Impact Report - Diversity, equity and inclusion - Internal impact: employee resource groups
Narinder Kudhail photographed by Ayesha Kazim of Women Photograph
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Internal impact: group mentality
Avison Young’s 2022 employee engagement survey revealed that at least a quarter of their employees participate in one or more of their employee resource groups, ERGs for short. These groups are voluntary, and organized by employees based on common characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, or interest. They exist to provide support and help in personal and career development and to create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table. Allies are always welcome and encouraged to join these groups to show their support.
While all groups saw significant growth during the year, the massive 84% uplift in overall membership was fueled by the launch of a new group: Conexión: people creating impact for our Hispanic and Latino community.
With the addition of Conexión, the firm now has the following ERGs: the Women’s Network, the Black Professional Resource Group, and Folx who exist to create an impact for our LGBT%20 community. Avison Young actively encourages employees to join existing networks and offers support to those wanting to create new ERGs, with processes in place to support requests and make sure employee voices are heard.
“Our ERGs give a voice and sense of community to employees who may otherwise feel isolated or underrepresented. This creates a more diverse and inclusive workplace, allowing us to address cultural challenges, as well as learn and grow,” says Narinder Kudhail, Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner at Avison Young.
“These groups support our strategy, helping us be truly ‘Powered by People’ and constantly creating impact through the work we do internally, with our clients and in our communities,” she adds.
ERGs are well known for creating a soft landing for new employees and supporting the ambitions of underrepresented demographics. It’s no different at Avison Young.
“Our ERGs are also a great place to identify and develop leaders in the making. In 2022, we ran several dedicated training and development initiatives targeted at our group leaders and members,” says Narinder.
“We held a two-day leadership workshop attended by over 200 ERG members and future leaders, as well as a six-month accelerated women’s leadership coaching module for existing ERG leaders,” she adds.
Through these groups, Avison Young is championing change and diversity not just internally, but within the real estate industry. In the U.K. they have partnered with BPIC (Black Professionals in Construction and Built Environment) and are founding members of Changing the Face of Property, Firm Foundations and participate in events with the Lord Mayor’s Fund.
“Social mobility is a big topic on the agenda, and we are making sure we are partnering with organizations not only to get results but really make an impact,” says Narinder.
In the U.S. the firm has partnered with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and Real Estate Executive Council (REEC) to uplift all underrepresented groups and better our working practices and environments.
“Through these strategic partnerships and the tireless work of our ERG leaders and members, we have widened access to the industry through school programmes and events and increased the number of interns taken on in our U.K. and U.S. business in 2022,” Narinder explains.
“These groups not only provide insight and feedback on DEI issues that inform our policies and practices, but act as ambassadors for us – promoting our values and initiatives inside the firm and out,” she ends.