Achieving a diverse and inclusive industry requires passion and engagement from the very top, and nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated among this year’s finalists than at Amey.
The judges praised the company’s “outstanding leadership” on diversity and inclusion that, in just a short space of time, has powered these issues to the top of Amey’s agenda throughout its operations.
That this momentum has been maintained despite a difficult period for the business makes it all the more commendable, the panel added.
When Andy Milner became chief executive in 2016, one of his first areas of focus was equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
Mr Milner realised that diversity among his 300 most senior leaders was poor, and consequently set targets to increase the proportions of women and ethnic minorities in this group to 30 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
Amey’s executive team has recognised diversity as a business-critical objective, with 89 per cent of its clients requesting EDI policies from their contractors and 27 per cent requiring additional evidence in this area.
The company has rolled out a combination of national and local-level programmes, integrating its strategies with its overarching business plans.
At the centre of these initiatives has been the creation of networks to represent different strands of EDI, including women, LGBT, mental health and disability.
Crucially, each of these networks has an executive sponsor, and this strong leadership role has seen the networks grow to more than 1,000 members across Amey’s 19,000-strong workforce – with 600 in the LGBT group alone.
“Amey demonstrates outstanding leadership on EDI from the top and throughout the business. Its clearly structured business case and integrated strategy makes for an incredibly powerful narrative”
One approach that drew particular praise was the company’s collaboration with disability charity Scope. The organisations have set up an ambassadors group to conduct focus workshops and presentations, trialled different ways of recruiting disabled staff, and worked with a local college to run a six-month internship for students with learning difficulties – two of whom have been given permanent employment.
Judges also hailed how Amey engaged its frontline employees through initiatives such as Inclusive Birmingham, which saw the firm reach out to four local schools in under-privileged areas.
Amey brought young pupils into its offices for Apprentice-style challenges, and this year the burgeoning initiative has involved regional heats followed by a final on International Women in Engineering Day.
In addition, the group has conducted a number of ‘teach the teacher’ workshops to raise awareness in schools, which the panel applauded as an inspired strategy.
The firm’s “incredibly powerful narrative” left judges in no doubt that Amey deserved to be recognised for its Diversity and Inclusion Excellence.
Highly commended: Lendlease
The judging panel commended Lendlease for pushing the boundaries in the industry with its consistent excellence in diversity and inclusion.
All the firm’s senior teams have a gender representation target and one in five of its construction site workforce is female, while 20 per cent of new starters last year were from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Particular praise was reserved for the company’s strategy of alliancing with men, encouraging male colleagues to take part in discussions around pushing for greater gender diversity.
This was singled out as “a potential step-change in driving improvement”, with Lendlease’s overall commitment described as “industry-leading in several areas”.