Skanska’s commercial development business unit in CEE has a long-term experience in creating inclusive workplaces in terms of gender and various ability levels.
As confirmed by an internal annual survey, 84% of employees of Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE consider their company as an inclusive workplace with inclusive leadership. Nevertheless, the company is taking further steps towards diversity & inclusion. This time by paying greater attention to employees of various sexual orientations, assuring they’re proud of who they are, especially during Pride Month.
ESG strategies related to environmental, social and governance aspects of conducting business have never been more important. The last two years brought an increasing interest in initiatives concentrated on addressing social challenges. This is one of the consequences of the pandemic, which resulted in the emergence of various kinds of new or preexisting inequalities and discrimination issues that have widened and deepened across society. According to McKinsey, women, LGBTQ+ employees, and people of color were more likely to report severe challenges during the pandemic related to mental health, household responsibilities, sense of belonging, or progress opportunities. After these two years, more than ever there is a need for initiatives that will help individuals feel included, respected and equally treated, regardless of not only gender, origin or sexual orientation, but also other aspects, such as age, background, mental and physical abilities, or education.
In order to further foster a culture of openness and continue providing psychological safety to its employees, Skanska’s commercial development business unit in CEE has decided to focus even more on the strategic aspect of Diversity & Inclusion. Firstly, in 2021 it conducted a 7-month-long Diversity Training dedicated to all employees and aimed at spreading knowledge and tools to help better understand and tackle issues, such as unconscious biases, gender identity expressions, racial and ethnic origin or mental health awareness. Apart from that, a bottom-up Employees Resources Group (ERG) emerged – Place of Pride – a network of LGBTQ+ employees and allies.
“At Skanska, we treat our duty of care seriously as this is one of the core values that shape our business and operations on every level. For us, it does not mean only developing offices and buildings without barriers, but also creating workplaces and communities where everyone feels welcome. Making sure that underrepresented or historically discriminated groups are doing well and, if not, what we can do about it, is nothing more than living out those values. That is why we plan on continuing our current approach and starting new initiatives for 2022” – says Karolina Radziszewska, Executive Vice President Human Resources at Skanska’s commercial development business unit in CEE.
The company’s activities are recognized globally. For example, last year Skanska was appreciated for its actions in the field of gender equality and ranked 4th among “World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies in 2021” published by Forbes magazine, outperforming almost 300 other international brands.
New initiatives in 2022
Last year the LGBTQ+ network was recognized by employees of Skanska’s commercial development business unit in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary and voted the best initiative supporting the “Be Better Together” Skanska value in an internal pooling. It was a meaningful sign for the company that employees are ready and eager to get involved more in this area. In line with that, Skanska has decided to take such actions to a higher level, support employee initiatives and come up with other activities towards creating an even more inclusive workplace.
To begin with, Skanska is conducting a legal audit across four CEE countries in order to verify and align policies regarding the LGBTQ+ community – assuring equality irrespective of the legal status and how the employees’ relationships or parentage are being recognized legally. Apart from that, in 2022 the Place of Pride LGBTQ+ Network is co-hosting a series of educational and high-quality webinars, to which all Skanska, as well as other “fellow rainbow” companies’ employees are invited. The first webinar from the series covered the subject of transgender visibility. Skanska commercial development business unit will also actively take part in Pride Month by preparing special activities together with its employees across the CEE region.