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Here’s exactly how to tell if a company actually cares about diversity before you even set foot in the office

  • Joe Gerstandt, a diversity and inclusion speaker and consultant, shared four tips with Business Insider for how to tell if a company values diversity and inclusion before accepting a job offer. 

Diversity and inclusion is gaining traction in the corporate world. Since 2017, more than 800 US CEOs from companies like EY, Deloitte, and Procter & Gamble  have signed on to a pledge created by PwC to make their companies more diverse and inclusive.

There are well-researched benefits to having a diverse workforce. Diverse boards and teams outperform less diverse ones and inclusive workplaces see higher employee retention. Companies also need to prepare for the next generation of workers (Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse yet, according to Pew research).

But while leaders may say they prioritize diversity and inclusion, many companies still have a long way to go. Women and people of color remain underrepresented in positions of power; Less than 7% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female, and less than 1% are black. Women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, veterans, and people with disabilities continue to report lower levels of inclusion at work. And equal pay remains an issue for many minorities.

So how can you tell if a company actually cares about diversity and inclusion before you accept a job offer?

There are few ways to figure it out, according to Joe Gerstandt, keynote speaker and consultant who’s worked with Fortune 500 companies like Target, Nestle, Walmart, and Toyota.

“It’s hard because companies are much better at saying great things relative to diversity and inclusion than they are at doing things,” Gerstandt said. “This causes a certain amount of whiplash with new employees crashing up against an organizational culture very different than what they expected.”

Look at the company’s board and senior leadership team.

Who’s at the top matters. C-suite executives set company policy, make leadership decisions, set the cultural tone, and serve as role models for employees.

“Look at the senior executives and the board of directors. Is there diversity there?” Gerstandt said.

Go on the company’s website or look up their executive team on LinkedIn. In addition to seeing the number of women, and people of color in leadership, you may also be able to find out more about the leaders if they share information on their bios. Perhaps they are passionate about certain causes or openly talk about living with a disability.

If there’s no diversity among a company’s board or leadership team, that may be a potential sign that the company is not very diverse, he said, though your search shouldn’t end there.

Check online lists and employee review websites.

A company making a list such as “the best companies for women” or “the best companies for LGBTQ employees” could be a good indication that it’s committed to diversity and inclusion, Gerstandt said.

You could also check out employee review websites such as Glassdoor for reviews.

However, don’t rely on online research alone, he said.

Ask about diversity and inclusion in your job interview.

When the job interviewer asks if you have any questions, make use of that time.

In addition to asking questions like, “What’s it like to work here?” and “How would you describe the company’s culture?” Gerstandt suggests you dig deeper.

Good questions to ask are: “What does diversity, and inclusion mean here?”, “How do you measure inclusion?”, or “What resources does the company provide to support trans employees?”

How the hiring manager responds to your specific questions will tell you a lot.

Try speaking with an employee who works at the company.

If you feel like the job interview is going well, you could even ask to speak with a member of an employee resource group (ERG), such as the company’s women’s group or LGBTQ+ group, for example.

“If they mention that they have ERGs, I would ask if it would be possible for me to talk to the volunteer leaders from one to two of the ERGs. I think in the right organization, that would be acceptable and even impressive,” he said.

SEE ALSO: 4 steps black women should take to guarantee they have a mentor who’s looking out for them at work

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