While businesses continue to talk about the need for greater diversity, equity and inclusion within their companies, diversity advisor Gina Etienne offers another important component to engaging in the DEI conversation – one that many may overlook. .
“The goal of inclusion is concerning,” Etienne said. “It is creating a workforce where everyone feels like they are part of the team. The data shows that performance has improved, turnover is reduced, absenteeism is reduced, all these things increase retention. Retention drives, ultimately, leadership development. “
Across the spectrum of financial services businesses, employees consistently state that they value diverse work environments and leadership. But even companies of all sizes, including those within the mortgage sector, have emphasized diversity and inclusion, the results of a recent study conducted by National Mortgage News parent company Argent show that reality. There is a lot of work to be done before aligning with. Good intentions
“Wanting more than in the past, and I think this is real, some large corporations are trying to improve the experience of diverse employees and diversify the workforce,” said Jerome Nichols, president of commercial real estate. Financier and portfolio management company Standard Real Estate Investments.
But progress in meeting those expectations on an industry-wide level continues at a snail’s pace. Diversity efforts may have gained additional urgency in the wake of the 2020 social justice movements, but similar discussions have been going on for years with little to show for the effort.
“I think employees these days – they want things to be done, not planned. Despite genuine interest and genuine want, these large corporations are sometimes finding it difficult to do anything. Affecting the plan Tough,” Nichols said.
In Argent’s survey, more than half of respondents across gender and racial demographics said it was important for their company to evaluate and address inclusion in their workforce, with 64% indicating that they would work for a company with a lack of diversity. less interested in doing it. In addition, a sense of not belonging prompted 20% of black, Indigenous and color and Latino men and nearly half – 47% – of BIPOC/Latina women, to leave their former jobs due to a lack of diversity in the workplace.
The data supports similar research in recent years, including a 2017 report from Deloitte, which found that 75% of senior executives said they would consider leaving their jobs for more diverse and inclusive organizations.
At the other end of the spectrum, though, white male employees in the Argent survey were least likely to call workplace diversity important, but they were more likely to think their companies were successful in their efforts.
The demographics of corporate suites also point to a large degree of uniformity. paper one from 2020 Stanford’s Corporate Governance Research Initiative showed that C-suite positions in Fortune 100 companies comprised only 16% of people of color and 25% of women. But even in those leadership roles, there were a small number of women and people of color – 13% each – overseeing profit and loss in high-level positions that typically serve as a path toward becoming CEO or director. Huh. And 26 companies did not have racially diverse executives in the C-suite.
With corporate leadership often evolving internally, staff retention is critical in building a diverse executive team. Companies should plan to advance early recruitment and inclusion efforts by creating a culture where employees feel they belong, said Etienne, founder and principal advisor at Etienne Consulting, based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Etienne was previously the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the accounting firm Grant Thornton. With a more content staff, the end result is a freer environment that facilitates original ideas.
“I don’t think people realize how much brainwashing they do and what they must do every day to live in a certain company culture and not have the freedom that comes with it,” Nichols said. . “You don’t have to conform your time. You can spend your time being productive, being creative.”
According to Sarah Rodriguez, president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a diverse workplace culture goes beyond demographics to include an openness to think in a variety of ways. In addition to serving as NAHREP President, Rodriguez is also the owner and CEO of Titan Titles, providing settlement and other services with offices in Fairfax, Virginia and Rockville, Maryland.
“I try to look for the less followed path,” Rodriguez said. “I try to find people who are looking for an opportunity to grow, even if they come from different backgrounds, or they seek a little more mentorship. That’s the only way we can really grow the workplace. will be able to.”
For real estate and mortgage holders, diversity also makes good business sense.
“There is a whole market, primarily and especially people of color, who haven’t had opportunities to invest in real estate in homes, and if you think about what we can do to increase the wealth and income of those communities. Looking at it, there is a huge opportunity for the financial services industry to ultimately adapt their thinking, their approach, their methodology, programs and resources that they offer to attract this market,” Etienne said.
The net increase in the number of homeowners over the next 20 years will be driven almost exclusively among people of color, especially Hispanics, according to urban institute. The number of Hispanic homeowners is expected to increase to 4.8 million, black homeowners will increase by 1.2 million and other racial minorities, primarily Asian homeowners, will increase their share by 2.7 million. But the total number of white homeowners will come down by 18 lakhs.
The number of new renters is also expected to increase to 9.3 million homes, mainly among minorities.
Companies with a diverse workforce have a leg up when it comes to accessing this market. Consumers not only want to work with people who look like themselves, but also with people who understand their background.
“Those are diverse perspectives that are going to help you get people talking – consumers that are coming in the pipeline,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s a good business decision for them to actively start a more diverse workplace. In return, they can sit down and mentor some of those rising stars into those positions, so that it doesn’t matter. Have just one diverse person, but a whole bunch of diversity within the thought leadership part of the organization, and that’s going to change the culture.”
In 2019 Report, Global Management Consultant McKinsey & Company. It also found that corporations with more female representation among their leadership ranked financially better-performing companies with some female leaders by 25%, with similar positive results in organizations with more racially diverse rosters of executives.
Diversified leadership has also opened up markets in commercial investment. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Standard Real Estate Investments was founded last year by Nichols, who is Black, and its Chinese-American CEO Robert Xu, and taps into his experience as former directors at both CBRE Global Investors and Individual Networks. are able to. To find opportunities with minority developers that mainstream firms may miss.
“That’s our focus, and we think that not only is there opportunity out there, but these people often have different access points, different …