Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is increasingly important in all areas of business and society, and facility management is no exception. Building and maintaining diverse, fair and inclusive facilities can not only benefit the people who uses them but can also improve an organization’s overall performance and success. Organizations can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all stakeholders by understanding and prioritizing DEI in facility management.

The business benefits of implementing DEI are notable as well. According to a 2020 McKinsey report, companies with greater diversity in gender and ethnicity had greater business profitability. In 2019, companies with the most ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed other companies by 36%.

Diversity allows for more views and ideas among teams and, as a result, more significant gains in the long term. DEI is incredibly impactful in facility management, as this department touches all others. Facility management is the maintenance of an organization’s building and equipment. This could look like installing a video intercom system for safety, mowing the lawns, or ensuring that a building is in line with local codes and procedures.

If you want to improve DEI in your facility management department through training and awareness efforts, here are three ways to get started.

1. Create job pipelines to improve the hiring process.

To make your facilities management team more diverse, you may need to be innovative and remove barriers to entry.

Consider partnering with human resources (HR) stakeholders to see if your organization may waive college degree requirements for specific jobs within your facility management department. Some say college degrees may not be necessary to do certain jobs anymore, and eliminating degree requirements can help solve the talent shortage crisis. A Cengage survey found that business managers who still rely on college degrees are “handcuffed by their degree requirements and failing to fill positions.”

Another way to attract more talent is to create pathways for growth in your current job positions. No opportunities for promotion may decrease the desire for certain positions, which could reduce the number of applicants and, likely, the diversity in your talent pool. Think of ways that learning can help employees grow in their current roles, and make sure they know of available opportunities for growth.

Having policies in place is one thing, but demonstrating the real-world consequences is quite another. How do you know if your initiatives are improving DEI if you’re not tracking their progress? Invest in data analysis tools or hire an outside consultant to evaluate your DEI programs and their impact on your business. Evaluating DEI metrics over time will help you improve your initiatives and pinpoint areas for improvement.

3. Create a feedback system.

It can be challenging for workers to provide their concerns and suggestions about improving a system or situation. Some organizations have implemented feedback programs to encourage honest recommendations and ideas when it comes to DEI. Consider creating a space for complaints and send out regularly scheduled surveys. This information may be hard to hear at first, but it will help you take care of your employees and have valuable information to share across the organization. Transparency is key to DEI and company culture.

Creating and implementing a system that supports DEI is challenging, but it can be done if you do your homework. Identify the key elements missing in your facility management department, evaluate your facility’s needs and create a strategic plan to address them. It will take some time and effort and may require someone with a “big picture” mindset to get things rolling; however, the results will be worth it. These employees know the building from top to bottom and can help cultivate your company’s culture through diverse representation. The bottom line is that anyone can have a successful DEI system in place with proper planning and a commitment to progress.