In the last two years, issues of diversity, equity and inclusion have come to the forefront for employers and employees, as both look to deepen their understanding, pursue justice and create a brighter future for all.
So, in this Black History Month, there’s never been a better time to evaluate how your personal and professional ideals align—and what you can do to connect with employers that share those values.
While you likely won’t get a full appreciation for an organization’s culture until you’re officially onboarded, you can certainly get a taste for it beforehand—even as early as while you’re perusing the job description. If you’re aiming for your next opportunity to be with a company that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion, here are a few things to look out for:
Culturally competent language:
How a company describes itself, its employees and its mission—on its website, across platforms like LinkedIn and in job write-ups—can provide a glimpse into how it approaches DE&I. For instance, organizations that use coded language to describe ideal employees could have a culture that similarly excludes certain communities of workers. But the bias doesn’t need to be as overt—keep an eye out for statements throughout the hiring process, both in written company materials and interviews, that suggest a lack of understanding of diverse experiences.
As employees increasingly expect strong DE&I programs from their employers, companies are becoming more transparent with data about such efforts. At your interview, feel empowered to ask about DE&I data—numbers of diverse hires, investment in DE&I strategies, future DE&I goals. After all, if the organization is a leader in this area, they should be eager to share their progress!
One telltale sign of how genuine a company’s commitment to DE&I is can be seen through its leadership. An organization that outwardly prides itself on elevating people of color but whose leadership page on its website tells a different story may have significant strides to still take on the issue.
If you want to evaluate how equitable a company is, a good place to start would be by looking at the DE&I resources for employees. Employee resource groups are a critical component of many organizations’ DE&I strategies and allow employees a safe space to learn, collaborate and advocate. Companies with a wide number of ERGs that offer robust programming may be well-positioned to be a good fit for candidates in search of a racially equitable workplace.
Corporate social responsibility:
Organizations that invest in DE&I internally also may be inclined to give back to the community. For example, consider whether a prospective employer invests in diverse philanthropic efforts or offers scholarship and internships specifically for communities of color. Given the recent headlines regarding racial injustice, many organizations have also spoken out about the issue and their work to combat discrimination—and those that haven’t yet taken such steps may need to do some more work before you join their ranks.