Coinciding with Sydney WorldPride, SHAPE has announced its partnership with Welcome Here Project, an initiative of the New South Wales HIV and LGBTIQ+ health organization ACON, to advance workplace inclusivity for LGBTIQ+ communities. The Welcome Here Project aims to support Australian businesses and services to advocate for spaces and workplaces that are welcoming and inclusive of the LGBTIQ+ community.
SHAPE has received Welcome Here rainbow stickers, pins, and a charter to display in prominent places to let all its people, clients, subcontractors, and visitors know that LGBTIQ+ diversity is welcomed and celebrated. These Welcome Here assets have started to be rolled-out across the SHAPE Sydney office and participating project sites.
Additionally, SHAPE has committed to supporting three project pledges:
The Welcome Here Project is an evolution of the Safe Place Project, which started in 1992 to provide participating shops with stickers to signify to LGBTIQ+ community members that they could seek refuge from street-based violence. Recent research by the Australian Human Rights Institute has found that while workplace attitudes towards LGBTQ+ employees are improving, homophobia, bullying, and harassment continue in the construction industry.
SHAPE maintains a strong commitment to building a constructive culture and diverse workforce that strives for every person to feel included, supported, celebrated, and comfortable being themselves. This is backed by its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan, which outlines objectives such as creating increased awareness of diversity and encouraging the adoption of inclusive behaviours and measured through regular culture and engagement surveys.
SHAPE’s NSW Diversity and Inclusion committee introduced the Welcome Here Project as an important step to breaking the barrier for LGBTIQ+ individuals.
Kate Evans, Group Executive – People, Brand, and Communications at SHAPE, says, “We strive to build a workforce that is as diverse as the world we live in. We know that diverse teams lead to better business performance – but only if each team member feels they are treated with respect, fairness and have equal access to opportunities. We’re proud to wear our Welcome Here rainbows with pride and hope this visibility helps our employees, subcontractors, and clients to feel appreciated, valued, and comfortable to be themselves, share ideas, and support each other. We look forward to seeing more rainbows pop up across our work sites.”