Why you should make diversity and inclusion a priority for your business

Diversity and inclusion in real estate have never been higher on the corporate agenda, but firms in the industry still have a long way to go in these matters before significant progress is made. Research suggests that a diverse and inclusive workforce leads to multiple benefits, such as higher productivity, creativity, and performance, as well as an improved work culture.

Despite there being a correlation between diverse teams and higher profitability, according to Deloitte only 46% of real estate firms report being focused on increasing the level of diversity in hiring, development, and leadership. There are varying reasons why progress is slow, but it may come down to one of the following reasons:

  • A desire for change but the lack of tools and understanding necessary to create that change
  • Less awareness that diversity and inclusion are intrinsically important to high performing teams
  • Attracting a diverse workforce into the real estate industry

Diversity and inclusion within business should be understood as a win-win: it doesn’t just benefit participants of the society in which it sits, but also has a positive impact on business itself.

Advantages of diversity in the workplace

There are many benefits of a more inclusive workplace, but in short diversity increases productivity and profitability – there have been several workplace studies undertaken that support this. According to a report by McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

Other benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved employer brand
  • Enhanced innovation and creativity
  • Attracting and retaining top real estate talent
  • Positive company culture
  • Ability to engage with a diverse client base

Why do diverse teams perform better?

Diverse teams help to build an inclusive work culture, driving employee engagement and productivity. Inclusive teams also mean greater diversity of thought, where different life experiences, backgrounds and perspectives lead to greater creativity and problem solving.

If everyone on a team had the same cognitive thinking, then performance would be hindered.

A diverse team will also be understanding of and responsive to a diverse client base, which is highly beneficial to businesses as it reflects their broad user base.

How to promote diversity in the workplace

Understanding the importance of diversity within the workplace is one step, how to effectively put it into practice to see genuine results is another. Positive transformation requires a mindset change, at all levels of the business but particularly from the top down. It is crucial that both leadership and employees understand the benefits that it brings, rather than considering it simply as boxes to tick.

Objectives such as quotas for the board, interview shortlists and so on are important for accountability, but other measures are required to support those targets, ones that go deeper and actually help change the fabric of the organisation. This includes ensuring those within the organisation understand the importance of workplace diversity.

These might include:

  • Training for unconscious bias – while HR & line managers are obviously a priority, this yields greater results when it is offered company-wide
  • Mentorships, support networks, fast-tracks for those in minority groups
  • Partnerships with diversity and inclusion organisations
  • Proactive steps to work with more diverse clients within real estate
  • Recruitment quotas, especially at board and senior levels

Foundation Recruitment can help you create a diverse and inclusive work environment

At Foundation Recruitment, we know that D&I is more than a vision or mission statement. We understand the importance and the benefits of putting D&I at the forefront of your business and are strongly placed to assist you in achieving successful hiring outcomes.

We have recently been ranked #1 in the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) annual report for talent inclusion and diversity evaluation in the recruitment industry. If you’d like to discuss how to promote diversity in your organisation, we’d love to hear from you.

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