Why Diversity Matters in Field Services and How to Improve

Why Diversity Matters in Field Services and How to Improve

You may think the status quo is just fine when it comes to the depth and breadth of your workforce, but the business case for greater diversity is stronger than ever. Research shows that diversity brings many advantages to organisations, including better opportunities to win contracts.

Sounds like a no brainer, doesn’t it? But what does diversity in business mean? How does it create a winning formula? And how do you ensure team diversity in your firm?

What is Diversity in the Workplace?

Put simply, diversity in the workplace means that a company hires a diverse range of people of different genders, ethnicities, ages, sexuality, and from a range of cultural backgrounds.

There are employment laws to protect diversity in the workplace – employers must not discriminate against job applicants or employees. But diversity is about so much more than ticking a box for equal opportunities.

There are real benefits to employing a wide range of different people. In fact, diversity is now seen as one of the most important workforce traits that adds value to a business.

Here are 3 reasons why:

More Contracts

Public authorities spend £236 billion each year on buying goods, works or services from other organisations across every sector, including field services. Public authorities must ensure that they comply with their public sector equality duty (PSED) obligations at different stages of the procurement cycle.

This includes the invitation to tender (ITT) which sets out requirements and expectations. Equality requirements within this can relate to:

  • statutory obligations of employers
  • desired outcomes from the contract
  • technical or workforce requirements
  • desired wider community benefits

The awarding authority can inform tenderers that they are expected to comply with relevant discrimination law if awarded the contract. Indeed you will find that many contracts insist that you provide evidence of your commitment to equality in employment and service delivery.

A diversity and inclusion strategy and a company’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy will have positive leverage for winning public sector work.

Better Performing Teams

According to global management consultancy firm, McKinsey, the more diverse your workforce, the more profitable your business. It found companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30.

According to McKinsey’s research, companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were found to be 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. And companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic/cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability.

So, why is this?

Diverse companies are better able to attract top talent, have better customer and employee satisfaction scores and facilitate better decision making.

Diversity leads to better performing teams, greater business impact and more profit.

Increased Innovation

When it comes to employing people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting clones of your model employees. But think about this for a second. If everyone has the same skillset and thinks in the same way, new ideas and innovation are coming from a much narrower base than they would if from a more diverse set of people.

Diversity among employees means diversity of thought. It brings more ideas to the table, improves problem-solving and adds value to a culture of learning. We know, for example, that women think differently to men. Having both men and women in your business allows for better problem solving, creativity and innovation. In customer-facing roles, women tend to show more empathy, which is obviously great for rapport with customers.

Currently, just 11% of the engineering sector in the UK is made up of women! With such a skills shortage in the engineering sector, we do need more women in engineering roles.


3 Steps for Improving Diversity

Making diversity a priority can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to mean ripping up the rule book and starting again. Simple steps in the right direction will make a difference and can be built upon.

A truly inclusive workplace isn’t one that focuses on a particular segment, but rather creates a working environment that welcomes and nurtures all. So, how can you achieve this in your firm?

Set up a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

It’s vital to get your house in order before you launch into new recruitment campaigns. Set up a diversity and inclusion strategy in the workplace and start to promote inclusive behaviour among your people. Ensure you are following diversity and equality requirements for contractors.

This is an opportunity to look at your culture. Is there trust? This is a key trait of any inclusive leader. Senior leaders and managers must also be trusted by the employees they look after.

The important thing to remember is you can’t force it and that it is much more likely to stick if cultural changes happen slowly and evolve naturally. You will, though, have to sow the seeds, get management buy-in and start to talk about diversity and inclusion among teams.

Educate employees on the explicit and implicit assumptions that harm women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBT+ community etc.

In the construction sector, 8 in 10 women have felt left out of social events and conversations by their coworkers. Drive through change from the top.

Doing so will boost your company’s reputation.

Ensure Every Individual Can Fulfil Their Potential 

Part of any diversity and inclusion strategy is the enablement of everyone in the workplace to fulfil their potential, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or background. This is the way to attract talent.

This could involve reviewing employment policies, such as offering greater flexibility in working hours for some employees (i.e. parents), improving wellbeing at work, including mental health and addressing any gender pay gap.

Creating equal opportunities at work means enabling staff to develop, both personally and professionally. Review training and upskilling policies. Consider apprenticeships. This is vital in the current climate where field services and other engineering sectors are facing a skills shortage.

On addressing the future skills gap, Mark Krull, Director of Logic4training, suggests bringing in part-time training to encourage more women into previously male-dominant trades.

Fostering diversity, and accessible and continuous learning, go hand in hand. Effective management is key.

Ensure Recruitment is Fair and Unbiased

London-based diversity and talent management specialists, EW Group, advises 7 steps to inclusive recruitment. These are:

  • Write inclusive job descriptions
  • Widen your search to include diverse groups and pools of talent
  • Design the application process so that it isn’t likely to confuse or frustrate applicants from diverse backgrounds
  • Make shortlisting fair
  • Allow for reasonable adjustments at interview
  • Prepare for an inclusive interview (prep questions you will ask and predetermine how you will score answers)
  • Set the right tone at interviews (make the interview a positive and welcoming experience and have a diverse interview panel)

It is a well-known fact that recruiting women into field services, particularly in engineering roles, continues to be a challenge.

Changing this perception is all about increasing visibility. Actions could involve partnering with local schools, colleges, universities, or after-school programs in your community. This will help to spread awareness that a job in field service is an exciting and rewarding career path for all.

Supporting Diversity with Joblogic

Field Service Management Software

There’s one important lesson here – those that think diversity doesn’t matter, will get left behind. Diversity in the workplace is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a key component of competitive advantage and business success.

Joblogic – supporting diverse teams to be the best they can be with innovative field service management software. Why not try us out? Our FREE trial comes with no obligation, no commitment and no card details required.

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