A lot of employers will claim to value diversity, but how can you tell they take it seriously? Follow these three steps to help determine if your values align.
First, be self-aware
You should first look at your own priorities and values. Diversity encompasses a wide range of demographic factors: race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, ability, and more. You’d be hard-pressed to find an employer these days that doesn’t feel they value diversity and inclusion. But meeting your specific expectations? That’s harder to achieve.
Deloitte research reveals that diversity is perceived differently by generation to generation. And one recent survey found 70% of companies believe they are effective at attracting and retaining diverse employees, yet only 11% actually understand what that means.
The guidance linked here is from Sarah Saska, co-founder, and CEO of Feminuity. It defines diversity and inclusion and also introduces how equity plays a part, too. She even offers an exercise at the end for teams that you can take individually to help better understand your own assumptions and priorities.
Then, look for clues
Once you’re clear on the commitment to diversity and inclusion you value and expect, look for clues that the employers you’re considering share those values. You can start by:
- Reviewing the company’s value statement (this is the top way to find a culture fit in general).
- In a larger company, looking for a leader devoted to diversity and inclusion (like a chief diversity officer or a director of culture).
- Looking at the leadership and diverse makeup of the company. (However, be careful not to form assumptions on how the employees “look.”)
- Reviewing employee benefits for signs of inclusiveness.
- Searching your LinkedIn contacts for employees or former employees and ask them privately what it’s like to work at the company. Did they feel heard, respected, valued?
Whatever you do (or do not) find out in your research, it’s important to ask about diversity and inclusion during the interview process if it’s a priority to you. Give the employer a chance to tell you where they are on the issue. Questions can be general or more to-the-point, depending on how important diversity and inclusion will be to you or your position. Glassdoor offers the following examples:
- What are [the company’s] most important values?
- How important is diversity to you as an organization? What value does it bring?
- What are you doing as an organization to actively ensure everyone feels included?
- How do you measure the level of diversity and inclusion throughout your organization?
- Is the leadership team committed to diversity in the organization? If so, how do they express that and ensure that commitment cascades down throughout the organization?
- Does the company have any programs in place to support diversity? If not, are you planning to in the future?
Many organizations are thankfully past the point of needing to understand why diversity and inclusion are essential to business. But levels of adoption vary widely. As we’ve said before, finding a fit means finding an employer that values what you value.
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