For our Spotlight Series this month, we chatted with Jill Soraghan, Talent Attraction and Engagement Manager at REA Group.
Founded in 1995, REA group have a team of more than 3000 people across Asia and Australia, and are committed to changing the way the world experiences property. They work with millions of people to find and finance their next home, through content, data, property valuation estimates and home financing solutions. With a strong commitment to positive social impact, REA Group are keenly aware of the organisational benefits of hiring a diverse workforce. As a “First on Field” organisation, REA Group have enthusiastically embraced the Field’s accessible features, and been a keen supporter of all the Field has to offer.
We chatted with Jill about leadership, positive social change and how working with the Field has impacted REA Group’s approach to inclusive hiring.
Hi Jill! Tell us a bit about yourself and some of your achievements so far, both as Talent Attraction & Engagement Experience Manager at REA Group and more broadly.
I absolutely love what I do. I’m incredibly passionate about the role TA plays in helping to shape people’s lives and careers. I’ve been fortunate enough to work at REA Group for 7 years, and I’m so grateful to work with a stellar team, who ensures we offer an inclusive recruitment experience for every candidate, no matter their background.
It’s been a remarkable team effort over the last 12 months! We have been progressing our focus on DEI, commencing our Reflect RAP journey, completing the D&I Index, being named an inclusive employer by the Diversity Council of Australia, launching our partnership with the Field, and winning REAio Hack it Forward for our DEI recruitment focus.
The most notable recent highlight for me was leading the team for our REAio Hackathon last December and winning! Through a universal design approach, we re-built our entire hiring process, removing accessibility barriers and catering to the diverse needs of each candidate. We want our recruitment processes to offer equal opportunity to everyone, so people can choose what accommodations they may need, they can disclose their disability and we can ensure they are supported correctly every step of the way. Our tag line for the hack was “Don’t talk inclusive, Do inclusive”
How have your experiences, in both work and life, influenced who you want to be as a leader, and the leadership you’d like REA as an organisation to show?
As a mum to 2 young boys, I’m starting to see the world through a fresh lens. I want my boys to experience a life full of opportunity and excitement, and to have a strong moral compass. I want them to show compassion and empathy towards others and to have courage yet also not be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help. These values also align with who I am as a leader. I have such belief in what I do, how I show up, what I believe in, and this translates to my team and our work. We are such a tight knit TA team, we have complete trust in one another and really live the REA value “Do it as one team” every single day.
REA has a really strong social impact commitment and measures of success linked to diversity and inclusion. How do you think the approach toward inclusion and accessibility has changed in the last few years at REA and more broadly?
We’re lucky to have a really engaged workforce when it comes to diversity and inclusion at REA. This shows up consistently in our engagement survey results, as well as in the way people showcase and embrace our culture. We’ve been nurturing and supporting this enthusiasm over the last few years, and implementing listening strategies to better understand our opportunities for growth and improvement.
Disability is a real focus area for us, and more recently we’ve had teams working to overhaul our recruitment processes and identify opportunities in our workplaces to make them more inclusive and accessible for people with disability. We’ve also bolstered our resourcing in this space, with two DEI Specialist roles across the business.
In 2022, REA partnered with the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) to participate in your first Inclusive Employer Index. In your view, what’s the value of having people with lived experience of disability to inform documents or policies that impact people with disability?
I think the commonly used phrase, “nothing for me without me”, applies here. We can’t assume that our good intentions are enough to create policy that is fit for purpose. We need insights from the people who will be most impacted by our decisions to help us make the right decisions.
The data from the Inclusive Employer Index has been invaluable in helping us achieve this and has given us greater visibility of where our gaps and opportunities are in DEI.
We know that diverse teams are the best teams. They unlock diversity of thought, they have a very unique & independent way of thinking and we fully encourage a workplace where everyone can be themselves. I feel very privileged to work for a business like REA who empower hiring managers to hire for culture add, not culture fit. It takes all kinds of people to help us think differently, drive innovation, and meet the diverse needs of our customers and consumers.
Your team has really embraced the Field, engaging with its purpose, learning workshops and accessible features. What makes you excited about the Field and how would you like to see us working together in the future?
We’re incredibly excited by what’s possible with the Field. We’ve already seen the partnership in action, when the team joined us for our hackathon to help us redesign our hiring processes to be inclusive and accessible. We’re looking forward to working with the Field to pilot our new hiring processes, bolster our talent pipeline, and shape a more inclusive future for REA. We want all candidates to feel comfortable, supported and empowered to share their background, and showcase their skills and experience in the ways that work best for them.
We understand that people shine in different ways, so at the heart of our recruitment process is a flexible, two-way dialogue where inclusion, diversity of thought and equitable opportunity are front and centre. I would love to see our combined efforts translate into many, many hires through the Field. I’d love for people with disability to be given the opportunity to find a job with ease, knowing there are so many companies out there like REA who want to give everyone a chance to showcase their skills in a safe environment, where they will be supported along their career journey.
Lastly, what would you say to organisations that might be hesitant to hire people with disability, don’t know where to start hiring inclusively, or aren’t sure how the Field will benefit them?
Being truly inclusive is such an important step towards a more diverse and inclusive work environment and an even better culture. Even a small start could lead to something great within your organisation and support those seeking a fulfilling career. Reach out to the Field and start a conversation!!
To find out more about REA Group and their commitment to social impact, you can visit their website via the link here. If you’d love to work for REA Group, you can find open job ads on the Field here. Sign into the Field to start posting jobs and hiring great talent today!