Wood Reveals Broad Diversity and Inclusion Benefits
The global energy engineering and consulting firm Wood is proving that diversity and inclusion (D&I) applies to everyone in an organization.
“I think the biggest misconception about inclusion and diversity is that it is a human resources (HR) issue or it’s only for office-based folks,” said Lisa Ferrol, Wood’s president, culture and inclusion. “This is something that affects everyone in an organization, and it takes each of us to do something about making a workplace a great place for everyone.”
Ferrol explained that D&I applies to everyone because respect, value and a sense of belonging are universal desires.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are working on a construction site, in an office or working remotely in your own home, we all matter,” she said. “Each of us makes a choice every day when we get up, how we are going to approach the day and how we will interact with one another. We all each have our unique stories, the things that make us who we are. That might be our background, our ethnicity, our marital status, our religion, or our education. We all want to work somewhere that recognizes us for our unique story.”
Because a perception exists that D&I only promotes empowering marginalized and underrepresented groups, it may surprise some that Wood – a player in the male-dominated energy industry – recently commemorated International Men’s Day.
“We absolutely do have a focus on improving our representation, but we have an equal focus on ensuring that we include everyone, and that means the majority groups as well,” Ferrol said. “We took the decision to celebrate International Men’s Day because we want to recognize everyone.”
Marking the occasion also challenged a widespread stereotype.
“So often men are told that they are they privileged ones, that they have it easy,” Ferrol continued. “We have to remember that the intersection of life doesn’t always make that so. Men have struggles too, and if we don’t listen or try to minimize them, then we are not truly being inclusive.”
In addition to striving to acknowledge its entire workforce, Wood also obtains benefits from its D&I efforts. For instance, Ferrol pointed out that fostering open communication supports Wood’s safety performance.
“A fundamental right at work is to be safe and a huge element of that is the ability to speak up when we see something that potentially hurts a colleague,” Ferrol said. “We are all someone’s daughter, son, father, mother, sister, brother, partner. We all want to go home safe, so we all rely on one another to speak up when something is not safe, in physical safety and psychological safety. An inclusive workplace means that all voices are heard, irrespective of your background within the team.”
D&I can also help an organization become more sustainable.
“Wood’s commitment to sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, grounded in our values and inspired by our passion for creating sustainable value for our people, our clients, investors and the communities where we live and work,” noted Ferrol. “Our commitment is that Wood is a place where people are treated fairly, respected, connected and cared for. From how we recruit, to the employee networks we create and our industry partnerships, we believe we are stronger together and recognize, encourage and celebrate the unique contribution each individual brings to Team Wood.”
In closing, Ferrol underscores that employee initiative drives the advancement of D&I in the workplace.
“Often people think that creating a great workplace or being inclusive is for D&I experts or HR,” she concluded. “However, I want to reframe it. It starts with you! We can all decide to be kinder, be a better listener, speak up for others who might not be ready to, be more curious and help our teammates thrive in the workplace.”