Keeping diversity and inclusion at the heart of Novus

  29 February, 2024      Company Updates
Keeping diversity and inclusion at the heart of Novus

February marks LGBT+ History Month, which aims to combat prejudice and celebrate the lives and achievements of the LGBT+ community.

Here at Novus, we’re proud to be celebrating this annual event – but it’s important to us to create a diverse and inclusive environment not just this month, but every month. As a family business led by fourth and fifth generation family members, we have a long and proud history of putting people at the heart of everything we do, and we’re committed to creating a working environment where everyone can thrive.

So, what are we doing to create an inclusive culture?

Colleague networks

In 2021, we challenged ourselves to fully embody our position as a leading ‘21st century’ contractor. Our commitment to this led to the launch of our Women in Novus (WiN) network, which offers a discussion space for women at all levels of the business with the ultimate aim of making Novus a better place for women and tackling underrepresentation across the wider industry. WiN has already had a significant tangible impact on the way Novus is run, and its success has led to the launch of four further networks.

This includes Proud Together, a network led by colleagues from the LGBT+ community. Each of our networks have a board sponsor, and Lee Hartley – our CEO – has taken on this role for Proud Together, and he recently hosted its Mythbuster Quiz! The network leader, Isabella Michael, has also produced content for our intranet including a blog on best practice and resources for creating an LGBT+ inclusive workplace.

Networks like Proud Together are designed not only to create a better working environment for colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, but also to challenge industry bias. We’re also proud that our networks have already helped to create a more welcoming environment for new and existing colleagues, where they know their challenges are understood.

Our networks also play a vital role in encouraging colleagues to ask questions and learn more about the unique challenges faced by underrepresented groups. Genuine curiosity is important for trying to understand experiences that are different to our own, and we’re delighted to see Proud Together and the other networks creating useful information and resources for everyone.

Policy changes

As well as encouraging learning, our colleague networks have played an important role in helping us to update our policies to ensure we’re leading the way when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace. For example, we’re proud to have introduced a Menopause Policy and Family Friendly Policy.

We also launched our ‘Without U there is no US’ strategy in 2022, which is designed to hold all colleagues to account for commitments to diversity and inclusion. This includes targets such as reducing the gender pay gap within the company to below 10 per cent, and to increase the percentage of colleagues who identify as female, LGBT+, ethnic minority, and those with disabilities to reflect overall societal diversity.

As a result of this strategy, all of our hiring managers have undertaken recruitment training to ensure unconscious bias is recognised and that the best person for the job – regardless of background – is always hired.

What’s more, e-learning modules relating to diversity and inclusion are now mandatory for managers across the business, and diversity and inclusion information has been added to our new starter packs.

Social value

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is also demonstrated through our social value and fundraising efforts, where we’ve had a tangible positive impact on charities for underrepresented groups.

For example, through our flagship social value initiative Build Back Better, our team carried out repair and refurbishment work for Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons’ Trust. The London-based charity aims to support, educate and inspire young members of the LGBT+ community and the people around them. When the ceiling at Mosaic’s community centre collapsed due to a leak, we provided materials and labour to the value of approximately £4,000 to get the space back up and running.

We’re proud to be able to demonstrate our commitment to creating a working environment where everyone can thrive, and we’re determined to continue to lead the way within the construction industry.

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