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Foxtons shortlisted for UK Business Culture Awards 2020 for focus on diversity and inclusion

By Foxtons

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We are delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories at the Business Culture Awards 2020; for our Diversity and Inclusion programmes and as Best Medium-sized Organisation.

At Foxtons we understand that creating the most inclusive and diverse environment possible benefits not only each and every one of our team members, but also the communities in which we work in London and the Home Counties.

The estate agency industry has suffered from a lack of diversity for many years. We firmly believe that in order for estate agency, and any organisation for that matter, to be truly relevant and capable in today’s world, diversity is key. We also know that creating a fully inclusive environment is not an end goal, but rather a continuous journey which requires commitment and focus from our entire company.

Photograph: Foxtons - a recent group of new starters beginning their careers

Nomination for these awards recognises the hard work and progress of all our team members who have driven and supported change in our organisation. In order to ensure crucial behaviours and practices are embedded throughout our organisation we embarked on a three year project in 2017 to understand and begin to reshape areas where change was needed. To do this we focussed on three key tactics:

Actively listening

We drew on the expertise of third party consultants to hold focus groups with underrepresented team members to help identify areas of development for the organisation. We ran events with our female employees to understand what we could improve. Senior management also reached out to members of our black and LGBTQ+ communities to understand how our values aligned and to provide a platform for discussion and feedback.

We invited representatives of those communities to join our Workforce Council to ensure that all voices are heard. We also gather insight and feedback from both personal anecotes and experiences, along with the results of employee engagement surveys, to inform our strategic plans and create longer-term, lasting change.

Celebrating our differences

Through the expansion and promotion of our network of Diversity and Inclusion groups, we provide the opportunity for our teams to voice their opinions and get involved in wider activities within the London community. We now have three employee-run groups; Women at Foxtons, Foxtons LGBTQ+, and Afro Foxtons, all of which focus on driving change to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. In recent years our groups have played an active part in Pride in London, hosted numerous panel discussions as well as supported several careers and life skills sessions run by London schools and charities.

Educating our leaders

In order to ensure that behaviours flow down from senior management and are embedded in activity at all levels of our organisation, a thorough program of education was embarked on by all our leaders. Whilst unconscious bias training is becoming commonplace in organisations, research has show it has limited returns when it is used in isolation. Therefore, we redesigned our processes with support from Occupational Psychologists to mitigate the potential for bias in hiring, developing and promoting people.

We are pleased to have seen some fantastic feedback from our team members following these changes - our most recent employee engagement survey showed 93% of our team members believe that we support a diverse and inclusive workplace, and 34% of our workforce participate in one or more of our Diversity and Inclusion networks.

Whilst this is a great start, we know there is still a lot of work to be done on this journey, and we look forward to further equipping, encouraging and supporting all our team members to help foster the diverse and inclusive workplace we all strongly believe in.

We look forward to the upcoming UK Business Culture Awards being announced shortly, and congratulations to all other organisations who have been shortlisted in recognition of their efforts and impacts.

By Sarah Mason, Chief People Officer

To find out more about our diversity and inclusion activities, as well as career opportunities at Foxtons, follow us on LinkedIn.

To contact us directly, please click here.

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