Diversity has been a catchword in architecture for many years. But progress has been slow: Even today, only 2% of US. licensed architects are black, and less than 20% identify as people of color. We now understand diversity to be a component in a network of values that can help broaden our field to match our society as a whole.
We believe that our workplace must be a professional and collegial environment of mutual respect and equitable treatment, free of discriminatory, intimidating, abusive, or harassing behavior. This applies to every member of our diverse group. We seek to actively create a professional culture that welcomes all people into a rewarding, generous, and ethical profession.
We recognize that people of all backgrounds and life situations experience different constraints on when and how they work. At KHA we maintain a flexible policy that is responsive to these circumstances. We have made use of work-from-home policies, telecommuting, and flextime for many years before the Covid-19 crisis. We make every effort to respond sensitively to the individual needs of our team through life’s milestones. Many off our staff are early in their professional career. We take mentoring seriously, and work closely with our staff to ensure they are achieve their professional goals.
As our world becomes ever more globally connected, organizations of all types are exposed to a more diverse audience, with a wide variety of needs and expectations. As architects, we must understand this variety. A team with diverse backgrounds brings more individual expertise and life experience to the table. We can imagine a greater range of solutions to problems — both in our design projects and in how to attract and retain talent. Inclusivity and diversity also lead to a more positive working culture. Inspired staff are more likely to perform at their best, so that new ideas are accomplished effectively.
We recognize that good ideas come from everywhere. It is our responsibility and advantage to maintain an environment where staff at all levels feel ownership over the projects they are working on, and that all have a hand in our mutual success.