Create a Culture of CARE – Part 4

How to Create a Culture of CARE – Part 4

Empower your Workforce: Unleashing a Culture of CARE to Foster Inclusion and Belonging

July 1, 2024

Empowering employees and fostering a sense of belonging and purpose in the workplace will gain even more prominence in 2024, especially for leaders who want to drive their businesses forward. Workers are expecting their job to provide meaning and make a difference in society. By taking a human-centered approach with Culture of CARE, companies will create more opportunities for employee engagement and allow people to champion efforts that are meaningful to them, thereby creating an inclusive work environment where both staff and projects thrive.

Throughout this series we continue to highlight why each pillar of the AGC Culture of CARE pledge matters to the construction industry. In reflecting on this final article, we want you to pause and write down WHY this matters to your company, to a current project and to you personally. Once you have this written, you will be ready to read the tips shared from Impact Champions who have empowered their employees through a Culture of CARE.

As a reminder, the R in Culture of CARE is defined as:

  • EMPOWER – every employee to promote a culture of diversity & inclusion.

Best Practices and tips to EMPOWER EMPLOYEES USING cULTURE OF care: 

Refer to your WHY statement as you read.

  1. 1. Engage the Why for Culture of CARE Consistently and Often

We started the series about making Culture of CARE personal and will end here as well. Clearly communicate from the office to the field one clear message of WHY empowering employees matters to your company, customers, projects and to you personally as a leader. Encourage employees to define their own personal why for promoting a Culture of CARE.

Impact Champion Spotlight: S.M. Wilson & Company

For Ryan Phipps, general superintendent at S.M. Wilson, a Missouri-based construction company, promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion is definitely personal as well. Phipps, a Caucasian male, is married to a woman of Hispanic descent and has a niece he encouraged to make a career in construction. To further his personal why and the company’s goal, Phipps joined SM Wilson’s DEI Council when he was a new hire to be a voice from the field. He makes sure that the women on his job sites are supported by everyone, including stocking feminine hygiene products alongside first aid kits.

“This is important to the company and it’s important to me. It says who we are. We need many people willing to get in on the trend,” says Phipps.

S. M. Wilson & Co.’s goal is to create a customized Culture of CARE plan for every project. This ensures both trade partners and clients are aware of their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion while setting the tone and expectations for a respectful job site. A proactive approach to fostering inclusive environments can lead to fewer incidents of harassment and discrimination on the job site and increased retention rates within the industry. S. M. Wilson’s Diversity and Human Resources Manager Maggie Farrell states, “Empowered by company values and with resources from the Culture of CARE we have made some advancements and can continue to address challenges to make lasting and impactful progress in construction.”

2. Create Safe Places for Open Dialogue

“It’s not like the guys are vocally opposed,” one interviewee shared when referring to their field laborers’ response to Culture of CARE. Walking in this space requires a certain grit, to not be easily offended or triggered. Understanding DEI also requires emotional intelligence and skills to build psychological safety. Companies that can easily navigate this space are rare, especially in the construction industry where open dialogue may not always be safe.

Impact Champion Spotlight: Battaglia Associates

Safe places are the norm at Battaglia Associates in New Castle, Delaware. Neena Anderson, eagerly embraces her dual role as Senior Contract Manager and Diversity Manager. She credits the company’s owners Christine Meyer and Jennifer Battaglia for creating this rare opportunity for her to serve her team in both roles.

“We have a flat hierarchy, and everyone is empowered to make decisions,” says Anderson, the sole person of color in the office. As the diversity manager, Neena leads many of the diversity and inclusion topics, inviting curiosity from employees and even pushback to ensure that everyone feels heard.

  1. 3. Encourage Ongoing Learning Related to Supporting a More Inclusive Workplace

Whether it’s empathy, psychological safety, emotional intelligence or perhaps learning active listening skills, no employee is exempt from learning or honing soft skills to empower an inclusive workplace.

Impact Champion Spotlight:  APi Group

APi Group believes everyone is responsible for being inclusive. As part of these efforts each quarter all employees are invited to read a book together. This past quarter the company completed “The Four Stages of Psychological Safety” by Timothy R. Clark. Velma Korbel, Chief Diversity Officer at APi, says, “We believe that if we have truly created a welcoming and inclusive environment, our current team members will become ambassadors and will help us recruit new talent into the organization. Psychological safety has become a major area of focus for us because we know that psychologically safe environments are inclusive environments.” APi is committed to seeing every leadership training employing a component related to skills to support inclusion. It’s no wonder 81% of employees say APi group is a great place to work.

Ready to Commit?

Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice we make every day. We hope this four-part series has ignited you to make the choice to take the Culture of CARE pledge and daily make choices HOW to build a better culture of belonging and inclusion for your organization and the built environment.

About the Author:

Michelle Thompson, MBA, is a Leadership and Organizational Development consultant at FMI serving as a consultant and facilitator to empower and equip the next generation of construction leaders. Michelle is also a certified administrator with Intercultural Development Inventory® offering a way for companies to measure both team and individual intercultural competence, the bridge for diversity and inclusion. To learn more email


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