Thursday 11th March 2021:         The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. We can all help to make our workplace more inclusive if we are aware of, and take responsibility for, our words and actions. 

Sisk is an innovative and progressive family owned international construction and engineering business operating for over 160 years. Our core values of Care, Integrity and Excellence are at the heart of who we are and how we treat our people.  We #ChooseToChallenge through our commitment to a safe, engaged and inclusive workplace which is fundamental to how we operate. I think we have made strides in this space but we will be relentless in seeking opportunities to improve.

We are acutely aware of the challenges we have, along with the rest of the construction sector, in consistently attracting and retaining women within our organisation. For me, this represents a significant missed opportunity of untapped talent that we are working hard to address.

For us #ChooseToChallenge means we must continue to call out inappropriate behaviour, comments or where we see the wrong attitude. In Sisk, we all have a responsibility to create an inclusive culture for all. We don’t accept the old ways of doing things and we are doing our best to move with the times. Our goal is to create a welcoming and inclusive workforce, appreciating all for who they are and their unique contribution.

We’re also trying to do things differently to drive the EDI agenda in the company by concentrating on initiatives that will make a practical difference. For example, we’re getting leaders involved from the outset via the sponsorship of EDI initiatives and being the first to go through inclusive language/behaviour workshops. These will be rolled out to everyone across the company during 2021. We will be rolling out a mentoring programme later this year to give employees access to a wider support network, role models and learning to progress their careers and wellbeing.

Our goal is to ensure that inclusion is part of the fabric of our business and that our culture and environment allow everyone to thrive and contribute to our success, without anyone feeling that are any barriers to them doing that. In recent years we have expanded our Diversity and Inclusion Action team, appointed board level diversity sponsors in both the UK and Ireland and formed a gender-targeted employee resource group. We will look to expand our focus from Gender to the wider Diversity agenda later in the year, but we have to start somewhere.

This isn’t something that’s owned by our Leadership Team or Board – we all own it. I think if we ask ourselves what environment we would like to work in, how would be like a member of our family or one of our friends to be treated and what can we all do about it, we will create a great workplace for all.

One great way of doing that is to #ChooseToChallenge. We’re all responsible for our thoughts and actions all day, every day and by choosing to challenge, will make our workplace better for everyone. At Sisk we #ChooseToChallenge.

Steve Bowcott

CEO, John Sisk & Son