Developing an inclusive culture
Our inclusive approach can be traced back more than 125 years through our Swedish roots to when the business was founded in 1887 by Rudolf Frederik Berg. A social pioneer, Berg established day care and child healthcare centres, set up a general employment office in Malmo and acted as a guarantor on loans – supporting the construction of owner-occupied housing for workers.
Then, and as we do now, our focus is on giving back to the communities in which we work and doing the right thing by our employees. Nothing has changed.
Our aim is to make sure that at all levels and in all parts of our business we have an inclusive culture, where our differences are valued and individuality embraced.
We encourage employees to discuss diversity and inclusion through our ‘what do you think’ ethical scenarios, while running regular training for all employees – including new starters. It’s backed up by our ethical Code of Conduct, and standards that encourage people to join us from diverse backgrounds.
Each year, we celebrate our values through Skanska Way Week. Employees across the country take part in activities that celebrate the values that define us – our commitment to diversity and inclusion, safety and the environment. We encourage our partners and the communities in which we work to get involved too, making it a genuine meeting of minds and culture.
It’s our commitment to addressing low-levels of female diversity that inspired the development of our mixed-pair mentoring programme.
There was recognition that attracting, developing and retaining more women in the business was key to addressing the skills gap.
The lack of career progression, internal networks and role models was leading women to leave the organisation at twice the rate of their male counterparts.
The programme was established in 2011, with 25 female and 25 senior mentors to address the challenges by facilitating career discussions, creating networking opportunities and promoting more women into senior roles.
The programme has proved hugely successful:
- More than 125 people have been involved as mentors and mentees in the programme, many signing up year after year
- The mentoring programme is cited as a contributory factor in females progressing in the company with 10% of senior roles filled by women, compared to 8% in 2011
- 70% of females from the original cohort have enjoyed promotions
- 92% of mentees (male and female) have stayed with the business from our 2013 and 2014 cohorts
- Finalist in the Diversity and Inclusion category for the 2015 CIPD Awards.
Katy Dowding, Managing Director of Skanska’s Facilities Services business, said:
“I was reluctant at first to be part of a female mentoring scheme, wondering why we needed something different? It was only when I took part that I realised how much broader the scheme was – the male participants gained as much as the women, getting a really different insight to their working environment and the different challenges faced by women.
“The group networking sessions gave a fantastic opportunity for mentors and mentees to get together, swap experiences and learn some best practice. I’ve been part of the scheme for a number of years and still participate as a mentor and a mentee and learn more every year. The take up is testament to the scheme. It has been so successful we have now shared it with our clients and supply chain who have adopted their own models.”
The programme has now been extended to encompass disabled, ethnic minority and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups in order to help both parties develop a broader appreciation of the issues and experiences individuals face in developing a career with Skanska.