Ella Cole: Shaping our Workforce Culture

Our Head of Business Support & Recruitment and EDI lead, Ella Cole, recently spoke about how it is essential to shape the right workplace culture in order to better motivate our teams.

In business the way we do things is increasingly as important as what we do. Shaping the right workplace culture is essential to motivating teams, creating a sense of belonging and encouraging people to be their best. We’re proud to have a strong shared ethos at FM Conway – our mantra of great people, great work drives us and everything we do.

As a family business, we have a wonderful culture of supporting, caring and welcoming friends and family, which is one of the bedrocks of our success. This brings a great sense of belonging, but with that we feel a great responsibility to ensure everyone feels included and that we create a diverse business which is fundamental to both ourselves and the wider transport and highways industry.

Extra care must be taken to make sure the door isn’t closed on potential employees if they aren’t seen as an immediately obvious fit for an organisation. People hiring for roles will often make these assessments entirely subconsciously as there may be a natural tendency to recruit in our own image. It’s a very human thing to do and this inevitably leads to a lack of diversity.

We have to tackle this unconscious bias if we want to attract a diverse range of people into our industry. It’s something we are very passionate about at FM Conway and have taken steps to address. We work with prisons, partner with programmes supporting the long-term unemployed and actively engage with initiatives that are supporting women back into the workplace. Our Ex-military forces programme has been hugely successful, and this is all thanks to our passionate group of veteran employees who encourage and support other service leavers into our business.

We don’t have all the answers to how we ensure our industry is as diverse as the society we live in, but our Disability Confident Leadership status, Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, and partnerships with initiatives such as the TfL Women in Transport & Engineering programme, are essential steps in the bigger push towards inclusivity and diversity. Creating happy, harmonious teams is a fundamental part of a good working culture, but we need to keep challenging ourselves about who can fit the mould – building different people’s confidence to apply and making sure we broaden our mindsets about who could be the right candidate. It’s about creating a business that has a clear set of core values but deliver on these by employing a variety of people who reflect the wider world we’re in.