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Representation in the Workplace

By October 27, 2022April 19th, 2024RETS Blog

On average, we spend 90,000 hours in our lifetime at the workplace. One would think that this would be a safe place where you can work without the fears of experiencing discrimination surrounding your ethnicity, culture, gender, age, or sexual orientation. We spend so much of our time at work, shouldn’t it celebrate and be inclusive of people from all walks of life?

Sadly, many people experience a negative workplace experience consisting of discrimination every day. Across the nation, 55% of people say they are likely to experience discrimination in their work environment, and 61% have witnessed discrimination happen to others. That is one half of this nation that feel discouraged to be their authentic selves at work.

You might be pondering what visual representation has to do with discrimination and how those are integrated. Whether you believe so or not, the media and marketing have large effects on people’s perceptions. People’s awareness of others is shaped by what they see in their everyday lives. Proctor & Gamble conducted a study that proved this to be true. Individuals who have been exposed to LGBTQ+ people in advertisements and the media are more accepting of this community compared to those who have not been exposed. Displaying diversity in the workplace visually can contribute to a diverse and inclusive workplace reality.

Demanding Course of Action   

Although visual representation is appreciated, consumers are constantly challenging companies to further expand on inclusion and diversity. Companies are needing to not only “talk the talk” but also “walk the walk”. According to a study, 4 in 10 people said they are more likely to trust brands with more diversity in advertisements. 6 in 10 people said they have a preference for brands that are founded by people or represent people like themselves. 62% of people said that a brand’s diversity or lack thereof impacts their perception of the product or service. And a further 34% of people said they have stopped supporting companies that did not represent their identity in branding.

It is safe to say that these statistics affirm the importance of inclusion and diversity within a company. This has a direct impact on consumers and means representing diverse audiences in visual communications is in the best interest of the company as well as their supporters.

Going Further than Advertising

As an interconnected nation, we expect our relationships with people to be genuine and organic. Advertising and media are expected to follow suit. More than 75% of people agree that it is not enough to just have people of numerous ethnicities and appearances but also capture their true lifestyle and culture.

Fortunately, our friends across the pond have already been putting this into action in which we can certainly adopt. The UK Advertising Association has created ‘inclusion groups’ with the mission to promote diversity in the industry’s creative output. This group’s focus is to increase diversity within the UK as industry’s workforce. This example of starting with diverse representation visually leads to concrete action in terms of diversity in hiring is great to imitate.

“I’ll believe it when I see it”

Attracting diverse talent starts with showcasing diversity within your company communications. If a candidate cannot see people like them represented by your company, they are less likely to see you as a potential employer. It is 4 times more likely that women will choose female managers concerning multidisciplinary meetings as opposed to males. The take away is that people want to see themselves represented in all aspects of life, including business.

Necessary steps towards portraying diversity

While having a diverse pool of employees and faces at the office is great, it is also important for the external face of your company to mirror what is happening inside. For example, the company website is a perfect place to start. Does the website include the people whom it employs and represent all that are welcome at the company? Remember that marketing materials speak volumes for a company’s diversity or lack thereof.

Visuals are powerful

There are a number of resources to help companies get diverse inclusion right. Visuals can be powerful tools in making prospective customers, candidates, or employers feel seen, included and represented. Whether you are starting this transition of representation or have been doing so for years, your workplace can only benefit from it.


Cyrstal Wishart serves as a Director at RETS Associates, a national real estate executive search firm. She is based in Newport Beach, CA and can be reached at

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