As an engineering practice, renaissance has long championed the importance of diversity in the workplace. We’re not just talking about ticking boxes; we genuinely believe in the transformative power of a diverse team, both for our business and our individual team members.
For a long time, engineering has been a culturally homogenous field. Who knows how much that’s held the industry back and what progress might’ve been made otherwise? Happily, times are changing and though many practices are still painfully uniform, many practices are enjoying the many benefits of a diverse team and workforce.
In this blog post, we delve into why diversity is not just beneficial but essential in engineering practices today.
Understanding the Concept of Diversity
Diversity isn’t a buzzword we throw around loosely at renaissance; it’s a core value that impacts every facet of our business. In simple terms, diversity means variety—the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, colour, religion, socioeconomic background, gender, or sexual orientation. And in the engineering world, it’s an invaluable asset that drives us toward new frontiers of innovation, collaboration, and growth.
A theme you will see run throughout this blog is that with diversity, comes different approaches, viewpoints and practices that will equip your practice to solve a widening array of problems. This can only be a positive. If everyone thinks the same way in your business, you’ll eventually encounter a problem you don’t have the tools to solve.
Innovation and Creativity
The engineering industry thrives on innovation. We’ve found that our diverse team significantly contributes to creative problem-solving. Different backgrounds bring in fresh perspectives, allowing us to approach problems from multiple angles and thereby devise more effective and innovative solutions.
This might come from practising engineering in Hong Kong before coming to the UK or might just be a facet of growing up with different experiences that shape thinking patterns differently. Having different approaches at your disposal when engaging with challenging briefs makes you more useful to your client and gives you a leg over the competition who don’t value that same diverse thinking.
Improved Decision Making
Good decision-making is critical in engineering, where mistakes can be costly both in financial terms and in the safety of end-users. A diverse team encourages a variety of viewpoints and critical discussion, ensuring that decisions are well-considered and robust.
There are often different approaches that are viable when it comes to overcoming an engineering challenge but some are better, cheaper, or more sustainable than others. Only by considering the options can you start to decide on what the best approach is.
Enhanced Talent Attraction and Retention
We aim to attract the best and brightest talents from across the globe to our practice. Our commitment to diversity is a significant attraction for prospective employees who value inclusivity and the opportunity to learn in an environment that’s positive, growth-focused and rewarding.
Who would’ve thought it? That people would want to work for a business where their personality and unique approach will be respected, embraced and empowered.
Better Employee Engagement
When your workplace respects and embraces the diversity of your team, team members feel more included and valued, improving morale, job satisfaction, and performance. After all, no one wants to have to come to work and put up a front that masks who they really are.
At renaissance, we’re not just diverse in who we hire, but also in how we engage with and value each team member’s unique contributions.
Inclusion and Collaboration
Inclusion is the other half of the diversity equation. It’s not just about having a mix of genders, races, and cultures, but also about creating a workspace where everyone feels they belong.
If you make diverse hires but fail to make them feel part of the team, fail to empower them to collaborate and ultimately use their hire as a tick-box exercise, not only are you missing out on all the benefits they can bring to your business, you’re setting yourself up for a lawsuit.
We prioritise open dialogue and a collaborative environment where everyone feels their voice is heard and valued. This approach tracks with increased employee wellbeing and helps us deliver our best work.
Equality vs Equity
A significant distinction we make at renaissance is between equality and equity. While equality aims to ensure that everyone gets the same resources and opportunities, equity acknowledges that different people have different needs. It’s not about giving everyone the same thing, but about giving each person what they need to succeed. We’re passionate about providing the tailored support that enables every team member to reach their full potential because it’s not just the ethical thing to do; it’s smart business.
Business Growth and Profitability
Our diversity is more than a social asset; it’s a business asset. In our experience, our diverse hiring policies have been nothing but good for renaissance and our clients, affirming what many studies have long claimed—that diversity is good for business.
Overcoming Challenges of Diversity
It’s not all plain sailing, of course. Diversity comes with its own set of challenges, like cultural misunderstandings or communication differences. But these are not insurmountable. With the right training and an open mind, these challenges can become opportunities for further growth and understanding.
Often, these issues turn into net positives that inform growth, fresh understanding and stronger relationships.
Diversity Policies and Best Practices
We take proactive steps to promote diversity and inclusion, right from our hiring practices to ongoing training programmes. Whether it’s workshops, mentoring, or community outreach, renaissance employs a multi-faceted approach to ensure we’re as diverse and inclusive as we can be.
The bottom line
Diversity and inclusion are not mere buzzwords but critical components of a successful and sustainable business model, especially in the engineering sector where our workforce has been stagnant and uniform for way too long.
At renaissance, we’re proud to be at the forefront of this movement, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it brings tangible benefits to our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.
With all the many pressing problems for us to solve in engineering and the built environment more generally, we need everyone around the table ready to bring their unique expertise to bear in finding the right solutions.