDI even further by leading by example, challenging inappropriate behaviours, and driving a culture of diversity and inclusion through consistent messaging across our business. Our new delivery model ensures we involve senior leaders from around the business as part of the steering and focus groups to drive continuous improvement within their areas of responsibility.”

Emma Ward, VolkerWessels UK’s head of sustainability and inclusion, added: “Sometimes it can be the simplest of gestures that helps someone feel at ease to be themselves, share their story or be confident to reach out for support. The feeling of being included can be taken for granted, and it’s only when you are on the other side of this do you realise how lonely it can be to be excluded, whether that be caused intentionally or unconsciously.

“Raising awareness and encouraging breadth of thought will be key to everyone feeling understood, be able to be themselves and shine in a work environment that is filled with diversity of cultures, perspective and thought.”

Our refreshed strategy builds on some excellent foundations, is exciting, yet pragmatic, and will help us all take the next important steps to achieve our vision of true equality, diversity and inclusion.”