Apartment Life Utilizes Diversity Consulting Practice
"If you’re in a leadership position and teetering on the edge, thinking that you want to take action, but don’t know how, I would say that would be the ideal time to reach out to Vanderbloemen because that’s where we were and they did a fantastic job working with us."
CEO, Apartment Life
A faith-based, non-profit organization that has been serving the apartment industry since 2000, reached out to Vanderbloemen for our consulting services and diversity practice. Apartment Life aims to provide real business value to apartment owners and positively impact people’s lives by sharing the Christian faith and forming authentic relationships with residents in apartment communities. Like most of America, they were impacted by the events of 2020, including the racial justice movement that swept through the country. This spurred their leadership to take action and pursue our resources and guidance to have a greater understanding of the importance of diversity and how to appropriately handle hiring for diversity. Our team performed a diversity assessment on the staff and culture of Apartment Life, followed by six months of coaching with their team. Since the conclusion of our consulting, Apartment Life has begun implementing new processes and systems for recruiting and interviewing new staff members and they have committed to maintaining a positive culture for people of all backgrounds.
For the past 21 years, Apartment Life has served around 1.3 million units and 3 million residents from coast to coast. Apartment Life works directly with multifamily communities to help enhance online reputation, increase resident retention, and improve resident satisfaction. This organization works with apartment owners to care for residents by connecting them in relationships through a variety of community events. Apartment Life is considered a faith-based nonprofit, meaning the staff is made up of Christians who utilize their job to do ministry work in apartment communities across the nation. They perform their responsibilities all while working to form friendships with residents by being respectful and caring for them in practical ways. One of the many opportunities they have to care for the residents is by assessing their move-in and living experiences, to continually improve the processes. As their team encourages and loves their neighbors, life-changing conversations naturally happen. Apartment Life has the ability to place believers in these communities and connect the residents to local churches if they desire. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus in neighborhoods that often are overlooked and sometimes difficult to access.
The racial awakening that emerged over the course of the past year, inspired the leadership at Apartment Life to self-reflect and recognize ways their organization could be more inclusive and provide positive experiences for more people, specifically minorities, women, and underserved families. The racial and cultural tension that spread through America caused strife in communities everywhere, including active ones that Apartment Life works with. They prioritized addressing this problem and contacted Vanderbloemen to learn about our diversity practice and begin the conversation about the importance of diversity in the workplace. Apartment Life noticed a gap in their organization and ministry, representing people with diverse perspectives on their staff and executive team. They came to Vanderbloemen with open minds and open hearts to transform their team to be a place for everyone to feel like they belonged, regardless of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Apartment Life serves various communities around the world and they desired for their team to reflect the people they work with. Their willingness to learn and be challenged allowed them to grow in unexpected ways.
Here at Vanderbloemen we truly believe that “every coach needs a coach,” and that’s why our team offers staffing, compensation, succession, and diversity consulting to our clients. Through these discussions, our consultants are able to help teams align around their purpose and values. Our consultants have helped hundreds of organizations with a greater purpose build great teams by providing consulting services. Vanderbloemen tailors the consulting process to the specific needs of the organization and this is evident in our work with Apartment Life.
Our diversity practice includes receiving a personalized consultation experience with one of our Executive Search Consultants, along with a diversity analysis report overview that lays out a custom strategic plan and recommendations for the client. Our team comes alongside the client to walk through the organization’s goals and recommend the next steps to diversify the culture. Organizations with diverse teams experience more engagement, creativity, and retention. As Christian leaders, it is our duty to pursue diversity and equality for all members of the body of Christ. Our consultants are dedicated to helping values-based organizations successfully recruit a diverse candidate pool and ensure a strong staff culture.
Vanderbloemen is passionate about helping clients build and maintain an environment where people of different backgrounds, cultures, and interests can come together to advance the Kingdom in a fuller way. Apartment Life faithfully answered their call to receive outside assistance and our team was honored to offer our diversity coaching during a historical moment in American history.
When partnering with Vanderboemen, an organization is assigned a consultant who regularly meets with the client and is involved in their decision-making about the next steps. The Diversity Consultant that worked with Apartment Life has over 20 years of ministry experience and has served in various positions around the world. All of our team members are full-time employees, solely dedicated to helping our clients find their key staff. All of our Executive Search Consultants have executive leadership experience at Christian organizations.
The Apartment Life team came into our consulting practice with a teachable spirit and a willingness to experience new ideas. Our consultant covered many topics with the group including diversity, equity, and what it means to have a sense of belonging in different communities. They maintained a healthy atmosphere and processed these challenging conversations about privilege, representation, and equality in the workplace. The Apartment Life staff emphasized their desire to allow new people to have a seat at the table and have a voice in the decision-making. Ryan Williams, the Vice President of People at Apartment Life shared that “we don’t want to just go hire people so that we look more diverse, we want to become the kind of organization where diverse people are drawn to us because they know there’s a place for them to serve and contribute.”
The impact of diversity coaching at Apartment Life is already a noticeable and great indicator of their successful future. Pete Kelly, CEO of Apartment Life, stated that “I’ve been very encouraged by the posture of our executive team and the process with Vanderbloemen. We’re really excited and hopeful for the future. We’ve already added some diversity to our executive team, but we’re really longing for the day when the leadership and every level of Apartment Life reflect the diversity of the Kingdom of God and the residents that we serve.” They have chosen to revisit their recruiting and hiring processes and amend certain aspects to allow opportunities for new candidates. They are also seeking out ways to make their organization’s culture more inclusive and to ensure their apartment communities are welcoming to all people.