After Onboarding: Long-Term Strategies for Diversity in FM
Don't lose momentum in focusing on diversity even after hiring. It's just as critical to make sure these new employees have a voice.
Once the candidate becomes an employee, diversity and inclusion efforts should not get switched into an autopilot mode where the assumption is that all is well. For Baez, it's about making sure employees have a voice. Google's real estate and workplace services facilitates peer engagement, roundtables, and listening sessions to ensure all voices are heard, she says. Usually a DEI champion is present in those conversations to ensure fully transparent communication. DEI champions foster discussions on talent, growth, career pathing, and on.
But at Google, diversity, equity, and inclusion is a lens through which they look at everything the facilities team does. It's not isolated as an HR function. From hiring vendors, to workplace experience, Baez says they consider "did we think of it from an equitable, diverse, and inclusive perspective."
The key to inclusion starts from the core of the initiative. If inclusion and equity are not at the heart of the culture, people will leave. "If you're looking to do this just to check a box, you're doing it for the wrong reason," says Jerry DiCola, senior director, real estate and facilities operations at Horizon Therapeutics. "You have to hire to the culture of the organization."
At Horizon Therapeutics, the first time they tried to consciously embody the idea of inclusion, they got it wrong, says DiCola. "We hired a young man who had a disability, and we failed him because we didn't have the tools," he says. "We had the passion, the desire, the notion, the heart, but we didn't have the tools." DiCola says the missing tools were the right management structure and procedures, and time commitment to counsel and grow the employee. "Unfortunately, we failed him and he left the company."
After taking two years to regroup, DiCola made sure to have all the necessary tools lined up. They decided on procedures and selected the right local manager with the right passion. "It's not enough for me as a senior director to have that passion," DiCola says. "Every single person down my chain has to have that same ability to look at how does this person fit into the organization, how can we make sure this person has success?"
In order to better understand what resources were necessary, DiCola worked closely with the job counselors at several agencies for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to fill in their gaps in knowledge both for what they would need to provide as employers and what types of jobs or candidates might fit into the organization. After the groundwork was laid, Tyler Moore was hired on part-time through the Best Buddies program, and within a year transitioned to full-time as a floor manager. Having worked elsewhere as a video production assistant and as a graphic designer, Moore says the difference he's felt at Horizon Therapeutics has been about the culture. "For me, inclusive is all about being warm and welcoming to everyone on the team, and being nice and respectful of everyone's boundaries," Moore says. "Everyone here, they've all included me from day one."
How can the field of facilities management become more perfectly diverse, equitable, and inclusive? The answer to that is beyond the scope of one article, one visioning session, one initiative. But seeking the answer is worth the struggle. It is worth engaging with the discomfort of introspection and uncertainty of moving forward without having it all perfectly figured out today.