Prioritizing Workplace Culture and Diversity in the Construction Industry

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Written by Freya Hannah, Canadian Representative at Garnica

In today’s fiercely competitive job market, companies across all industries are facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining top-tier talent. Traditional incentives such as competitive salaries are no longer the sole consideration for employees. Workplace culture, community, and opportunities for personal and professional growth are increasingly influential factors in the decision-making process. This shift in priorities necessitates a re-evaluation of how companies cultivate their work environments and employee wellbeing. A holistic approach to company culture not only enhances employee attraction and retention but also ensures that organizations can thrive amidst evolving workforce dynamics. 

Employee wellbeing is good for business

Wellness programs that prioritize the needs of employees have a tangible and direct effect on retention, and Garnica, a leader in premium sustainable plywood has seen a notable increase in engagement and satisfaction as a result of their efforts in this area. Their program, Garnica Inspire, equips employees with tools to lead more active and balanced lives, foster professional development, and take part in leadership training courses. By providing resources for personal growth and professional development, companies can encourage team members to evolve within their roles and cultivate leadership skills. When employees feel valued and supported, they are far more likely to stay with their company, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs of hiring and training new staff. In fact, according to Normandin Beaudry’s 2023 remun survey, companies that implemented a health and wellness program experienced a 3 to 4 per cent reduction in annual turnover compared to those that did not.

It’s important to note that an organization’s commitment to its employees’ wellbeing cannot solely exist within working hours; it must also extend beyond the workplace. By promoting a balanced lifestyle and encouraging active living, employers can help their employees maintain physical and mental health, leading to reduced absenteeism and higher overall productivity. Prioritizing employee wellbeing is not just a moral imperative but a strategic business decision.

Addressing gender disparity in the construction industry

In addition to creating a more engaged workforce, fostering a culture of diversity and inclusivity are paramount in distinguishing a company from its competitors. Although notable strides have been made in recent years, the lack of female representation in the construction industry remains a widely overlooked issue. To foster a truly inclusive workplace, companies, especially in the construction industry must implement strategies that encourage female participation and work to close the gender gap. These efforts should not be implemented in order to meet diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) quotas; it is about recognizing the value that diverse perspectives bring to the table. 

In an industry where problem-solving and innovation are crucial, incorporating a broader range of viewpoints can lead to more effective solutions and improved processes. Employers are responsible for creating an environment where women feel welcome and supported through mentorship programs, companywide initiatives, and targeted recruitment efforts aimed at attracting women to the industry.

The role of leadership in cultivating a diverse workplace

Leadership plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of inclusivity. Construction leaders must champion diversity and set the tone for the entire organization by addressing unconscious biases, implementing policies that support work-life balance, and ensuring that women have equal opportunities for advancement. By creating a culture where all employees feel valued and respected, companies can build a more cohesive and effective workforce. Leadership training programs can be instrumental in developing a company culture that fosters mutual respect with its employees. These programs should emphasize the importance of inclusive leadership and provide the skills needed to manage diverse teams effectively.

The future of company culture

In the evolving job market, the most successful companies will be those that prioritize workplace culture and diversity alongside competitive compensation. Garnica’s approach highlights the benefits of investing in employee wellbeing and professional development. For the construction industry, addressing gender disparity is not only a matter of equity but also a strategic advantage. Research consistently demonstrates that diverse teams are more innovative and perform better financially. By fostering an inclusive culture and supporting diverse talent, companies can drive innovation, improve performance, and secure their position in the competitive landscape. As workforce dynamics continue to shift, embracing these values will be key to attracting and retaining the best talent and ensuring long-term success.

Freya Hannah

About this Author

Freya Hannah is the Canadian Representative for Garnica and brings over a decade of expertise to the building and materials industry. With a background spanning reputable entities such as Robert Bury, Thomes Canada and Formica Canada, she has navigated the full landscape of production, from large millwork corporations to boutique craftsmen workshops.

 In her role, Freya prioritizes understanding her clients’ needs, whether it’s sourcing quality materials or meeting budget constraints. She’s known for her hands-on approach, guiding clients through the nuances of their choices to ensure long-term project success. Drawing on her diverse background, including experience in the air medical repatriation industry, she brings a grounded perspective to her interactions, emphasizing the human aspect of business. With a focus on fostering growth and stability, Freya is dedicated to advancing the industry towards a more environmentally conscious future.

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About Garnica

Garnica is a globally recognized leader in the production of innovative, high-quality plywood designed for the most demanding customers. The company works with wood from sustainable and renewable sources underscoring its commitment to nature, people, the community and preserving ecological balance. Garnica has a production capacity to send 7,500 truckloads anually and is strategically located in the five most important poplar plantation basins in Europe. The company has 1100 workers across its seven production centers, five in Spain and two in France. There are also two offices in Spain: the main office in Logroño, La Rioja, and a support office in Madrid.