Diversity at Greystar
On January 22nd, Michela Hancock (MD, Construction & Development) will be chairing a panel at the Bisnow Women Leading Real Estate in London. Michela will be discussing her professional development; career journey and what drivers have led her to success. Along with Bella Peacock (MD, e) Adina David (Director, Flexible Housing) Eva Kiivit (Regional Operations Manager) & Lizzie Pennant (Legal Director), Michela discusses some of the experiences in her career.
Inclusivity at Greystar
Greystar focuses its approach to talent around our core pillars of excellence; customer satisfaction, operational excellence, profitability, growth, community and poignantly, people. Greystar takes pride in the breadth of diversity of its workforce. When commenting on inclusivity, a core Greystar value, Michela comments on the approach taken by Greystar when speaking of her want to start a family at the same time as joining the Greystar organisation. The message was that Greystar looked at her joining as a “long term career opportunity, we’re not just looking at one, two or four years”.
This extra level of care is not reserved for those in Senior Management roles at Greystar, Michela makes a point of mentioning that Greystar has made a conscious effort to ensure that diversity of people and culture is one of the red threads consistent throughout the organisation. Even in its infancy, Michela recalls that equal representation was a key message to the external labour market:
“When recruiting, in the early days of the UK office, Greystar would request a balance of different demographics in CVs.”
As Eva points out, this early approach to inclusivity has fed successfully into successive management teams, given the clear gender balance at Leadership level.
Needing to cater to a diverse group of audiences, Greystar has consistently and consciously considered how diversity and inclusion can be encouraged throughout the organisation. Bella Peacock explains the importance of having employees with a wide range of backgrounds, as this approach has enabled Greystar to enjoy a wide range of perspectives, as well as helping to foster diversity of thought. This approach has helped cement the organisation’s commercial edge in what is a highly competitive market.
The importance of ensuring that diversity is prevalent throughout the wider organisation is not lost on Greystar’s senior management, importantly, Michela highlights that this way of thinking “is very important to us as property managers. In the UK, we have residents from a multitude of backgrounds and having that representation in our workplace helps us stay relevant to them”.
A People Focused Organisation
Mental health is an issue with growing prevalence today and Greystar is addressing it head-on by designing mentorship programmes to support and nurture their workforce. Adina David emphasises the importance of supporting younger talent, particularly as they enter the industry:
“We need to make it ok to discuss a wide range of subjects and ensure that the industry is inclusive. I’ve seen mental health become a widely discussed topic and we are ensuring that everyone feels comfortable to discuss any topic at Greystar”.
The subject of mental health is also highly relevant in today’s residential market.Michela says how ongoing research has demonstrated that long term mental health concerns are rising with growing numbers of people suffering from feelings of loneliness and isolation. To help mitigate against this worrying rise, Greystar continues to develop and provide a number of innovative solutions to combat this; including through their partnership with Student Minds to provide student welfare training to onsite teams based at our student accommodation assets.
Greystar Leaders & Diversity
Greystar Europe has an impressive male to female ratio at Leadership level, as Lizzie comments:
“Greystar has been great at advocating and developing its female leaders. Having women in leadership roles has had a very positive impact on the culture at Greystar as it continues to attract and retain talent”.
The impact of a diverse leadership becomes evident, and Bella explains how decision makers from different backgrounds have helped to influence and drive change:
“Diversity of thought and experience is very beneficial when solving issues and generating new ideas, something which is increasingly valuable given the rate of change and innovation within the industry”.
Bella adds that Greystar employees not only have a voice, but that their ideas are judged based on their merit and not on outdated notions of hierarchy. This can be seen clearly in working groups established in Greystar’s property management business, which are open to all employees and help introduce new innovative programmes to Greystar’s operations.
Greystar continues to focus on bringing innovative ideas to the fore and encourage people from different backgrounds and who have had differing experiences to join the organisation. Greystar continues to consciously promote our diversity initiative by nurturing employees and encouraging further exploration within their chosen fields and it is this attitude that has been vital in helping to deliver against both our organisational and people objectives.
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