Equiem has made improvements in diversity and representation throughout our entire business. Our efforts have recently been recognised with a nomination for a Diversity Advocate award as part of the UK Proptech Awards 2020, as well as through customer and tenant feedback.
We're proud of the changes we've made and will continue to strive for greater inclusion wherever possible. Here's a look at what we've done and why it is so important for tenant engagement, representation, and retention.
After recognising a lack of representation in our internal and external communications, Equiem formed a Diversity and Inclusion task force that set out to make swift amendments to our company messaging. We wanted to ensure our communications were reflective of our belief that diverse representation matters.
We started with our imagery. After scanning our communications through a hyper-aware lens, we could spot a trend of young, primarily caucasian, athletic individuals dominating the photographs we'd chosen to represent Equiem. There was little diversity in race, body type, age, religion, or ability. We identified correcting this visual bias as one of the first actions we could achieve that would have a major impact with relatively small resource cost. And so, to address this issue, our task force updated our internal image library, and re-stocked or replaced many of the photos, with imagery of individuals that filled gaps in our representation, showcased different family and relationship structures, and challenged various gender stereotypes. We then made these images accessible across the entire company. Since then, our global teams have been using the library to systematically replace existing imagery across all of our internal and external materials.
Next, we turned to our engagement calendar and recognised a lack of diversity in the holidays and important dates we celebrated through our content and activations. We've since included a rangoli workshop for Diwali, a collection of Jewish recipes for Hannukah, and content detailing December celebrations of culture groups and religions that don't observe Christmas. This is an ongoing area of development as we create activations for a more diverse range of celebrations across the entire calendar year.
Our final diversity project was creating a joint Diverse Business and Charity Register. The first half of this resource is a library full of small local businesses and social enterprises that our engagement team can pull from to source prizes for competitions and giveaways. Rather than purchasing prizes from large companies, we're making a more conscious effort to use this diverse business register to support family-owned businesses, social enterprises, and exceptionally ethical organisations. The second half of this register follows the same design but with smaller charities — giving our Engagement Team an easy shortcut to source lesser-known charities to support through our various community fundraising initiatives.
Why is diversity and inclusivity important?
Firstly, we understand the large impact small but significant actions can make when it comes to diversity and inclusion. As a business, we wish to be on the right side of the fight for equality and acknowledge that inclusion matters in our everyday communications — to put it colloquially, we're doing our best to walk the walk.
Secondly, we're in the business of community creation, and the biggest tool we have to create that sense of community in each of our buildings is active inclusion. The more tenants can relate and see themselves in our advertising and activations, the more welcome they will feel and the more engagement there will be. Our communities are made up of unique individuals of varying backgrounds — our communications should be made with the same diverse building blocks.
With the new diverse imagery and activations rolling out across our communities, we've already received enthusiastic feedback from tenants. Simply being able to see themselves in our newsletters, events, and photos has prompted emails of appreciation for our commitment to inclusivity.
Here's some tenant feedback we've received:
"I really appreciate that you use images of gay couples. That sort of everyday representation is really powerful and means a lot to me as a gay man. So thanks very much!"
"Thank you for highlighting this. As a transgendered person this is very welcomed."
"Just wanted to say I appreciate the use of less stereotypical imaging that I noticed in today's newsletter. Visuals are so important to subconscious perception and inclusiveness and it is great that you have recognised that and are consciously doing something about it."
"It's good to see you spotlighting Black-owned businesses."
"This seems like a really good enterprise — supporting African artisans and finding new craft activities to do with my daughter."
If you'd like to discuss a more diverse approach to your community's engagement plan, get in touch with your Client Services Manager.