how can you tell if an employer is inclusive?

Workplace diversity has become a priority for many people when looking for work. Fortunately, employers are getting that people value diversity and inclusion and are stepping up to the plate. Most people want to work for a company that offers an inclusive workplace and strong work culture. But it can be challenging to determine if an employer is inclusive when you’re looking on the outside looking in. While an interview can tell you a lot, it can be a challenge to gauge a company’s policies on something as complex and multi-faceted as diversity and inclusion. A company telling you they’re diverse and inclusive is one thing. Operating in a workplace culture that values and operates based on diversity and inclusion is completely different.

Here are some effective ways to determine if an employer takes their diversity and inclusion initiatives seriously.

how to recognize an inclusive employer

their workplace is visibly diverse

One of the telltale signs that a company takes diversity seriously is if they have a diverse team. When you go in for the job interview – take a peek around the office (ask for a tour if they’re amenable!) Are the employees different cultures, genders, and ages? Do they seem to respect one another and interact in a positive way?

you feel welcome at the interview

Does the company make an effort to make you feel welcome? Did you feel a sense of belonging from the start of your interview? Do they take steps to make you feel comfortable upon first meeting you? How an interviewer and company makes you feel and the steps they take when you first meet them can say a lot about their company culture and how much they prioritize inclusiveness.

they value your opinion and ideas 

Diversity and inclusion extends beyond hiring people of different age ranges and backgrounds. It’s present in how a company operates. Do they value your opinions and ideas? Are they open to hearing alternative perspectives, especially ones that diverge from their own? Do they welcome new insights and strategies to improve their processes? Look for openness and constructive feedback. Dismissiveness or shooting down your ideas point blank can be a symptom of closed-mindedness. 

teamwork and collaboration spoken of positively

Be wary of employers that are highly competitive, hierarchical, and take an us-versus-them approach. If the leaders seem to have an ‘I’m the boss’ approach to work and expect employees to fall in line, that’s a red flag. Diverse and inclusive companies steer clear of this dated approach to managing employees. Rather, they place emphasis on teamwork and collaboration as tools to build a stronger workplace.

they offer ongoing training and development

There’s always room for improvement. Inclusive employers understand learning is a never-ending process. Those who think they know everything are often the most stubborn and closed-minded. Professional development opportunities help you sharpen your skills and bring value to your employer. Make sure to ask about programs they have in place and plans to improve inclusivity. Training and development is important to add new skills, but also improve your approach to work.

employees are happy and engaged

Employee demeanor can say a lot about company culture. Do employees seem to be happy to be at work? Are you greeted with smiles and friendly welcomes during your interview? Does it look like they genuinely like their job and enjoy coming into work? Is the company involved in any volunteering or outreach programs? Are there employee-led diversity groups? These type of initiatives are a clear sign companies are proactive about inclusivity and diversity.

ask questions during the interview process

The interview process is your opportunity to ask questions. So, take advantage of this time to ask about the organization’s values and priorities. Ask about their diversity initiatives, parental benefits, flexible work policies and other topics related to inclusiveness that are important to you. If the interviewer stumbles over basic questions about these policies, take a hard look at whether their culture will be a good match for you.

they talk about inclusivity openly

If a company seems guarded when you discuss diversity or inclusiveness, it could be a sign to tread with caution. If you ask questions, pay attention to see if they’re prepared and happy to answer these types of questions. If they are evasive, it could be a sign they don’t have a diversity policy or have had issues in the past.

Even better, companies provide information about their inclusivity initiatives and approach on the company website. If they are transparent about their diversity program, it’s a good sign they take it seriously and are taking steps to improve.

their actions speak louder than words

Companies can talk about diversity and inclusiveness until they’re blue in the face. But what really matters is how they operate. It’s the things they do on a day-to-day basis that will tell you if they are serious. Does the company practice what they preach? Does building an inclusive environment seem like more than just lip service and something they actually care about?

 

Diversity and inclusiveness are very important components of a strong and healthy company culture. Always take them into consideration when going through the hiring process and assess if a company is a place you would like to work.

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