For International Women in Engineering Day, we sat down with Kieran Thompson, our newly appointed Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion to find out more about his role and his plan to help Cundall achieve a diverse workforce.
What is the role?
At the moment it’s probably easier to say what my role isn’t…but here goes: In essence my role is dedicated to ensuring that Cundall live up to our commitments to achieving balanced representation and pay equity at all levels, and to offering a genuinely inclusive place to work. This means setting clearly defined strategic objectives and putting in place targeted policies and processes that ensure we redress existing inequalities within our business, influencing industry peers to follow suit.
Broadly speaking my new role encompasses a variety of people-related areas, including recruitment & retention, recognition and reward, workplace culture, and leadership behaviours. I’ve recently launched our Inclusion Library initiative, and have just finished the first draft of what will become Cundall’s first Equality & Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which is a complete overhaul of what was once the Equal Opportunities Policy. I’m very aware that this might not sound quite as exciting to everyone else as it does to me – but it should!
What sets this appointment apart from what others are doing?
The big difference is financial investment. Lots of businesses talk a good game when it comes to diversity, and whip out the rainbow logos for a few weeks of every year – but Cundall is actually putting our money where our mouth is. Besides the creation of this new role, we’ve already sponsored this years Women in Construction Summit, sending along nine staff (including several Partners) to participate in workshops and listen to what experts on this subject had to say. That group have kept the conversation going, and are lobbying our leadership teams with ideas about how we can become a more inclusive business.
We’re also making exciting changes to a range of policy areas including parental leave provision and flexible working. Over the couple of weeks, we’ll be circulating a global inclusion survey, the results of which will go on to influence how Cundall continue to evolve as a great place to work for absolutely everyone, in every office location.
How will it help transform the future?
As outlined in the Sustainability Roadmap, Cundall has identified three core commitments. Namely, to:
- Substantially increase the proportion female of staff in leadership roles
- Substantially increase the proportion of female and minority global technical hires at all levels
- Create a more sustainable talent pipeline and improve female global technical staff retention rates
We still have a long way to go, but already our recent work around building a diverse and inclusive business is receiving lots of positive attention. Our goal is to make sure all staff feel valued and are empowered to reach their full potential at Cundall, and not just because it is so clearly the right thing to do. We know that people perform at their best when they feel a sense of value and belonging, and consequently deliver great work, choosing to stay with their employer for longer. Attracting great people to join and stay with Cundall is also essential to our continued success, and what better way to do that than combining our already outstanding consultancy reputation with that of an outstanding, inclusive place to work.
In the coming months and years Cundall will be creating a blueprint of actions to tackle workplace underrepresentation that our peers across the built environment can follow. Ultimately the future we’re building is one in which opportunities to succeed in construction are not limited or less appealing because of a person’s gender, race, class or sexual orientation – and that future can’t come soon enough. Right now our urgent priority is significantly increasing the proportion of women within leadership positions.
To find out more about Cundall’s Sustainability Roadmap, One Planet, One Chance, click here.