How to Tell If a Company Values Diversity and Inclusion
How can you tell if a company truly values diversity? Many companies promote their support for diversity and inclusion. They broadcast their desire to hire people from all backgrounds (regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or ethnicity) and how they create an environment that’s welcoming to all in the workplace.
This inclusivity is not just a reflection of legality, although it’s worth noting that there are federal laws against harassment in the workplace due to race, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, according to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).
Why Companies Value Diversity
Companies value diversity and inclusion because it's important to their potential employees. A survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers claimed that a diverse workplace was important to them. Similarly, a 2018 survey of tech workers by Atlassian found that 80% valued diversity.
A diverse workforce leads to more ideas and innovation, which benefits the company. Not to mention it’s good for the bottom line.
Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies with an executive team that’s diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity outperform others in terms of profit. For companies, prioritizing diversity is a win-win.
Unfortunately, many find it a struggle. Just take a look at companies' executive boards, and you'll see how rare it is to find diversity among leadership. Often, companies say they value diversity, but fail to implement the types of hiring priorities and programs that make it a true value. If you’re a jobseeker eager to work in a diverse and inclusive environment, how can you know if a company will meet your needs?
6 Ways to Identify If a Company Values Diversity and Inclusion
1. Do Online Research
Start with a visit to the company’s website. What do you see in the photos? Are the people of many different backgrounds, or relatively homogenous? Read through the site "about us" section as well, looking for any metrics disclosed on diversity or hiring practices. You can also read employee reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Fairygodboss. Take the time to carefully research companies to learn as much as you can about the organization.
Be sure to give job postings a close read too, and take the time to decode job advertisements as you review them. Is the language gendered or gender-neutral? A listing that requests “high-energy” applicants might be skewed toward younger and/or non-disabled candidates. Some companies will include an EEO statement (equal employment opportunity) that states that they do not discriminate in hiring.
2. Look at the Company’s Employees
Find out who’s on the leadership team at the company. This information is often available on the company’s website, but you can also search for it online, including on LinkedIn. Also, make sure to look around when you visit the office for interviews. Of course, not all diversity is visible to the eye. It won’t reveal, for instance, whether the company engages in neurodiverse hiring, but observing its environment may give you some sense of how diverse the company actually is.
3. Check the Company’s Core Values
Does the company have a mission statement or core values? If so, look to see if they mention diversity or inclusion as priorities. See if there's a person in the HR department whose title relates to diversity, such as a Chief Diversity Officer. Check too if the company has a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) group or program.
4. Ask Questions During Your Interview
When the interviewer turns the tables and asks if you have any questions for them—or, throughout your conversation—try inquiring about diversity. Here are some questions you can ask:
- I see diversity is listed in the company’s values. Can you share some examples of how you promote it?
- How is diversity shown to be an important value at this company?
- Does the company offer managers training on diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- What does the company do to help ensure inclusion?
- Please tell me about the benefits the company offers.
5. Reach Out to Connections
Do you know anyone at the company? Work those LinkedIn connections. See if you know—or are within a few degrees—of anyone who has worked at the company and send them a quick message or email to see if they can share any details on the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
6. Check the Employee Benefits
A company’s policies can reveal a lot about how much they value inclusion. For example, providing maternity leave benefits—or better still, family leave benefits that include all parents, including those of adopted children or same-sex couples—demonstrates that the company is eager to offer support to all kinds of parents in the office.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Employers," Accessed Sept. 16, 2019.
Glassdoor. "What Job Seekers Really Think of Your Diversity Stats," Accessed Sept. 16, 2019.
Atlassian. "State of Diversity and Inclusion in U.S. Tech," Accessed Sept. 16, 2019.
McKinsey & Company. "Delivering through Diversity," Accessed Sept. 16, 2019.
Harvard Law School Forum. "Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards," Accessed Sept. 16, 2019.