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Community, diversity and inclusion at Foxtons

By Foxtons

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The last three months have shone a light on the differences, and similarities, in the day-to-day lives of Londoners. In the housing market some tenants have found themselves unable to pay their rent, some landlords have stopped charging rent all together, whilst others, as much as they would like to, simply cannot afford to do so without risking repossession of their home. Some buyers have completed on purchases, whilst some transactions in chains were put on ice until viewings and could begin again. Open and honest conversations have allowed tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers to navigate the rocky landscape of this unprecedented situation, and whilst we start to see green shoots in the property market, we must also look towards diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and address these issues with the same open and honest conversations.

At Foxtons we are fortunate to benefit from a highly diverse team of people, a diversity that is formed by different cultural backgrounds, life experiences, and gender, in all its forms. We are London’s estate agent, and our teams reflect our capital city and the areas in which our 53 offices form part of the local community.

Over our 40 years of growth in London and the Home Counties, we have developed as a company, to the extent that we believe customers who walked into our first ever office in Notting Hill would struggle to recognise the Foxtons of today.

However, we know there is always more work to be done to create a truly diverse team across all levels of an organisation. Our dedication to deliver an exceptional service for our customers is reflected in the personal and professional development of our teams. From unconscious bias training and constantly reviewing our recruitment processes, to developing our employee-led diversity and inclusion programmes, we’re working hard to ensure that opportunities for success at Foxtons, and therefore in the wider property industry, are easily accessible to all.

We’re fortunate to be able to engage with some fantastic charities and communities, all of whom make life-changing contributions to Londoners. Our partners include; Making the Leap, who provide invaluable coaching, life skills and career opportunities for young people, Pride in London, and London’s Air Ambulance Charity.

Employee-led diversity and inclusion groups play a key role in steering our participation in a range of activities aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in estate agency and our wider communities.

Our core groups include Afro Foxtons, Foxtons LGBTQ+ Network, and Women at Foxtons, all of which have been responsible for organising, delivering and participating in a number of inclusive events over the years.

Afro Foxtons

Particular highlights from Afro Foxtons over the last year included celebrating Black History Month with a Roots of Leadership event with guest speaker Paul Crooks, a pioneer in African Caribbean genealogy and celebrated author, and participation in The Black Young Professional Network. The BYPN is the largest of its kind within the UK with circa 40,000 members. In September 2019, they held their annual conference in central London attracting over 800 attendees. Around 15 members of Afro Foxtons joined the event and Dominic Scott, Managing Director of Alexander Hall spoke on one of the panels. The event proved to be an exciting opportunity to learn from a host of high-profile speakers from some of the UKs leading organisations.

Afro Foxtons, with the help of Making The Leap, also visited a school in south London and provided career skills coaching to 250+ students. The event was exceptionally well-received by all those involved and we look forward to being more active in the wider community as the lockdown eases.

Photograph: Foxtons. Foxtons team members, organised by Afro Foxtons, at Making The Leap's career skills coaching event.

“Afro Foxtons is an inclusive network which allows employees to share their stories, support each other’s ambitions and promote career development. The network plays a vital role in supporting the group’s aims of increasing the level of black leadership representation.”

Dominic Scott, Managing Director of Alexander Hall, Founder of Afro Foxtons

Women at Foxtons

Women at Foxtons continued their well-established programme of 22 mentor groups, which are hosted by some of the most senior women at Foxtons, with guest hosts from different departments across the business. Women at Foxtons brings together female team members at various levels of their careers to provide personal and professional career development support. The group also hosts a yearly Women at Foxtons panel discussion, which is always well-received by attendees from across the business.

Photograph: Foxtons. Women at Foxtons panel discussion 2018

"I have been a part of Women at Foxtons since its inception and what I love about it is the chance to speak to and learn from different women from all over the company with different understandings, backgrounds, and in different roles. The network has definitely helped me learn new ways to develop my style of management."

Danielle Glance, Lettings Manager

Foxtons LGBTQ+ Network

One particularly well-attended recent event for the Foxtons LGBTQ+ Network was a panel discussion focussing on the role of allies in the LGBTQ+ community. The event explored the roles allies play in supporting LGBTQ+ community members, and we were privileged to hear about the personal and professional experiences of guest panel speakers from Barclays, London’s Air Ambulance and Pride in London. 2019 also saw members and allies of the Foxtons LGBTQ+ community participate in Pride in London once more, which alongside our stall promoting diversity and inclusion in the work place, saw Foxtons walk in the Pride parade, the only estate agent to do so.

Photograph: Foxtons. Members of Foxtons LGBTQ+ Netowork and allies walking in London's Pride parade

“Our LGBTQ+ network is the result of our commitment to make our company more inclusive, informed, educated and colourful! It is extremely important to have this space so that we can understand the challenges we all face and focus on turning these into strengths.”

Tiago Carvalho, Rare Lettings Negotiator and co-chair of Foxtons LGBTQ+ Network

Discussing diversity and inclusion in the workplace: a podcast

Dominic Scott, Managing Director of Alexander Hall, founder of Afro Foxtons, and Patrick Franco, COO of Foxtons and founder of Foxtons LGBTQ+ Network were recently invited to discuss how we promote diversity and inclusion across all elements of the business during a podcast with Deverell-Smith. They reflect on their own personal and professional experiences, and how this has led them to drive diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Dominic and Patrick discuss, among a variety of topics, the 50:50 split in gender in all recruitment sessions at Foxtons, unconscious bias training, and how there will always be more work to be done to ensure we are all able to feel the benefits of a truly diverse workplace. You can listen to the full podcast below:

Whilst we may not have the Pride parade to walk in this year, we’re proud of the community we’ve fostered at Foxtons, and we look forward to continuing to celebrating and promoting diversity and inclusion through all our employee groups and across the company as a whole, throughout 2020.

To find out more about Foxtons' charity partners, click here.

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