Bring Your True Self to Work
Everyone knows how important diversity is to the workplace and the marketplace. At Apartment List, we know that if you’re not actually doing something to foster diversity and inclusion, then it’s just something that’s being said.
Across our teams, we continually focus on the real needs and wants of our employees…our A-Listers. More than 90% of our surveyed employees (from management to individual contributors) said that a diverse workforce is important to them in some way when they chose to join Apartment List, and over 55% said it was very important or crucial. Typically, this is because a diverse workforce can shine a light on unique and meaningful perspectives, and therefore, enhance productivity.
But it’s more than just that to us. We strive for diversity within our workforce to build a sense of trust and belonging, as well as products and services that are inclusive to all of our consumers.
This Is How We Do It
Our actions have truly been impactful. How do we know? Through the positive feedback we’ve received directly from our employees. Recent survey results show Apartment List efforts within the company have:
- Fostered safe spaces and a sense of community
- Increased cultural and historical awareness
- Allowed candidates to share more about themselves
- Increased coworker compassion
Therefore, we can say with absolute certainty that the following are the key reasons our employees have experienced this positive impact:
In 2021 we launched five ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) to support the employees who identified as such within our organization:
- Asian Pacific Islander (API)
Since then, each group has established individual pillars of focus and provided a sense of community for its members. This is all while engaging and educating allies during affinity months with programming that promotes allyship and acknowledges intersectionality. Each group has a budget and is supported by executive and leadership sponsors. The results of our first year have led to a more inclusive Apartment List and we look forward to adding more groups in the near future.
The DEI Council operates as a cross-functional group of A-Listers striving to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for every Apartment List team member and both sides of our marketplace. The group meets monthly to strategize and measure progress on our goals to increase the representation of underrepresented people throughout our business, as well as a sense of security, acceptance, inclusion, and identity of every A-Lister.
Something that sets us apart from other organizations is that we’ve always put a critical focus on fostering a feedback culture, not only for our product offerings, but for our internal workings as well. Given that Apartment List became Virtual First during the early stages of the pandemic, we were already on our way towards providing a variety of avenues to share information between departments. We continue to do the same for individual employees, emphazising their interactions with each other, state of being, and what they need to maintain work/life balance.
We check in quarterly with A-Listers to get a pulse on the sense of belonging and sentiment around DEI initiatives, and how Apartment List can do better. We also encourage the free use of our virtual DEI Suggestion Box where employees can share ideas anonymously, or provide their names for follow-up, if they choose to do so.
- Create more employee resource groups
- Celebrate holidays and events celebrated by underrepresented groups (e.g., Lunar New Year, Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan)
- Create assistive products/services for a more inclusive audience (e.g., LDP color option for people with color blindness, option to reach out to apartments on behalf of renters with speech/hearing disabilities and/or a marker to notify lead profile when being sent to properties)
- Provide time off for employees to volunteer/support causes (e.g., make March a volunteering/social month where employees are encouraged to go out/help make an impact)
Important company-wide conversations take place regularly on our DEI Slack channel. This is also where we share resources to support each other towards becoming better allies in our workplace.
DEI events and initiatives have been a meaningful way to get people to come together, especially when connections can sometimes be hard to make in a remote-first environment. Hailey Smith-Mims, HR and Events Coordinator and President of our Black ERG shared “[In the Black ERG] it has been nice to be able to come together with other black professionals at work and have a safe space to chat, collaborate, and celebrate Black History!”
When the DEI Book Club and ERG members were asked, “What has been most meaningful to you about being a member of your group(s)?” The most common response was “increased sense of community and awareness”. These groups have allowed employees to feel like they were making genuine connections outside of their regular work meetings; it was common to see these same people greet each other like old friends when they finally got to meet each other at in-person events, even if they had never seen each other outside a screen.
Finally, when asked “Which event has been the most meaningful to you” some of the responses we got were:
- “In their own ways, they were all (meaningful).”
- “I love powerful guest speakers, especially when our community members at Apartment List speak about their personal experiences.”
- “Pride 2021: I've never felt that level of acceptance or celebration in a workplace before. I can't wait for all of the Pride events this year too!”
Free to Be You and Me
The importance Apartment List places on DEI initiatives and events have positively impacted so many of our employees. Through direct feedback, we can see how they have helped improve employee experience as a whole and allowed people to feel free to be themselves.
Stay tuned as we look forward to speaking to our hiring focus, DEI sourcing, and how Leadership DEI Commitments fit into our present and future! Interested in learning more about Apartment List and being a part of our future? Check out our open roles!