Monday, September 26, 2022 Sep 26, 2022
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CRE Opinion

Construction Inclusion Week is Coming, and Here’s Why It Matters

It is October 17th to 21st, and McCarthy Holdings' Kamecia Mason says diversity, equity, and inclusion should be celebrated not just for a week but year round.
By Kamecia Mason |
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Much like the past two years, 2022 continues to pronounce the need for effective and sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. “Ripped from the headline” moments deepen our sense of humility and need for collaboration. It’s the continued collaboration within the industry to deliver Construction Inclusion Week, that gives me an extra gust of wind under my sail this summer.

About Construction Inclusion Week

Launched in 2021, Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) harnesses the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other industry partners. The objective is to build awareness regarding the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. It also provides content and resources to share throughout the industry. Founding consortium members include McCarthy Building Companies, DPR Construction, Mortenson, Turner Construction, Clark Construction, and Gilbane Building Company.

This year, CIW will be hosted from October 17 – 21, and pre-planning guides are available now. Each day delivers content that focuses on key inclusion learnings:

  • Day 1: Commitment & Accountability
  • Day 2: Belonging
  • Day 3: Supplier Diversity
  • Day 4: Workplace Culture
  • Day 5: Community Engagement

The Data Story

As an industry, we’ve acknowledged the need for increased representation of minorities and women both at entry-level and leadership positions. But diversity alone, will not provide an inclusive culture. In 2021, The National Institute of Building Sciences partnered with Avenue M Group and published survey results that indicated inclusion remains an area that needs improvement within the industry. Sixty-five% of respondents indicated that it was important or extremely important to increase diversity of the built environment. While this was noted, many noted a lack of inclusion of those who are currently working in the industry with 28% of respondents indicating they have experienced discrimination or prejudice based on age, 66% of respondents indicating they have experienced discrimination or prejudice based on gender (women), and respondents also indicated experienced discrimination or prejudice based on race/ethnicity:

•          72% of Black or African American respondents

•          48% of East Asian respondents

•          48% of South Asian respondents

•          41% of Hispanic or Latinx respondents

•          43% of Native American, Alaskan Native, or First Nations respondents

•          41% of Hispanic or Latinx respondents

•          38% of East Asian respondents

•          35% of Middle Eastern or North African respondents

Often when the business case for diversity is cited many focus on representation and overlook that the potential for increased productivity, innovation, improved retention, and profitability is the result of ongoing intentional acts of inclusion.

Authentic, Inclusive Leadership

Leaders must set an example with the behavior they want to see. In the DEI space, this means moving beyond corporate commitments and activating systems that support ongoing learning and development, increased representation at every level of the organization, and equity-based outcomes. Inclusive leaders actively seek out and consider different perspectives to inform their decision-making and collaborate more effectively with others. And perhaps most importantly, they lead with a sense of empathy and a sound understanding of how lived experiences intersect with how employees show up at work and sense belonging.

Through the Construction Inclusion Week’s DEI Maturity Model questionnaire, leaders can assess where they are on the DEI journey and leverage content that will bring the most benefit to their teams. It

Beyond the Week

Last year more than 1,000 participants engaged in CIW. The hope for this year is that there are even more. More importantly, though, we should continue to build on the momentum and turn awareness into action:

  • Make a Personal and Visible Commitment: You do not need to lead a team to make a personal and visible commitment to DEI. Actively seek out different perspectives, recognizing that diverse perspectives come from both personal and work experiences. At every level, you can leverage new learnings, behaviors, and allyship to articulate an authentic commitment to inclusivity.
  • See Something, Say Something (Leaders, make it safe to do so): So often see something, say something is relegated to upstander interventions. That’s critical, but there is more to it. Often employees and DEI leaders take note of policies or practices that don’t mirror the mission of corporate statements. It’s important to make space for policy change and progress.
  • Listen: Seems simple enough, right? The DEI space is wrought with well-intentioned misfires. While many organizations prop up new programs every year, often less than half of their employees report seeing any signs of improvement in organizational culture or improved representation at executive and board levels. Listening to teams as well as the qualitative and quantitative data will make way for better results. 

To learn more about CIW, visit www.constructioninclusionweek.com

Kamecia Mason is Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for McCarthy Holdings.

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