DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION
Systemic change takes time, determination, and long-term engagement. We want to do our part to create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just world. By making positive changes wherever we can, we’re able to influence what happens beyond the boundaries of our own company.
“Our commitment to DEI is a natural extension of our commitment to our Core Values and Employer Promise. We’ve embarked on this journey because we believe that embracing DEI in a proactive, thoughtful, and strategic manner will make us an even better company. Moving forward requires that we gain a common understanding of the challenges we’re facing.”– John Foresi , CEO, Co-founder and Director
Providing the Support Our Teams Deserve
Venterra Academy empowers each of our team members to grow personally and professionally through upfront educational assistance from day one and with one-on-one training with a Venterra leader, mentor, and/or peer.
We support each of our team member’s unique needs with benefits that include virtual appointments with mental health providers, specialized mental health/therapy for pregnant and postpartum women, telemedicine appointments for prenatal and postpartum care, and equal benefits for heterosexual and same-sex couples who are starting a family.
Feedback from Our Team Members
Our anonymous team member survey, conducted each year by the Great Place to Work® Institute, has provided us with some valuable insights about how different groups experience our culture and has resulted in a variety of workplace recognitions including:
Most recent survey results showed that 19 out of 20 team members agree that people at Venterra are treated fairly, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and age.
The below shows the overall positive response rate from team members across several important DEI metrics that the survey covered.
We also invited Venterra team members to share their opinions on diversity, equity and inclusion through a separate survey through the industry-leading DEI Consultant, the Kaleidoscope Group, and were pleased to have had approximately 80% of our team members participate.
The Kaleidoscope Group informs us that, compared to surveys at other organizations, survey results put us firmly in the “Best in Class” category.
We believe that this reflects a corporate culture that is rooted strongly in our corporate values, and we were pleased to see both the high participation rate and encouraging results. Some of the key strengths that we can draw from these survey results are:
• Very positive perceptions of workplace inclusion
• Collaboration across differences and equitable policies/practices stand out as some of the highest-scoring statements
• Perceptions of Senior Leader commitment and manager accountability for inclusion are strong
While our scores were extremely positive overall, they also provided insights into areas needing a focus moving forward. We’ve identified the following areas of focus for the immediate future:
• Address pockets of opportunity from the survey results
• Increase efforts to amplify team member voices at all levels
• Look for opportunities to enhance diverse representation throughout the organization
Here’s how we’ve done so far.
Representation matters. Filling our communities and offices with team members with a diverse set of experiences and points of view allows us to better serve our customers, communities, and one another. Unlike most multifamily companies, we don’t require previous industry experience to join us in an entry-level position. This means we have a wider range of perspectives within our teams and are providing more opportunities to deserving individuals.
The below charts represent the current makeup of our team across several demographic identifiers. Take the first step to add your unique voice to our award-winning company culture by exploring and applying for any of our current opportunities here!
Our team members’ involvement in the process is crucial to our success.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy & Action Team
Our DEI Strategy and Action Team (DEISAT) is responsible for developing and guiding important elements of our DEI strategy. The team, made up of rotating employees from across all levels of the organization, has created a framework for our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion strategy. In collaboration with the Kaleidoscope Group, the team has identified a number of organizational goals and a plan of action for achieving them.
The launch of our DEI-Hub Channel on Microsoft Teams represented the first major milestone in a detailed three-year plan spanning the entire portfolio. A centralized location for candid conversations around the topic of DEI, the channel provides all Venterra team members with an easy way to have their voices heard, learn about their colleagues, and help shape the way we implement changes for a more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and stronger Venterra.
It all starts with education.
In addition to the formation of DEISAT and our DEI-Hub Channel, we’ve invited all Venterra employees to attend a Conscious Inclusion Education session hosted by the Kaleidoscope Group and have provided our teams with a variety of recommendations for learning. These resources remain available to our team members at no cost to them through Venterra Academy and our Educational Assistance Program.
We’ve partnered with third-party provider, EthicsPoint, so current and former Venterra colleagues can anonymously report any serious concerns and engage in a dialogue with executive-level leadership. The partnership ensures our team members can confidentially and candidly bring up matters needing immediate attention so we can jump into action.
Venterra colleagues are supporting future women leaders.
We have team members hard at work shattering glass ceilings. Our VP of Property and Customer Innovation, Stephanie Gonzalez, is a contributor to the National Multifamily Housing Council‘s Women in Tech and Marketing Meetups & Women in Multifamily Networking Series.
The Venterra Cares program, which provides paid volunteer time off, continues to empower our team members to give back to their communities as they see fit, and Director of Employee Experience, Natassa Zervopoulos‘ volunteer work with Girls Inc. has been impactful enough for her to receive a civic award recognizing her efforts.
Here’s where we’re headed.
Surveys from our team members have shown promising results, but being dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion means working to continually improve by ensuring our operations are viewed through a DEI lens.
In collaboration with team leaders, DEISAT has outlined current opportunities to improve our approach in terms of our workplace, our workforce, and the way we communicate our DEI efforts moving forward. By identifying specific actions to take and their expected outcomes for the following high-level goals, we’re looking forward to further strengthening the organization.