Modern facility managers bear a ton of responsibility. On top of protecting building occupants from threats like COVID-19, gun violence, and climate change, they’re also tasked with creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.
Workplace diversity delivers many business advantages, including increased creativity, enhanced employee engagement, and higher financial returns. Unfortunately, the facility management function has largely failed to realize these benefits.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 105,000 workers identified as facility managers in 2018. Of those 105,000, only 21% were female, and just 24.3% were non-white.
The good news? About 50% of the existing FM workforce is expected to retire in the next 5 to 15 years, leaving a huge vacancy to be filled by women, people of color, and other minority populations.
What can FM leaders do to seize this opportunity and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)? We recommend several strategies below.
Expand your recruiting efforts.
If you want to interview a diverse pool of applicants, then you must expand your search to include diverse communities. Setting targets for the level of diversity represented in the candidate mix is the best way to ensure that your DE&I goals are met. To meet those targets, it’s important to connect with groups representing diverse interests, such as Women in Facility Management and Careers Building Communities.
Adjust your hiring practices.
You should also be aware of unconscious biases that could be affecting your hiring process. Eliminating photos from resumes is a simple way to guarantee that applicants are treated equally. It’s also crucial to have a pre-determined set of questions that you ask of all candidates, in the same order. This reduces the chances of prejudice creeping into your hiring decisions.
Engage your employees.
When it comes to advancing DE&I, recruiting and hiring is just the first piece of the puzzle. There is still great progress to be made in terms of employee equity and inclusion. Again, you should be aware of the unconscious bias your staff may be facing and provide a safe space for voicing any questions or concerns.