Home builders unite for HBF's first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference

20 Jun, 2024

More than 70 of the home building industry’s HR talent leaders and diversity and inclusion advocates came together for the Home Builders Federation (HBF) inaugural Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Conference, which took place on Wednesday 19 June.

Chaired by Sophie Turner, Founder of #YesSheCan, the conference brought together an inspiring line up of speakers who discussed creating more inclusive work cultures and shared learnings from other sectors.

Neil Jefferson, Managing Director at HBF, opened the conference by emphasising the importance of knowledge sharing in expanding our understanding and driving positive progress.

Cathyrn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Programme at the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) provided valuable insight on the construction sector’s diversity and equality performance comparative to other sectors. Following data from the SCSS diversity survey, 46% of women and 49.5% from ethnic diversity background that leave the sector were found to do so before the age of 34, illustrating the importance of FIR initiatives in workplace culture.

Dawn Hurst, Chief Executive of EA Inclusion gave an overview on how organisations can benchmark EDI progress, emphasising the demand for reliable and valid measures for assessing success and return on investment. Kim Bromley, General Counsel and DE&I ExCo Sponsor at NHBC shared her knowledge on the need for senior management buy-in when implementing EDI initiatives to ensure they gain active support and sufficient budget allocation.

The conference also held an expert panel discussion on the importance and role of EDI networks in creating representation and a voice for diverse groups. Panellists included:

  • Dawnet McLaughlin, Regional Managing Director and Race & Ethnicity Network Lead at Vistry Homes Southern
  • Alison Garner, Head of Customer Services and Chair of the Women’s Network at NHBC
  • Robert Watson, Major Projects Technical Building Consultant and Proud Network Chair at NHBC
  • Ronja Jenkins, Future Talent Partner and Co-lead for the Women’s Network at Vistry Homes

Emma Ramell, Director of External Affairs at HBF, said: “If we want to attract the best and brightest individuals into home building, we must do more to create an inclusive and diverse environment across the industry. HBF continues to work closely with its members and the wider sector to break down the barriers to greater diversity and inclusion and demonstrate that home building offers a career for everyone.”

Cathryn Greville, Head of FIR at the Supply Chain Sustainability School, added: "If we want to drive fairness, inclusion and respect forward we need to self-educate, act inclusively, stay engaged and set organisational and personal goals.

“Working collectively and reaching out to others to share learnings, educate ourselves and collaborate on driving impact can help us to improve behaviours, recruit and retain more diverse teams and increase organisational productivity and success.”

For more information on HBF’s work in diversity and inclusion, visit HBF.co.uk/diversity.