An industry problem
Wates, a family-run construction company, has 3,600 employees who are 80% male and 90% white. A lack of diversity poses a big risk for the construction industry, where women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and disabled people are massively under-represented. While Wates was making great strides towards inclusion, it did have one problem: microaggressions were still occurring – mostly in the guise of site-based ‘banter’. This would be difficult to target as many site workers were external contractors.
Inclusion without instruction
Research showed the biggest challenge to engaging white men in D&I efforts is making sure they feel their opinion and involvement is wanted and valued. With this in mind, we developed a campaign that grabbed the attention of Wates’ majority audience and prompted self-reflection, encouraging inclusion without overt instruction. After our first campaign, ‘You’re pretty clever for a builder’, received positive feedback, we evolved the concept for a second campaign that addressed gender-based microaggressions.
A new mindset
Published on internal channels as well as on LinkedIn, our campaign was viewed over 53,000 times and received more than 900 engagements. In the first month alone the embedded QR code prompted 75 responses ranging from familiarity with the biased phrases and disappointment that they still occur today to gratitude for the campaign. Result: a campaign that provoked discussion and helped build a more reflective workforce.