Fletcher Building proud to fly the rainbow flag

Fletcher Building received its Rainbow Tick certification last December, the first New Zealand construction and building materials company to be accredited with Rainbow Tick certification.

The Rainbow Tick is a confidence mark that’s awarded once an organisation has demonstrated compliance within certain areas – all of which are aimed at creating an environment that recognises and welcomes sexual and gender diversity in the workplace.

We talk to Fletcher Building’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Jenny Martin, about the process the organisation went through to achieve their Rainbow Tick Certification, the barriers they faced, and what the tick means to Fletcher’s and their employees…

Proudly flying the rainbow flag

Jenny says the Rainbow Tick Certification shows Fletcher Building’s current and future employees, customers, and the wider world that they are a progressive, inclusive and dynamic organisation that reflects the community we are all a part of – an organisation welcoming and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui, and intersex employees.

“It was a monumental day to see the Rainbow flag flying with pride outside Fletcher Building house,” she recalls. “That was when I realised the significance of the piece of work we had completed. I received floods of emails and messages about the significance of that day and how important it was for so many people. In fact I received so much feedback and positivity the flag is still flying!”

It wasn’t just a commitment to the Rainbow community, she says, but a signal about diversity and the drive towards a performance culture where capability reigns on a level playing field.

“Hearing some of the stories and experiences that many talented individuals had gone through just to be themselves was heart-breaking and it was one of my career highlights making positive change towards inclusiveness, she says.

Breaking down the barriers

The team did face some challenges during the certification process, says Jenny.

“The barriers included having to broach some very challenging conversations with people and address some very ‘real’ misconceptions,” she says.

The project team worked hard to ensure a consistent message was shared within Fletcher Building so that employees understood the significance and

implications of the Rainbow Tick certification. This included communicating to employees geographically distributed around New Zealand, and those with little or no access to the internet.

However Jenny says many of the issues, misconceptions and perceptions they faced during the process were societal issues, beyond the scope of the company.

“I feel NZ’s largest Construction and Manufacturing company making this bold move goes a long way to continuing positive change. We are striving towards business where capability and performance reigns over bias’s and inequality,” she says.

Walking the talk

Since receiving the tick, Fletcher’s have walked the talk, sponsoring this year’s Auckland Pride Festival, with employees from companies including Easysteel, GBCWinstone, Humes, Firth and Mico Plumbing and Bathrooms taking part in the Pride Parade on their very own Fletcher Building float.

Fletcher Building CEO, Mark Adamson, says he’s proud of the team who worked so hard on the Rainbow Tick project, which involved a six month audit process. “Employees are really proud of our Rainbow Tick as it’s an external audit that found we are inclusive,’ he says. “We’ve also had feedback that it has sent an impactful message to the wider community that New Zealand is changing and old stereotypes and prejudiced ways are no longer acceptable.”

In addition to Fletcher Building, six other Global Women partner organisations have recently received their Rainbow Tick certification – Westpac, SkyCity, KPMG, ASB, AUT and Russell McVeagh.