There are a lot of factors to consider when determining where you want to work. Location, salary, position, and culture are all crucial details that will impact your experience with a company and ultimately, the trajectory of your professional career.
In addition to these crucial factors, one characteristic that everyone seems to be looking for in a company is an inclusive environment. As we’ve come to understand, fostering a culture that acknowledges and supports people from different backgrounds leads to incredible growth for the company, the employees, and oftentimes the industry as a whole.
But what does an inclusive company look like? And how are you supposed to know if your particular background and individuality will thrive there?
In order to find out, we spoke with Meritage Homes Vice President of Inclusion and Culture, Regina Rivera, and Assistant Construction Manager, Madison Martin, about what diversity means at their company. In our conversations, they spoke about the company’s interpretation of diversity, why it’s important, how the company supports it, and all the benefits gained from embracing inclusion.
Diversity of Skills, Behavior, and Experience
One of the most fascinating pieces of information that arose from our conversation with Regina is how Meritage Homes interprets diversity. Regina emphasized that they don’t singularly look at someone’s particular race or background; they also focus on their skills and experiences.
Being that we think and behave based on our life experiences, this made perfect sense. While someone’s race or gender may have led them to particular experiences in life, Meritage Homes focuses on the results of those experiences. Regina described how they think about diversity “not just through the race and gender lens, but the diversity of behavior” as well.
She went on to talk about how professionals from outside the industry “can speak and share different perspectives and comment on the work from a different angle.” At Meritage Homes, this is what they believe will help drive innovation.
Why Diversity And Inclusion Is Important
At Meritage Homes, the end goal isn’t to meet some quota or percentage. While they do care about increasing representation in their company, Meritage Homes doesn’t base their success solely on numbers. They base it on how well the values of their company are being embraced and demonstrated by their employees’ values that are enhanced by collaboration and a supportive network.
Regina spoke about one of Meritage Homes’ behavior anchor statements regarding “playing to win” and “collaborating as a team.” She stated, “To live out the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion is to live our [Meritage Homes’] values.” The whole idea of collaboration is to create with people who can provide different perspectives and insight than you. What better way to do that than by creating a workforce filled with people who had different experiences and come from a variety of backgrounds?
While diversity is important in its contributions to the growth and profitability of the company, one of the most important differences it makes is to the employee experience at Meritage—their level of comfort, belonging, and connection in the workplace.
How They’re Supporting Diversity and Inclusion
So it’s clear that Meritage Homes knows what diversity and inclusivity look like and why it’s important, but how do they support and empower it? Meritage is committed to weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion into the company fabric. They emphasize to their team members and leaders that DE&I isn’t something extra that they must do but is a part of strategy and operations every day.
Raising awareness has definitely been a starting point. The willingness to have conversations, acknowledge one’s bias (both conscious and unconscious), and actively take steps to pause and consider alternative ways of doing things is essential.
Through regular communication, training, micro-learning, modeling, linking and labeling behavior, Meritage is sharpening an inclusive leadership mindset and building DE&I skills throughout the organization.
Today, Meritage Homes continues to lead this inclusive revolution by not only diversifying their employee base but training them to lead in a way that reflects Meritage’s core values as well.
The Benefits of Diversity
While the benefits of Meritage Homes’ actions and initiatives towards diversity are felt in the workforce, marketplace, and workplace, we’d like to concentrate on the workplace as it has the most immediate influence on what the day-to-day will be like as an employee.
Madison Martin, an Assistant Construction Manager, is a perfect example of how Meritage Homes’ inclusive ideals were beneficial. When Madison first came across the job listing, she wasn’t sure if homebuilding was right for her as she had preconceptions about the construction industry.
However, during the interview process, Madison realized that Meritage Homes doesn’t believe in one particular background for any of its roles.
Madison said this discussion about the value of people with different backgrounds and areas of expertise ultimately helped her make the decision to join the Meritage team.
Madison shared that she immediately felt welcomed and was treated like a member of the team. She has felt both challenged and supported as she has learned her new role.
Madison joined Meritage Homes as an intern and after a few months, she was offered a full-time position as an Assistant Construction Manager.
By redefining what diversity means and reshaping what an inclusive environment feels like, Meritage Homes has created a revolutionary culture that is bound to send waves across the industry.
Their lens is a unique one and their mission is a brave one. Will you join Meritage Homes as they seek to enhance the home building industry one job at a time?
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