First, it’s important to know the difference between
the two terms. Though they are similar and one can’t
exist without the other, they are not the same. Diverse
workplaces are composed of employees with varying
characteristics including, but not limited to, religious and
political beliefs, gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic
background, sexual orientation, and geographic location.
Inclusion is the environment that creates opportunities for
all employees and encourages them to bring their diversity
and uniqueness to the workplace.
Studies show that the more diverse and inclusive a
workplace is, the more it positively impacts the bottom line.
A 2016 report on Gallop.com showed that companies that
had higher than average diversity and employee engagement (or inclusion) had a 46 percent to 58 percent better
financial performance than companies that were below the
median in terms of diverse representation.
Every year publications like Diversity Inc. feature those
that are getting the formula right. With the exception of a
few on the top 50 list, most of these organizations are outside the financial services world. How can our industry take
best practices from companies that are listed as the best in
class with regard to diversity and inclusion?
• Make a clear and strong statement at the top of
the house. Companies communicate mission/visions
and yearly financial goals. If diversity and inclusion are
truly a goal that is worth doing, they’re worth tracking
and communicating as other top priorities.
• Make the investment in time and resources to
seek out talent. We’ve heard repeatedly how hard it
is to recruit diverse talent, but other industries, such as
insurance, are doing a great job at it. Creating intern-
ships/introductions to mortgage or other industry posi-
tions will be critical. Much like professional sport scouts,
you can seek out the talent, but it takes time, research,
• Create Employee Resource Groups. ERGs can and
should be much more than a time to sample ethnic
food. There is a gold mine in identifying current diverse
talent, hearing their perspectives, and empowering
them to seek out others to join a firm that they feel
included and valued.
• Bring diversity into product development or improvement. It was good to see the GSEs take diversity into account when they made some enhancements
to their community lending programs (such as the important and prevalence of extended family structures).
We need more lenders to lead in this regard as well.
• Catch people doing the right things. Celebrate
diversity and inclusion. We celebrate other production
milestones and achievements. Why not recognize our
team members that are out proactively creating inclusive and diverse teams?
L. Maria Zywiciel is President of NAHREP Consulting Services,
a marketing consulting firm specializing in the Hispanic seg-
ment and Housing industry. www.narhepconsulting.com.