Dawn Moore, HR Director of construction firm Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, has had a productive and invigorating year since being awarded the Working Mums Champion Award at last year’s Workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Awards.
The Award recognises stand-out individuals who have contributed to gender diversity and family friendly working.
Since last November she has been invited to speak at many national, cross sector events and has been asked to do many interviews about what Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure is doing to initiate and spread best practice. One major event was in the summer where she was asked to be a panellist by Marie Claire at anational careers event for women of all sectors where fellow participants included singer Alesha Dixon and Olympian Victoria Pendleton.
The last year has also continued to see much progress within Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure. It has doubled the number of women in the business in the last two years; it is rolling out a lot of work related to inclusive recruitment and its parental buddy system; and is working on a number of national intiatives aimed at increasing gender and ethnic diversity in not only Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure but the construction sector as a whole. This includes an initiative aimed at supporting experienced women to develop a career in construction where confidence may be an issue and an initiative addressing recruitment barriers for young black men in London which is endorsed by the Mayor.
The Workingmums.co.uk award is not the only one Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure has received this year. It has received several national pieces of recognition in 2018 and only last month was recognised by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development for its work on diversity and inclusion. “We were stunned to win’ says Dawn. It was a national, cross-sectoral award and involved both private and public organisations and international companies.” One approach that drew praise was Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure’s returner programme and the fact that flexible working was open to all returners. Dawn took a returner who is a single dad with her to the awards.
She says the CIPD was interested in how Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure has created an inclusive culture which means individuals feel they can raise any ideas to improve the workplace, particularly for under-represented groups. Dawn mentions a Muslim woman who came up with the idea of protective equipment and maternity wear for women wearing the hijab or burka. “She made a video and said she did not hesitate to raise the idea because she knew it would be listened to. The fact an employee feels like that shows how far we have come in taking away some of the barriers to diversity,” says Dawn.
On gender diversity, she says that getting more women into construction is not just about initiatives and that things will not change overnight. “It’s a long term game in a male-dominated sector so we don’t refer to initiatives but to a long-term journey,” she states.
The Marie Claire event was not about getting women into construction or just construction focused, but more about confidence building and career change. Around 350 women were there and Dawn describes it as very motivational. Women came up to her at the event and told her they had not realised that construction was changing and that they were inspired by her work to take a look at opportunities the sector might present.
Dawn is not complacent, though, and she is continuing to push for greater diversity within the company. She is keen to develop the company’s work on ethnic diversity further as well as continuing the well recognised family friendly and working parents agenda. This year it has seen an increase of over 30% in applicants from working parents and it will continue to monitor this.
Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure’s returnship programme has just opened for applications for its next programme and it had 40 applications before it even officially opened. The returners who apply are very diverse, says Dawn, and are proving very popular within the business. All 10 business units said they wanted to support the returner programme this time without any prompting. She hopes to continue to improve on what the company offers to returners in the next year and says Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure is also putting a big focus on career paths for women. “We want greater diversity of thought in the business. It’s good for our business and a great motivator for people,” she says. That doesn’t mean all women have to want to climb the career ladder, she adds, but it does mean providing opportunities to move upwards if they want to and at all levels unblocking any barriers in their way.
Dawn says being given the Champion award by Workingmums.co.uk has been “fantastic recognition” and very motivating.
“I do sometimes look back over how far things have moved forward over the last couple of years and my personal journey and I think wow. I know Workingmums.co.uk has been with us from the start,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to another great year next year where we continue to progress our diversity and family friendly journey.”
*Workingmums.co.uk’s Top Employer Awards 2018 take place on 6th November.