‘Personal differences only make CBRE even stronger’

CBRE. Where everyone can belong.

Last week, we held CBRE´s very own Inclusion Fest. A week devoted to an open and accessible discussion with colleagues all about equal opportunities and being yourself at work. Recent internal research shows that staff working at CBRE already feel able to be themselves. But, as far as I’m concerned, there’s always room for improvement. This is why I hope that the Inclusion Fest has stimulated debate about diversity and inclusion and helped raise awareness. Everyone’s different and that’s something we should actively encourage. Because we can only come up with the best real estate solutions together if each of us has the confidence to share their personal views.

Serious themes, accessible discussions

Last week, we engaged in open conversation with each other on diversity and inclusion at work, in order to raise awareness of these themes. We started with some icebreakers: cards featuring interesting topics for discussion that we placed on people’s desks. Anonymous job applications, are they essential for inclusive recruitment? What exactly do we mean by an inclusive labour market? Have you ever experienced privileges at work? How do you handle power imbalances at work? These are not the kind of subjects that we raise over coffee every day. But that’s what makes it so interesting to discuss them in detail together.

There’s always room for improvement

Every year, we conduct research into colleagues’ experiences at work. This year’s survey revealed that staff feel able to be themselves at work and find the atmosphere to be friendly and informal. Of course, that’s great news! But we also want to raise people’s awareness of blind spots in their working lives. We all feel most comfortable with people who are like us and that’s why we seek out their company – consciously, but also often without realising it. But it’s actually really important to try to relate to different people. I’m totally convinced that a melting pot of cultures and personalities ultimately leads to the best results.

This is why we endeavour to encourage an open perspective. There’s a place for everyone here. Only if we create an atmosphere where everyone is able to collaborate on an equal footing can we truly achieve the best results for our customers. That’s why there’s always room for new ideas – it really is part of our DNA. Whether you’re junior or senior, you can always express a good idea and often even put it into practice.

Looking beyond difference

If you’ve just started working with someone who’s different and thinks differently, it can sometimes be awkward. But you need to get beyond that. Because it not only broadens your horizons – the team results also benefit at the same time. Thanks to all our personalities, perspectives and opinions, we always take a slightly different approach to customers than our competitors. And that’s how we achieve the best, most creative and most original solutions. This is also why we deliberately bring together as many different people as possible in a team – not in terms of the position or job description, but their approach and style of working. That’s our strength: both for colleagues and customers. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

Safe and open, now and in the future

Thanks to Inclusion Fest, we have broached the conversation about diversity and inclusion and have lots of new input to move forward. It’s important that we all continue to talk about these themes, because, in our view, being able to be yourself at work is a major advantage. We therefore want to encourage our colleagues always to say what they think. If everyone feels listened to, everyone feels free to share their opinions. People enjoy going to work and, by working together, they deliver work they can be proud of. Especially in this time of hybrid working – where the office is all about connection and collaboration – it’s essential for everyone to be able to feel at home at work.

Inclusion Fest also has a significant role to play in our corporate vision and objectives. Last week, we listened carefully to what’s happening on the work floor in order to find out what really matters. This will enable us to implement concrete and targeted improvements. I don’t believe there’s such thing as the perfect approach. In fact, diversity and inclusion are such wide-ranging issues that have been the subject of so much research, that striving too hard for perfection can undermine your organisation. So, our aim is to keep it simple. Easily accessible, open and bottom-up. This is why we will continue to engage with each other on these important topics – now and in the future.

Geschreven door: Irene Flotman