Jacobs Engineering Group is an international technical professional services firm specialising in engineering, technical, professional and construction services. With a workforce of 55,000 employees, operating in over 40 countries worldwide, the organisation has achieved global recognition for their inclusion work. In 2021, they were named one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women, the UK inspirational STEM Employer of the year by UK Research and Innovation and the best place to work for LGBTQ equality by Human Rights Campaign.
Jacobs believes that inclusion is about acting in an open and transparent way and by ensuring the foundation from which all their brands are built is a culture of caring. They have recently published a European Inclusion and Diversity report called ‘Together Beyond’ which sets out their commitment to embedding inclusion in every aspect of their business.
I would say that we already had made [ED&I] commitments at a very high level and then embedded them in the company, in our Advancing Justice and Equity Charter, which was actually published in our Plan Beyond Strategy. For me, the toolkit actually kind of walked us through a process of helping us to bring our Advancing Justice and Equity Charter to life.Rebecca Scott, Global Talent Resources
Read the stories from young Black men and their
experience at Jacobs
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The Journey so far
For Jacobs, ED&I is all about ‘Living Inclusion’ and to achieve this, engagement and communication with employees is paramount. The belief is that building relationships, building trust and encouraging staff to genuinely ‘bring your whole self to work’ helps staff feel they belong.
It’s a culture that includes investments made to the employee network and its Advancing Justice and Equity Charter.
Last year the company’s Supplier Diversity Programme spent around £1 million on diverse suppliers worldwide. In the UK, a raft of new initiatives are in the pipeline, including a supplier diversity awareness event, supply chain mentoring scheme and corporate membership of an umbrella body dedicated to supporting Black and Minority Ethnic SMEs partnership with large corporations.
The Inclusive Employers toolkit supported the company through the process of helping to bring the Advancing Justice and Equity Charter to life.
Culture & Leadership – The Challenges
With over 55,000 staff, the company had to meet the challenge of translating the ED&I commitments through the 7,000 managers and leaders consistently on a global scale.
There was also the responsibility of ensuring that all staff felt comfortable and safe disclosing information through employee surveys.
Although internal reviews and KPI’s are set, Jacobs needed to share and showcase with, and hear good practice from other like-minded people and companies.
I want to stay at Jacobs. Within the last three months, I’ve received immense support from my line manager and colleagues. Since I started, I’ve had a mentor that’s championing and helping to shape my career, I have regular ‘catch-ups’ with my line manager and we have discussed my career plans; we’ve set targets and are working on them. There are endless opportunities and support here, definitely, I see myself staying at the company and believe I can develop my career here.Young, Black male trainee at Jacobs
Through working with the GLA WIN and the Equal Group, Jacobs been able to support the focus on employment opportunities for young Black men. By looking at data for young Black men in London and in the construction industry, Jacobs is now reviewing how its own data is collected and used.
Working with WIN and the Equal Group has also given Jacobs the opportunity to talk about initiatives and good practice with other businesses going on a similar journey, covering topics such as supply chains, outreach and engagement methods and communication strategies.
Leading by example is another area that Jacobs has been able to highlight. All of the senior leaders in the company are required to sponsor and mentor two diverse employees, one of whom must be Black.
The company is also encouraging all staff to be visible and vocal. The CEO wants DE&I to be talked about widely, including with clients and highlighted in published information. This includes publishing the results from staff surveys and openness in the company’s gender and ethnicity pay gap reports.
Central to the ‘Living Inclusion’ commitment is the Advancing Justice & Equity Charter and the action plan to ensure that this happens. The plan has a specific focus on black talent, ensuring that all Black employees have the resources they need to advance and achieve their highest goals.
Jacobs has also developed and communicated a strong visible inclusion and diversity strategy ‘Together Beyond’, with a Leadership Commitment and Accountability Statement that has been signed by all senior leadership within the business.
The numerous employee networks are championed and sponsored by senior leadership throughout every country. Learning, issues raised and messaging from the employee networks is vital in understanding practical and realistic inclusion practices that make a difference to staff at every level.
Jacobs defines itself as a learning organisation. Under the ED&I banner, training in unconscious bias was followed by conscious inclusion training (which 99% of the company staff participated). This was then followed by ally and bystander training. The employee networks played a key role in sourcing the training and ensuring the content was relevant.
The training produced additional outcomes, as it helped people to understand and appreciate that we communicate and learn with each other in a range of formats and styles and can enable courageous conversations where people are able to share their lived experience. Through the training, Jacobs was able to reinforce the feeling of belonging for staff.
How we move forward
- Start from the top with senior leadership. Ensure clear and visible commitment to any inclusion and diversity strategy.
- Lead by example. For example, senior leaders to take on sponsored mentoring
- Collect and understand your data. This will inform your plans and reinforce senior leadership commitment.
- Have a person-centred approach that naturally leads to ‘belonging’ in a company.
- Identify opportunities with similar external companies to showcase and talk about your initiatives and good practice. Use each other as a critical friend.
- Employee Champion groups can only have power and impact if championed and sponsored by senior leadership.
- Be visible and vocal about your ED&I work. People/staff will understand there are numerous ways to be inclusive and different ways to be an ally, support and champion inclusion.