Diversity and Inclusion in Action

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Angel Rogers

 

By: Angel Rogers, ARM, CCRM

I am a product of the 1960’s. I grew up in a middle-class bedroom community about 60 miles from Los Angeles.  We had a swimming pool and each of my siblings and I had our own bedrooms.  We went on family vacations in our station wagon every summer and when we returned, we attended summer day camp.  When we got older, we went to “sleep away” camp. We drank water from the hose, and we played outside until the streetlights came on. We had new wardrobes for back to school and Christmas was magical. Both of my parents were present my entire life, they were both college educated and they were educators as well. 

We were not wealthy. We did not live in a “certain” zip code. My parents worked ridiculously hard as schoolteachers, and when they both went back to college to pursue master’s degrees, they did so at night, taking turns on who would go when.  Getting those extra degrees (my father later earned his EdD), placed them on a higher pay scale.  They sacrificed to provide for us.

This is my lens that I view the world through.

Is it different than yours? Probably.  But what I have found is that most of us have more in common than we do different.  You would not know that in 2020 and it seems like every difference we have has been amplified and exploited.  We are no longer celebrating each other; we are fighting each other.  Publicly. With intolerance towards each other’s views and beliefs.  It seems like ourlens is the onlyacceptable lens. 

That needs to change. 

Diversity and Inclusion is a huge topic, and it goes so much deeper then race relations. We need to acquire a greater awareness and sensitivity to all the issues that go beyond assumed categories. Diversity is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values, and beliefs to the groups and organizations in which they interact. 

Let us look at the rental housing industry as an example. When I became a “rental hostess” at the age of 21, every on-site manager position was held by either an elderly or middle-aged woman. Our office staff was all female, but the Regional Managers, VP’s, and Senior Directors were men. And, they usually had never worked on site.    And they were usually white. 

Fast forward to 2020 and thankfully, this in no longer the case.  There are increasingly more men in on-site manager positions, more women in the senior level executive suite, and more minorities in our industry. I know a woman who became the Director of Maintenance at a major management company this year.   This is a perfect example of diversity and inclusion in our industry.   There are widespread initiatives to attract candidates of all colors, ages, orientations, and disabilities. Casting a wider net for recruitment willcreate a culture where people of all backgrounds can feel comfortable and included.  Inclusivity is the key to maintaining (not just creating) diversity in the workplace. 

There are numerous benefits to embracing workplace diversity and inclusion.  For starters, there will be improved understanding of those you work for, with, and around.  Your workplace will create an environment that allows everyone on the team to reach their full potential – because they are focused on the workthey are doing, not that they feel different.  Having a diverse workforce will provide multiple perspectives to problem solving – guess how?  By seeing issues and solutions through a different lens! This will ultimately increase performance outcomes as well as employee productivity. 

Employee retention is increased when the employee feels valued for their individual gifts and talents; which boosts morale; creating improved customer relations; which reduces complaints.  See the connection? Diversity and inclusion makes good business sense, and it is the right thing to do.

It is vital to your success, to the success of your company, and the success of your teams to embrace diversity and inclusion.  It starts with respect, a willingness to share, risk change, and being open to other’s differences.  We need to recognize the learning opportunities and adopt an attitude of “different is okay, or interesting”. 

 Or we can just try to look at the world through someone else’s lens….

 

Join me at the conference for some tips on how to promote diversity and inclusion, diversity best practices, and how you can promote diversity with your team. 

 

 

 

 

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