Diversity and inclusion is more than just a daylong workplace training session or “quota” represented in the age, race and gender of your employees. It’s a concept that has empowered businesses and brands to broaden their services, appeal to a larger audience or clientele, and attract and retain diverse talent in the hiring process.
Diversity, by definition, means “the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.” This also applies to a range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.
The variations in perspectives and experiences have made businesses stronger in work performance, collaboration and innovation. In fact, companies that consistently commit to diverse employee representation are more likely to broaden their customer orientation and increase overall employee satisfaction.
While the real estate industry is ahead on diversity and inclusion, there’s still room for improvement in creating a more successful and inclusive working environment, and that’s by attracting and retaining diverse talent.
We reached out to Teresa Smith, vice president of diversity and inclusion and multicultural strategies at HSF Affiliates, for insight on how you can ensure that your real estate agency is prioritizing diverse talent.
Create an Inclusive Agency Culture
Attracting and retaining diverse talent within your workforce is dependent on your agency’s culture; in other words, the working environment, agency mission, value, ethics, expectations and goals of your business or brand.
Smith asserts that culture is key to retention; meaning, when the needs and values of the employees align with the agency culture, they’re more likely to develop better relationships with coworkers, drive productivity within their role, and ultimately, stay employed at the agency for a longer period of time.
Create a collaborative workplace environment where employees feel connected to the agency’s goals and bottom line by empowering agents to use their unique perspectives and experiences to reach their potential.
Go further by creating a unique workplace where agents will want to be present by hosting agency functions that will allow opportunities for fun and employee bonding. Celebrate team member diversity by celebrating all cultural holidays around the office.
Additionally, Smith suggested creating and nurturing a network of real estate agents outside of your market by attending conferences or hosting event and activities within your own agencies that allow the opportunity to:
- Learn from other agent’s techniques
- Share best practices
- Incorporate new ideas into their routines
“Real estate agents want to be around other successful agents and be part of a community that fosters innovation, mentorship, education and has strong marketplace visibility,” said Smith.
Grow Your Brand on Social Media
Social media gives your business or brand a larger platform for external marketing and recruiting, as well as internally promoting diversity initiatives and nonprofit organizations to your current employees. In other words, you’re reaching a wider audience from different demographics and backgrounds to witness and engage in your postings on social media.
“Social media outlets like Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and others are important platforms to disseminate your message and grow your brand,” said Smith.
In order to attract diverse talent to your agency, Smith suggests using your social media platforms to speak to the collaborative and inclusive culture of your brokerage through campaigns and paid ads.
Choose language and imagery that best reflects the diversity of your agency, featuring your current employees. You can even empower your employees to share stories about the agency’s culture and support of diversity and inclusion. Include pictures or posts about agency volunteer efforts that reflect the core values of the agency.
Social media is also a platform for featuring job postings. The Facebook “Jobs” feature is a useful tool to target and reach qualified candidates.
Ultimately, Smith urges that, “[Your] website reflects your values and mission and that it is user-friendly to both agents and consumers.”
Creating a truly inclusive and diverse workforce means incorporating search options on your website for multiple languages, as well as including imagery that reflects the culture and diversity of your agency.
Align with Diverse and Multicultural Organizations
Thinking back to the importance of aligning employee values and ethics with the culture of your agency, engaging with local organizations and nonprofits that promote diversity and multiculturalism within your community will not only nourish the community around you, it will also allow opportunity for potential employees to engage with you and your brand.
Supporting local nonprofits and organizations through donations, volunteerism or by simply promoting their events creates a concept of giving back within your culture agency and might even boost employee morale.
“Commitment to diversity and inclusiveness also involved getting connected to multicultural organizations where you can create strong alliances, become culturally aware, gain knowledge about the communities and meet top talent,” said Smith.
Smith asserted that by aligning your agency and brand with diverse organizations, you set yourself apart as a leader within your community, as well as the opportunity to create relationships with agents that can reach a new market of people.
In order to engage with your community and diverse organizations, Smith suggested to:
- Promote local events within the community on your social media or website
- Participate in any grand opening or other local business events
- Refer clients to businesses in the area
Smith suggested that the best way to get your agency or brand excited and in line with diversity and inclusion within the workplace is by encouraging your current diverse agents to get involved in agency initiatives as leaders.
“Engaging your own diverse agents is another way you can attract talent by encouraging them to recruit their family and friends to the real estate industry, creating great environment and enhancing opportunities to grow teams within your organization,” explained Smith.
If your real estate agency is looking to improve its current diversity and inclusive initiatives through talent and retention, follow these three tips and get started today. If your agency is on the forefront of diversity, share your thoughts and tips below!
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