How To Improve Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity at Your Workplace
At The Square and Hines, we are committed to Diversity, Equality (DEI), and Inclusivity for all. We are constantly striving to improve our policies and ensure that we are an inviting workplace for everyone to thrive. So, we had a chat with Monica Rivers, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Lead at Hines, to explain how to incorporate DEI into our practices and how other companies can too.
What do inclusivity, equality, and diversity mean to Hines?
Hines is driven by a commitment to excellence, integrity, and innovation. Employees are essential to our success, and we are dedicated to attracting, developing, and promoting a talented, diverse, and multicultural workforce. We strive to provide an inclusive environment where differences are valued, embraced, celebrated, and where everyone can reach their full potential. Diverse perspectives advance new ideas and foster our entrepreneurial culture, creating successful outcomes for our firm as well as our partners, clients, investors, and employees.
Why is it important to have inclusivity, equality, and diversity in the workplace?
As data has shown, a diverse workplace leads to an increase in ideas, and perspectives, and encourages innovation. Part of our DEI framework includes the support of our Employee Resource Groups which are voluntary, employee-led networks with commonalities who come together to produce a particular outcome. The ERGs offer a sense of community and belonging to all employees to be heard, seen, and valued. ERGs are designed to align the overall company mission, objectives, and values to advance the organization in a positive and forward-thinking direction.
What can companies do to implement inclusive practices?
Our approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hines considers the whole talent ecosystem: Access, Hiring, Belonging, and Elevation. At Hines, we believe DEI progression starts with 1. Access – By ensuring equitable practices to expand awareness and access to CRE careers 2. Hiring - Practices to increase underrepresented outreach and participation in candidate slates and diverse interview panels 3. Belonging - Discussion panels, leader engagement, and the implementation of employee resource groups for employee inclusion 4. Elevation - Bringing intentional visibility to women and underrepresented groups to enhance career progression opportunities, particularly in senior leadership positions.
What is the most challenging aspect of creating inclusive practices?
To create inclusive practices, it is essential to have support from senior leadership, as well as transparency in the mission and objectives of those practices. It’s also important to provide guidance on how all employees can help create an inclusive work environment for everyone at Hines.
Could you give some examples of how Hines has incorporated these practices?
In 2023, Hines has encouraged these practices by engaging diverse and underrepresented talent early in their academic careers to introduce them to the firm and the broader Commercial Real Estate industry. Ideally, this will help them develop a sense of awareness and belonging through programs like Skyline Scholars and 10,000 Black Interns in the UK. We are also focused on connecting our colleagues and growing our sense of community through our Employee Resource Groups, which offer a safe space for employees to share their thoughts and have a platform for diverse employee groups across the globe. Sponsorship from senior leadership helps to reemphasize the broad support and business imperative of our ERGs. We also relaunched our mentoring program to ensure equitable access to mentorship for all Hines employees.
What does Hines have planned to celebrate Pride month?
This Pride Month, Hines is celebrating under the theme “Strength in Solidarity” to offer support and bring awareness to our LGBTQ+ employees. Our PRIDE Employee Resource Group is hosting programming to share insights on how to best be an ally, the dynamics of diversity, equity, and inclusion when supporting LGBTQ+ individuals (or community), and exploring resources and benefits to enhance their overall wellbeing.
Juneteenth was also celebrated this month, what did Hines do to commemorate it?
Employees across the firm celebrated with programming, led by our Black Employee Advancement Network (BEAN) Employee Resource Group, which included education about the historical significance of Juneteenth, food, and performances to honor the day and African American culture, and provided an inclusive space for all employees to fellowship.