Duke Realty Makes Progress Toward a Truly Equitable and Inclusive Workplace

March 28, 2022
Written by: Duke Realty

Duke Realty is considered a leader in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry — a top industrial REIT with an expansive portfolio across the U.S. As a leader, we have a responsibility to lead in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts. We make significant investments in promoting diversity within our company and in our industry including signing the CREW Network CRE Pledge for Action — committing to the advancement of women and DEI efforts in commercial real estate.

It Starts at the Top

We can tell our associates that we are creating a more inclusive and equitable environment, but nothing speaks louder than a true reflection of that in our leadership. At Duke Realty, out of our ten C-suite leaders, two are female and account for decades of experience in their respective fields. Additionally, of the 12 directors on Duke Realty’s board of directors, four are females and two are Black males. In fact, females serve as committee chairs for half of the board’s committees.

Company leadership is committed to elevating deserving diverse associates. Internally, our talent pipeline and mentorship programs have allowed us to identify experienced, high-performing associates for leadership development. We have increased the number of women and people of color in leadership roles. We have tracked our promotion pipeline for several years and have found that over the past seven years nearly 47 percent of promotions at Duke Realty have been of female associates.

Initiatives like the Duke Realty Executive Mentorship Program, developed in 2016, allow us to create more development opportunities and improve hiring and retention rates for women and minorities. Executive mentees are chosen each year by the executive team for a one-year term. Since the implementation of this program 56 percent of mentees have been promoted since participating in the program.

Decades of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Accountability

At Duke Realty, we have a history of fostering an equitable environment where associates are valued and appreciated for their contributions and their diversity. In fact, in 2021, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our formalized Diversity and Inclusion Council with a rebrand to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. It was important to reflect the added efforts toward a more equitable workplace.

The DEI Council’s mission is to educate, increase awareness and advocate diversity and inclusion within Duke Realty and the communities we serve. The council includes nine regional inclusion associates (RIA), to serve as a resource to the markets and to capture and share the various diverse activities that occur throughout the regions, an annual speaker series with experts in the diversity and inclusion arena, followed by debriefing sessions with local leaders and a CEO Award presented at the company annual leadership conference to the market that has shown exemplary strides toward creating a more diverse and equitable workplace.

In December 2017, we launched the Duke Realty Women’s Network, which is open to men and women alike. It has a multi-pronged approach to engaging associates and sharing information. The mission is to create a network that supports the investment in, development and growth of the women at Duke Realty. The network hosts a formal meeting each quarter with featured speakers addressing topics related to career advancement and personal development. Past speakers have included the founder of a women’s group at the nation’s largest commercial real estate brokerage firm, female members of the company’s board of directors and a business etiquette coach. Presentations also have been made by panels of female associates within the company who have discussed specifically their challenges and successes in working in a male-dominated field.

Pay equity has long been important to Duke Realty, and our human resources team has embedded processes and checkpoints throughout the year to keep pay equity top-of-mind. In fact, we look at pay equity several times during the year—when hiring a new employee, at mid-year, at talent review sessions, and at year-end. Maintaining transparency and promoting trust in the process are essential steps. Additionally, we hold ourselves accountable to ensure that any disparities created through hiring, promotion, reorganization, etc., are identified and remedied as quickly as possible. In 2021, we hired a third-party expert to analyze and verify our pay equity initiatives. They found no statistically significant pay equity disparities.

Keeping the Talent Pipeline Diverse

To help promote diversity in the industry and foster a more robust, diverse pipeline of talent, Duke Realty participates in educational programs targeted toward diverse groups of young people and offers scholarships to help students complete their degrees. In fact, in 2021, 52 percent of our top and mid-level new hires companywide were women or people of color.

Duke Realty’s VIP (Value in People) Program was implemented in 2014 and sets standards to ensure we have a diverse candidate slate for all open positions before a hiring decision is made and ensures that we have female candidates for select positions (construction and leasing) where females are underrepresented. This program continues to help our company make progress in improving our hiring percentage of women and minorities in key positions.

Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program) is an industry-backed, market-driven 10-week program that serves as a bridge between talented minority professionals and commercial real estate companies looking for talent. Duke Realty has participated in Project REAP since 2000 in the following markets: Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. Duke Realty associates have typically served as instructors in these markets leading classes in development, leasing and property management. We continue to look for new markets and opportunities for Duke Realty and our associates to partner with Project REAP. Our participation in this program has yielded us multiple new hires.

We continue to elevate our talented female associates and allow them to share their knowledge and experience through mentorship, industry speaking engagements, trade organization leadership roles and simply recognizing their value to our company and our industry. Additionally, the company continues to track our diversity progress in hiring, promotions and career development, mentorship, pay equity and leadership positions. We continue to hold ourselves accountable at every level and strive for a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and industry.

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