Kier Highways rises to diversity challenge

Chris Ames

Kier Highways has achieved the Leaders in Diversity accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity for its commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace.

The accolade is one up from the Investors in Diversity level, which the business unit has held for the last four years. The top level is Masters in Diversity.

Kier Highways said that to achieve the leaders certification, it revamped its approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I).

Tracey Collins, talent, development and inclusion manager at Kier Highways, said: ‘Leaders in Diversity really challenged us to look at our ED&I journey. The National Centre of Diversity has been excellent and supportive as our critical friend. It’s useful to have an external body assess what we do and help us to form our action plan.

‘We will continue to be committed to ED&I growth; this is only the beginning of the journey for us.’

Kier Highways operates a dedicated ED&I steering group with senior leaders’ sponsorship and 55 representatives from across the business.

It has launched a new strategy and accompanying action plan, which focuses on three key areas:

  • Employees – the plan commits to communicate, develop and coach employees on ED&I to ensure  shared responsibility
  • Customers and communities – the business aims to ‘put people at the heart of everything it does’ by understanding the different needs of its customers and communities
  • Supply chain partners – Kier Highways aims to be connected to its supply chain to help make wider change and improve overall industry performance

Kier Highways said a key focus for it in the last year has been to promote the business to women. In 2019, women working in operations for Kier Highways increased by 1.5% and the business will be continuing to encourage this growth in the coming years.

It added that it has worked hard to make everyone feel comfortable at work with campaigns such as ‘bringing my whole self to work’ and through supporting National Inclusion Week.

These campaigns have helped to educate employees on areas such as unconscious bias and encourage teams to get to know each other, celebrating differences and similarities to recognise the benefits of diverse teams, the firm said.

As a result, an annual anonymous survey for employees showed an increase in employees feeling more comfortable declaring their sexual orientation and any disabilities they have.

Kier Highways was recently listed in the National Centre for Diversity’s Top 100 Champions of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which celebrates the UK’s top 100 companies that make a difference in the workplace and ‘set the bar high’ for fairness.

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