The importance of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect

Head of Products and Markets at CHAS, Alex Minett, offers guidance on bringing FIR processes in line with industry best practice. As businesses look to drive progress on workplace diversity, buyers and suppliers should be prepared to evidence their competence…

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion is not only the right thing to do, according to Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, diverse businesses thrive. The latest McKinsey & Company diversity report says data from 15 countries and over 1000 large companies shows, the most diverse companies are more likely to outperform less diverse peers.
  It’s little wonder then that many organisations are looking to improve performance in this area, a Chartered Institute of Building report shows that in 2019 the workforce was made up of just 5-7% BAME employees and 12% female employees. It also highlighted that fewer than ever 16-24 year-olds are entering the industry.
  With demands for construction on an upward trajectory, an ageing workforce, and an unprecedented skills shortage, the ability to attract new workers and retain existing talent is now more vital than ever.

Business benefits

An employer renowned for equality and respect for its employees will almost certainly have an advantage in a hotly-contested recruitment market. A valued workforce also leads to increased employee engagement, which goes hand in hand with better productivity, allowing innovation and collaboration to flourish, all of which enhance business reputation and improve financial returns.

Achieving Fairness, Inclusion and Respect

Creating a culture of FIR begins with good leadership and a clear vision. A specific strategy should offer a set of core values on workplace equality and ensure all employees feel heard and respected.
  This could mean introducing FIR training to staff, exploring flexible working or publishing gender pay reports. A company that routinely tracks and reports on its inclusion data, such as diversity recruitment, shows it is taking a robust approach to its responsibilities, particularly when combined with KPIs and actions for improvement. Reaching out to minority groups for recruitment or collaboration also demonstrates a proactive focus on diversity.
  Policies and procedures could be developed through staff engagement surveys, and at the same time, staff wellbeing schemes are crucial to supporting staff health and retention. Toolbox talks, FIR steering groups, and FIR ‘champions’ are all important for driving a FIR agenda.

Driving industry best-practice

CHAS have partnered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to develop the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment to offer an accredited evidence-based assessment that offers third-party assurance that Fairness, Inclusion & Respect is being embedded effectively, with a range of online questions and in-person interviews.

What does the assessment focus on?

The CHAS Fairness, Inclusion & Respect assessment looks at:
Commitment – the importance of strategy, leadership and governance in a Fairness, Inclusion & Respect culture
Employment – how a company incorporates FIR when attracting and recruiting people, as well as their development
Working practices – policies and procedures that promote a strong working culture
Site environment – how sites are set up for everyone’s needs and offer an environment where a culture of FIR can thrive
Supply chain – how the development of a Fairness, Inclusion and Respect culture can be cascaded down to suppliers

What evidence needs to be provided?

Initially, the assessment requests evidence of how an organisation complies with their legal obligations relating to the key topics. It then looks for evidence of good practice – diversity and inclusion data (commitment) or the appointment of FIR ambassadors (site environment).
  The assessment offers guidelines on implementing the key topics of the FIR framework, eg. organisational data that shows how diversity is tracked (employment) or demonstration of what proactive measures have been taken to reach out to minority-owned businesses to promote supplier diversity across the industry (supply chain).


Industry is making progress improving diversity, this new accreditation will enable businesses to move from showing they are committed to proving they are making progress which will help to promote a fairer, more inclusive and respectful industry which is better for all.

To find out more about becoming FIR accredited,
visit or call 0345 521 9111