Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important concepts to put into practice, especially within the homebuilding and real estate community. This industry is largely comprised of white, male leadership, and it’s time to promote greater workplace diversity and encourage the inclusion of diverse perspectives.
If you weren’t able to attend the Sales & Marketing Power Hour webinar live, this recap is for you! Find all the information you missed, including top highlights from the discussion.
In this dynamic power hour, Carol Morgan of Denim Marketing and Kimberly Mackey with New Home Sales Solutions were joined by Teresa Palacios-Smith, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for HomeServices of America and HSF Affiliates and Kerry White, Sales Manager of Paran Homes. The group discussed personal experiences involving diversity and equality and spoke about solutions to fix the ongoing issue.
Defining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Everyone has heard the words diversity, equity and inclusion, but what do they really mean?
- Diversity – the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective.
- Equity – promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems.
- Inclusion – an outcome to ensure those that are diverse truly feel and are welcomed.
These concepts carry weight behind them, and it’s essential to consider their significance when it comes to the workplace.
It’s no secret that corporate boards are typically filled with middle-aged, white men. But these spaces are slowly being infiltrated by women and minorities who possess the same skills and knowledge, as well as unique perspectives.
A notable example of organizations advocating for this change is 50/50 Women on Boards, a progressive campaign that boldly calls for gender balance and diversity on corporate boards. In California and Washington, this group promoted a ruling to establish a mandatory requirement that the boards of all public companies and government entities must be filled at least 25% by women. This has led to increased diversity and greater inclusion of women and minorities, even above the minimum requirement.
HomeServices of America has implemented programs to increase the inclusion of women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities during the hiring process. To create concrete goals, the organization has also established a set percentage of diverse team members it is expected to achieve by the end of the year. HomeServices also requires unconscious bias training for every employee to understand the prejudices and microaggressions that commonly go unnoticed within the workplace.
By thoroughly inundating the workplace with inclusive values, each employee may eventually experience an unbiased workplace that actively promotes diversity and varying perspectives.
Removing the Boxes
During the application stage, there is a crucial section that could make or break the decision as to whether an individual moves forward in the hiring process. The gender and race boxes are often intimidating to women and minorities as they can be the unspoken determining factor for their potential job offer. This is especially notable in the construction world, which is a majority white, male-led industry. Removing these boxes offers diverse individuals a greater opportunity to receive acknowledgment for the experience they bring to the table rather than their gender or race.
Another common act of unconscious bias during the hiring process occurs when those leading interviews are provided with candidate names. Names often identify an individual’s race or gender, which can lead to assumptions about the person based on their background. Studies found that individuals with distinctively black names received a reduced likelihood of receiving a job offer compared to those with white names.
To truly offer individuals acceptance through inclusive practices, it’s important to remove the boxes and resist the tendency to place each individual in a category based on their identity. Instead, each person should be judged professionally based on their applicable credentials and skills to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace.
There is still hope for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for future generations. Internships and mentorships are wonderful opportunities to impact younger individuals before they make decisions about their future. Many young children, especially girls, are advised to pursue predetermined paths and are often deterred from careers in the construction or real estate industry. It’s important for industry professionals to visit schools and offer children a full perspective of the viable opportunities available to them by showcasing individuals within the workforce that share similar backgrounds.
It’s crucial to set a company-wide precedent for diversity by assessing the business’ website. This is where applicants receive a first look into the company’s values and identity, so it’s essential to share the organization’s commitment to DEI to appeal to diverse individuals. Take a deeper look by creating a focus group to explore the website to ensure it is received well by a wide array of individuals.
Create a company culture dedicated to promoting DEI by hiring individuals that prioritize these values and possess an inclusive mindset. Offering incentives to employees for referrals of potential new hires is also a great way to gather diverse individuals. Companies should also incentivize those who possess the ability to speak multiple languages as this is a highly valuable skill set that is ideal for growing a diverse environment.
Another solution to promote DEI is to examine the company’s retention rate of women and minorities. Although the business may conduct inclusive hiring practices, it’s important to consider how these diverse individuals are treated upon entering the organization and whether they are truly welcomed as equals.
The purpose of DEI is to promote the presence of diverse individuals and ensure every employee feels accepted and welcome within the workplace. We hope this topic was useful for making fair, inclusive hiring decisions or workplace environment checkups!
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