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Why DEI is Critical in the Relocation Industry

By: Barry Matheny, Vice President of Relocation Services at John L. Scott Real Estate


In today’s mobile and global world, discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are increasingly relevant as relocation professionals seek to enhance our services. As real estate professionals, and those in the relocation industry specifically, we all play a crucial role in elevating awareness to support and implement Fair Housing.


At John L. Scott, we’ve deepened our internal discussions of what we can do to support DEI in our offices and community in the last few years. Our relocation team has embraced our company’s efforts wholeheartedly, participating in a variety of educational programs designed to increase cultural awareness and knowledge of important concepts like implicit bias.


The relocation industry is centered around people and their movements across states, countries and even the globe. The broker associates who support relocation clients aim to provide superior service that can provide certainty and relief during what can be a stressful process of relocating. Cultural awareness and sensitivity can make a world of difference as our industry serves people from all backgrounds and walks of life.


Supporting Fair Housing and DEI is more than just following a law, it’s about our relocation brokers’ commitment to providing equitable professional service, which in turn will help clients reach their goals. While it’s not possible to completely understand the experience of someone without having lived it, we can all strive to approach our work with empathy and care.


In particular, the concept of implicit bias is relevant to all of us in our professional and personal lives. Implicit biases are shortcuts we all develop unconsciously to quickly evaluate a situation. They aren’t inherently good or bad, just a function of how our brains process information.


The National Association of REALTORS created a fantastic online free workshop on the topic called Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing. I’d recommend all relocation professionals watch this training as it can help raise awareness of our own biases, which in turn helps us learn how they can influence our perspective and behavior.


As the Bias Override training shows, slowing down and thinking critically about our assumptions can make a real impact. As relocation professionals, we can also make great strides to override our unconscious biases and uphold Fair Housing through activities like developing protocols for all clients, learning how to manage our mindset and standardizing real estate procedures.


I would encourage all relocation professionals to see DEI as a journey, not a destination. While the establishment of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 was an important first step in promoting equity in the real estate industry, it didn’t end the issues of segregation and racism that are still present today.


Making the relocation world more open and equitable starts with all of us. It’s through our actions that we can make all feel welcome, and increase the productivity and success of the relocation industry along the way.


About John L. Scott Real Estate


John L. Scott Real Estate, led by third-generation Chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott, has been helping buyers and sellers realize their homeownership dreams since 1931. JLS has over 100 offices with more than 3,000 brokers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. JLS is recognized as one of the top 20 residential real estate brands in the nation. Last year, John L. Scott closed over 35,000 transactions, totaling more than 20 billion dollars in sales volume. In support of the company’s core value, Living Life as a Contribution®, the John L. Scott Foundation helped sponsor 29 events for 17 children’s hospitals in 2021, which helped raise over $15 million for children’s healthcare.

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