The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is launching a new initiative to help property firms across Yorkshire and Humber create a more inclusive and competitive workforce.
The land, property and construction sector is not known for its diversity but RICS have been working across the industry and learning from other professions to find out what is not working and what can be done differently. Findings from the organisation’s research have led to it launching a scheme known as the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark, designed to help firms gain a competitive advantage and a diverse workforce.
Launching next month, the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark asks employers to pledge their commitment to adopting and continually improving against the following six principles:
- Leadership and Vision – commitment to increasing the diversity of the workforce
- Recruitment – engage and attract new people to the industry from under-represented groups; best practice recruitment methods
- Staff development– training/promotion policies that offer equal opportunities for career progression
- Staff retention – flexible working arrangements/adaptive working practices
- Staff engagement – an inclusive culture where all staff engage with developing, delivering, monitoring and assessing the diversity and inclusivity policies
- Continuous improvement – continually refreshing and renewing the firm’s commitment to being the best employer; sharing and learning from best practice across the industry
Accompanying each of RICS’ six principles are multiple ‘proof points’, against which signatories will be required to document – on a bi-annual basis – the action they are taking to ensure they meet or are working towards each principle. RICS has created two separate criteria metrics too so that both small and large firms are assessed fairly. RICS will use the assessments to document the outcomes and trends for the profession as a whole.
Once a firm becomes a signatory they gain access to details about how they are performing (according to RICS standards) across all six principles in comparison with their peers, as well as a spread of support, ideas and case studies from high performers to help drive up improvements for all. Signatories will be published on the RICS website, and member firms may then use the tag line “signatory to the RICS Inclusive Employer Quality Mark” and the logo.
Louise Brooke-Smith, RICS president said: “I am delighted to be launching the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark. It marks the step change that the profession needs. This initiative has been discussed with, and has the support and encouragement of, a number of leading firms – both large and small – across the land and property sector.
“Employee needs are changing, along with their expectations and demographic make-up. The competitive war for talent has also shifted the focus to attracting and retaining talent in the industry. Only by doing so, can we deliver a sustainable future. By committing to the Quality Mark, firms will gain a competitive advantage.
“An inclusive approach allows organisations to reflect and engage with their clients more effectively and efficiently.”
Victoria Hampson, RICS regional director, North & Midlands, said: “If current workforce statistics about our industry don’t improve, Britain will stop building in 2019. We must ensure this does not become a reality. We need to bring more skilled and qualified people into our sector, and until we change the culture in the workplace, we are not going to attract the brightest and the best.
“The Quality Mark will put RICS at the heart of the profession, leading on rewarding and sharing best practice, and recognising and promoting the work of firms – whatever their size – who are striving towards creating an inclusive workforce. An inclusive workforce is a competitive workforce, mirroring both their clients and the community. Real change will not happen overnight, but we need firms to commit to the journey with us.”
The RICS is hosting a Diversity and Inclusion conference on 25 June in London to co-incide with the launch of the Quality Mark.