7/27/2020 | By Diane Rusignola
Healthpeak Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PEAK) was one of three winners in Nareit’s inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Recognition Awards in 2019. Lisa Alonso, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Healthpeak, sat down with Nareit to discuss the company’s D&I program.
- Who owns your D&I plan? Who are the stakeholders?
- How often do you revisit and amend your plan?
- How do you define “diverse”?
Healthpeak is strongly committed to D&I, with the tone set at the top, as reflected in the composition of our Board, with 50% female directors and 25% racially or ethnically diverse directors. Our Board also has formal oversight of diversity and inclusion initiatives through the Compensation and Human Capital Committee.
As outlined in our 2019 ESG Report, our commitment to D&I objectives includes: (1) attracting top talent with consideration given to recruiting underrepresented groups; (2) reducing unconscious bias by providing training and enabling conversations at the leadership level; (3) fostering a culture of tolerance with an engaged and collaborative work environment; (4) developing all employees through training and education while fostering upward mobility; and (5) creating an organization that delivers top results while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Our 2019 ESG Report can be viewed on our website.
Healthpeak Properties adheres to a philosophy that recruiting top talent will drive performance and results. We recognize that having the “best team” made up of a diverse workforce, including diversity of experience, skill, background and gender, will maximize our potential. We also live and work with a central value that all employees should be treated with professionalism and respect, as well as be provided the canvas on which to showcase their talents and advance their careers. Our CEO, Tom Herzog, and CHRO, Lisa Alonso, are responsible for ensuring that this philosophy is disseminated throughout the organization, but success requires that all of our team members work together.
With a human capital strategy focused on attracting, developing, engaging and retaining best-in-class talent, we are committed to creating and maintaining a work environment that provides a level playing field that provides all employees an equal opportunity to excel. We meaningfully demonstrate our commitment through our actions in many ways that go beyond public pledges. Our Compensation and Human Capital Committee of the Board of Directors formally amended its charter to codify its oversight of human capital matters, with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion, and receives quarterly updates on D&I matters.
Our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee formally amended its charter to reflect diversity in recruiting Board candidates. The charters are available on our website. Our Diversity and Human Rights Policy is in our employee handbook and publicly posted on our website. We underscore the importance of diversity to employees and vendors through our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and Vendor Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and our ESG Report publicly discloses our D&I objectives Our Codes can be found on our website as well.
- Have you identified pipelines for diverse candidates? Have you had to create them if they didn’t already exist?
Critical to our strong talent acquisition program is identifying and recruiting the best talent for our team. We typically partner with talent acquisition firms, of which almost 60% are minority- or women-owned or operated. Additionally, we have posted positions with CREW, Prospanica/National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the National Black MBA Association. With a relatively lean team, we continue relationships with these talent acquisition partners who maintain candidate pipelines and build relationships with diverse and qualified candidates. Ultimately, our goal is to cast a very wide net and recruit from 100% of the population, rather than subsets thereof.
- Do you train managers on implicit and unconscious bias? How often and how?
- Do you take steps to ensure there are diverse candidates interviewed for all positions? If so, explain.
All Healthpeak employees, people leaders and hiring managers complete HR-led training concentrated on candidate selection and interviewing to ensure they understand the importance of, and are adhering to, best practices in their recruiting and hiring process. We require all employees to complete unconscious bias/sexual harassment prevention training annually, with 100% completion, fostering a culture of respect and tolerance.
The HR team has centralized the recruiting process with the underlying philosophy that hiring managers should interview at least one female or diverse candidate for every open position (to the greatest extent feasible).
- Do you use mentorship and sponsorship programs as employee retention methods?
- What programs and policies have you implemented to retain talent? (i.e. affinity groups, maternity/paternity leave, flexible work arrangements, training, etc.)
- Are supervisors’ bonuses dependent, at least in part, on how they treat/promote members of diverse groups they supervise?
Overall, the Healthpeak team is made up of hard working, committed, and talented professionals. Our team members desire growth, development, and support. Our Elevate training program is a comprehensive program that offers the opportunity for all employees to engage in personal and professional development at various levels. Our Emerging Leaders development program caters specifically to a group of high potential team members (two-thirds of whom are female and/or minority team members). In February 2020, we hosted our Inaugural PEAK Women’s Summit to support the development and community of our female leadership, which allowed emerging female leaders throughout the company to engage directly with our four female Board members. In 2019, we launched our paid family leave program, offering 12 weeks paid leave to female employees giving birth, promoting female employee retention, and 6 weeks paid leave to non-birth giving parents to support their partner and establish balance or roles within their homes.
Through our talent review process and ongoing discussion of high potential team members, the senior team has been active in sponsoring our high potential employees (many of them female and/or minority).
- How do you provide meaningful work opportunities for employees?
- Have you clarified promotional criteria? What skills do you value in potential promotable employees?
Healthpeak has around 220 employees, so as you can imagine, every single team member has opportunities for meaningful work. Members of senior leadership are involved with day-to-day operations, and with that comes employee exposure to working directly with the senior leader. This also results in discussions that occur regularly about the contributions of high potential employees. Supervisors meet with their direct reports on a quarterly or monthly basis to discuss their performance and set developmental goals for those who wish to advance. Because many of our cross-functional groups work so closely with one another, employees are often able to transfer to other departments to expand their skills and learn about a new part of the business.
- How do you measure the success of D&I programs, company and board demographics, and pay equity by race and gender?
Healthpeak has been a leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives for several years, with women comprising at least 45% of our workforce over the last five years, and having female representation on our Board for over a decade. In the last three years, with the expansion of the human resources and legal departments, as well as the Compensation and Human Capital Committee’s oversight of human capital matters, the Company has increased its focus on the advancement of D & I matters. The metrics related to the diversity of our team are reviewed consistently throughout the year.
Our Board’s Compensation and Human Capital Committee, which maintains oversight of human capital matters (including D&I), is chaired by a female director and comprised of all female members.
Of the Healthpeak leadership, one quarter of our executive team is female and/or diverse; 35% of our senior team is female and/or diverse; and 57% of our leadership is female. Of our overall workforce, 49% are female (at least 45% for the last 5 years; 49% in 2019), and 42% are ethnically or racially diverse as of January 2020.
- What key metrics do you report publicly? (If none, say so; if internally, say so.)
- Where do you report your findings? (i. e. standalone report, SEC filing, website, specific framework, other)
- Do you know your ESG scores from Sustainalytics and/or similar frameworks? (Yes, these scores, including specific “social” scores, are reviewed with the Board and management regularly)
We believe transparent disclosure is critical to our success. As such, we publicly report on several key human capital metrics relating to diversity, including the following:
- Workforce gender diversity
- Workforce racial/ethnic diversity
- Board gender diversity
- Board racial/ethnic diversity
- Breakdown of our workforce by age
- Gender pay ratio
- Gender representation in management
We publicly report our human capital metrics in many places, including our standalone annual sustainability report (with the ninth annual report to be published this year), proxy statement, investor presentations and company website. We also publicly report our diversity and inclusion findings through several ESG reporting initiatives, including the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (available to subscribers of the Bloomberg terminal), and the GRESB and CDP surveys (which are publicly posted on our website). Links to our historical ESG reports and reporting initiatives can be found on our website.
Our legal team reviews our scores from several ESG reporting initiatives, including Sustainalytics, MSCI, ISS, GRESB, CDP, and DJSI, with our Board and management team at least quarterly. In addition, our Sustainability Committee, which is comprised of executives and employees from our human resources, legal, operations and asset management teams, does a deep dive on ESG scores to assess performance, review strategy, opportunities and risks, and establish ESG goals, including social initiatives.
Targets for Improvement
- What areas for improvement have you identified? Which areas have you identified internally and publicly?
As Tom Herzog mentioned during the NAREIT panel discussion on D&I, our plans for D&I at Healthpeak are to stay the course. We have been successfully practicing simplicity by attracting the best people from 100% of the candidate pool, developing our top talent while establishing sponsorship relationships and opportunities for those that may have not received it elsewhere, and supporting working families’ health and well-being. Other than the public reporting stated earlier, we are not inclined to join pledges, but rather let our actions speak for our values. The Healthpeak team is strong and has been successful in the last several years due, in part, to the richness of the experiences and background of our team and we will continue our efforts to maximize our talents.