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Why IWFM is boosting its EDI commitment

Published 8th April, 2024 by Neil Nixon

Why IWFM is boosting its EDI commitment

Beyond Buzzwords, published by The Young Foundation on 7 March, underlined the economic and social benefits that equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) can bring, while noting substantial barriers to progress. The report confirmed the critical role that professional bodies like IWFM can play in bringing about the ‘systematic’ change needed to reap these widespread benefits.

IWFM, publicly committed to EDI since 2021, got involved to understand how we could make the most impact. It believes a diverse and inclusive workplace and facilities profession (WFM) - as a lynchpin profession in organisations - can be a powerhouse of progressiveness. Yet compared to the other professions in the survey, the FM specific findings make uncomfortable reading. The report and the sector case study data give a stark warning of the consequences for this community of not acting – aggravating an already chronic skills crisis.

People in FM experience more severe discrimination and exclusion. More FMs change jobs, take career breaks, choose self-employment, experience mental health issues and turn down professional opportunities. They are more likely to exit FM because of issues related to EDI. The report also found that within marginalised groups, professionals disagree on the state of EDI progress, at best hampering progression.

CEO Linda Hausmanis said: “The only way to guarantee that the workplace and facilities profession can attract and retain the best possible talent is ensure that equal opportunity exists for all those who may want to enter, or are already in, FM and to celebrate their differences so they may thrive. Professional bodies hold a key lever for positive action and lasting change. They set the standards of what it means to be a professional. They have the capacity to ‘raise the bar’ for what it means to be a professional, in relation to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion."

Committing IWFM to adopt - or further progress - all of the Young Foundation recommendations for professional bodies, Hausmanis continued: “They are our blueprint for how we drive change in the short, medium, and longer term across our themes of leadership and governance, IWFM team, membership and professions. We can only control what is within our sphere of influence, but through our members, our ambition is to make a difference in the world they operate and influence."

In an updated EDI Public Statement, IWFM commits to:

Put EDI at the heart of professional life through updated codes of ethics/conduct, reviewing professional standards and reframing EDI as non-negotiable.

Foreground EDI in upskilling and reskilling, including the accreditation based on core competencies around EDI.

Create opportunities for professionals to shape EDI in their organisation, such as forming working groups and building accountability though feedback and communication.

Ensure all strategies, policies, procedures and practices are approached with an EDI lens, continuously monitoring progress.

A high-level action plan has been informed by the EDI Focus Group and approved by the board, who will review progress on a regular basis. IWFM will engage on a regular basis with its membership to communicate the progress it has made in this area.

Access the Public Statement here.

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