Diversify your business
In today’s changing marketplace, diversity and inclusion have never been more important. While diversity previously referred to race, gender, and sexual orientation, it now includes organizational, economic, social, and educational differences. Amid changing technology, sociopolitical environments, and shifting demographics, having diversities in your workplace is essential to understanding the needs of a broader customer base, creating a broader range of skill sets to take advantage of, and better integrating into the community. The benefits of diversity and inclusion are immeasurable. Companies will experience increased adaptability in the marketplace, a broader service range, more effective planning and execution, and ability to generate a variety of viewpoints. Beginning the process for implementation of a diversification strategy can be a difficult endeavor that takes time and adjustment. Mention to your employees your ideas for the new changes. Talk with them about the reasoning and the expected goals. This introduction will help them to feel included and considered. Make a mental note of how each employee reacts to the idea. Note any concerns they express and questions they have, so that these issues can be addressed at a later date. Ruben Peña, Owner, TC Austin Residential and FORCE Advisory Chairman, says not only is diversity of the utmost importance in his office, but also inclusion. “They really go together. Just having a diverse staff doesn’t help if you aren’t including them in leadership and management roles.” With America becoming a more diverse nation, businesses should change their approach to the public, with consideration for different cultures, lifestyles, and means of living. As consumers, we are always more comfortable buying a product from someone who understands our cultural needs.
Creating a Diversity and Inclusion Plan for Your Office
There are many different ways to implement a diversity and inclusion plan in your agency, but Peña has devised a step-by-step process to make creation and implementation a much easier process.
• Decide your core goals.
Is your goal to help your community? Is it to increase the cash flow of your agency? Or is it simply to better serve your clients? Whatever the reason for the change, state it clearly and simply.
• Research your area.
Research the area you decided on. If you are expanding to a new area, find out what kind of schools are in the area, as well as what shopping, restaurants, and activities. Also look into the general demographics of the region, including racial breakdowns, income levels, and family household size. These are all factors that will affect potential home-buyers.
• Define your boundaries.
Will the boundaries be your town? Your county? Of course, these are “soft boundaries” and should never be held concrete, but this will give you an idea of what communities and cultures you are working with.
• Plan how to service the area.
Decide the best way to service your area. Try to match a staff to the needs of your community. If most of your clients are childless, they will not understand why their agent can’t show a home at 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday due to picking up children. People enjoy being in their comfort zone, so try to staff your office with a diverse crowd.
• Work on your team.
Train your team to be open and willing to step out of their comfort zone. Include all employees in the office decision making. This can open doors to new clients and cultures that only one person wouldn’t have thought of.
Diversity and inclusion are both very important in order to stay afloat in today’s changing market. Training and understanding are extremely necessary in order to successfully transition from a non-diverse office to an office with a diverse staff, but the benefits could be incredible, making once unreachable markets and goals at your fingertips.