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Christie Idemudia, Human Resources Business Partner at Mercury, was recently interviewed as part of the The 2020 Diversity in the Workplace Report International Independent Diversity and Inclusion Report.
Christie Idemudia, Human Resources Business Partner at Mercury, was recently interviewed as part of the The 2020 Diversity in the Workplace Report International Independent Diversity and Inclusion Report. 
Mercury’s Christie Idemudia features in Diversity in the Workplace Report
Author: Cormac Byrne  /  20th Feb, 2020  /  News, Insights, Responsible Business

Christie Idemudia, Human Resources Business Partner at Mercury, was recently interviewed as part of the The 2020 Diversity in the Workplace Report International Independent Diversity and Inclusion Report.

The report was unveiled at the Diversity in the Workplace Global Launch event at IBM’s headquarters in London, UK and featured NHS, Spotify, Blinkist, Financial Times, Embassy of Ireland in London, Cyient, HPE, Yara, Sodexo, Crescendo, Teamscope, RTÉ, GoCardless, Tenzo, Hubble, Paysafe, Social Talent, Seedcamp, Smart Pension, Matheson and many more.

Christie spoke at length about many of the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in the construction industry and highlighted the steps that Mercury has taken to ensure that we are leading the way on the subject in the construction sector. Christie’s full interview can be found below.

Why does diversity and inclusion matter in construction?

“I think traditionally, the construction and engineering sector has been male-dominated. If we look at the statistics, we have around 89% of the workforce being male and only 11% being female. We need diversity and inclusion to improve business returns, for the moral case, and to bring greater ideas and innovation to our workforce. It’s also important to ensure everyone in our workforce feels they belong”.

“We have over 39 nationalities represented in Mercury and we have offices across Europe. There are areas in D&I that the construction industry is behind on. Unlike in other industries where it would be usual to have maternity benefits like paid leave, this isn’t as common” D&I is important to create an awareness around this and to get companies to think inclusively about women and all people when creating benefits.”

Mercury staff celebrating diversity and inclusion week in January.

How should diversity and inclusion be implemented in the organisation?

“I believe diversity should be built into the very structure of the organisation.”

“It should influence how we hire people, what our talent pool looks like, and how we make decisions. It should affect every part of the organisation. We should extend ourselves to ensure that we don’t just have people who look like us in our teams. It benefits us to leverage a diverse workforce”.

“We need to look at the employee experience too. When employees come into the organisation, how do they feel? Do they feel valued? Do they feel left out? These are all questions that are addressed by diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

What are some diversity and inclusion program ideas you’ve explored?

“Our D&I work is quite new. For that reason, a lot of the things we’ve done so far has been working on our diversity and inclusion strategy. This looked at how we hire and retain employees and also how we contribute to the community that we’re based in.

“It also looks at how we create a work culture that leverages our similarities and differences to create value for stakeholders. For us, it was important to be intentional and to take concrete steps. For example, we signed up to the CIF Diversity Charter and committed to the charter statement.”

Many may be unfamiliar with the Diversity Charter. How does that operate? How do you benefit?

“Essentially, the charter is written in such a way that it makes you commit to having a policy, training managers, and creating an inclusive workplace for everyone. I signed up for it on behalf of my executive management, with their approval. The benefit is this commitment. It provides a framework for you to make deliberate and intentional decisions for creating a better workplace under D&I”.

What tips do you have for organisations beginning on their D&I journey?

“One thing to recognise is that there is a diversity iceberg. On the tip you have age, gender, racial diversity, and so on, but beneath you have personality, background, how we grow, and so much more.

“You can’t do everything at once. It’s something I’ve picked up from getting to talk with others in the field. It’s better to pick up one thing, focus on it, achieve your goals with it, and then move on to the next thing.

“It’s a challenging road, but be ready, focused, and stay adaptable, and you’ll get there. You have to believe in D&I. The world is a global market right now. I wouldn’t want a situation where anyone is left out. I want everyone to have a slice of the cake, to come to the party, and to get to dance at the party. Once you understand why you believe in D&I, then it’s easier to get the ball rolling with actually implementing it.”

Mercury staff in Amsterdam enjoy Brazilian cuisine

When you started working on D&I, how did you bring ideas into action?

“Based on my background and the various places I’ve worked, I knew Mercury would benefit from D&I in that context. I didn’t want D&I to seem like some fluffy Human Resources thing that had no tangible benefit. I wanted my company to believe in it. I did some research and pulled statistics and gave a presentation to my management. From there, I eventually got approval and got the go-ahead to drive the initiative.

“One of the things I also did was a survey. I conducted research with our employees to get a sense of what they knew about D&I and their feeling of belonging. This pre-survey is really important for you to be able to measure impact. Without metrics and measurement, you can’t show what you’ve done to stakeholders.”

How long did it take for you to get your diversity and inclusion strategy up-and-running?

“I would say from the initial pitch to approval and really getting going, it was about three months. I did my pitch in July and got approval, but really work started in October-November. We signed up for the Diversity Charter in November.”

How do you handle the fact that performance might stray from your original strategy?

“With every strategy there are goals in place, and tasks and activities. There are also performance metrics. Setting realistic goals is very important. So for the first year of our initiative we have baby steps goals, bearing in mind it’s a new change initiative. Our 1st year goal is centered around creating awareness, changing mindset and behaviors and training and we have our success metrics set.

“This way we are not overly ambitious in what we want to achieve in our first year. As we progress, we keep stretching the goals and learning from mistakes.”

Which stakeholders would you recommend fellow D&I Champions look to for getting started?

“I would say your HR director for number one. Your HR director has a seat at the executive management meetings and can present at that platform to get approval.

“Usually, initiatives like this come from HR so starting there is a great place. At the end of the day, you want to influence as many of the Executive Team as you can. So, if you have an existing relationship with your CEO, your CFO, whoever it is, mention your ideas and bring concrete evidence to back it up.”

Click here to read the full 2020 Diversity in the Workplace Report International Independent Diversity and Inclusion Report.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)

At Mercury, we recognise the diversity of the different regions and industries in which we work and adapt our working practices to accommodate those differences accordingly. Our success in recent years has led to continuous growth, new opportunities and expansion into brave new territories and markets.

We foster a Mercury culture of caring – about quality, about safety and about community. We’re determined to make a positive contribution to all the communities in which we operate through our daily operations – to our employees, to our business partners and to society in general.

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