How to Determine if an Employer Values Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 1/14/21, THIS POST WAS EDITED ON 6/10/21 TO INCLUDE NEW QUESTIONS TO ASK IN AN INTERVIEW.

The USC Career Center hopes that students find careers that fulfill their passions and make each student feel valued. To achieve this goal, many students seek companies that value workplace diversity in the internship and job search process. Adapted from NACE’s article on Questions Students may Ask to Assess your Organization’s Commitment to DEI by Chelsea C. Williams, Founder and CEO of College Code, Williams shares that a company truly values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through the following points:

  • Has made commitments to foster a safe and healthy work environment;
  • Is taking actionable steps to improve representation across all levels and titles;
  • Holds leaders, managers, and employees accountable for actions and behaviors; and
  • Has sought to center equity through all aspects of the employee process—recruitment, training and development, promotions, pay, benefits, and more.

We have created a list of things to do and potentially ask when seeking out an organization who truly values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

  1. Review the employer’s website and social media
    • When you come across an internship or job role you are interested in, we always recommend reviewing the employer’s website to get a sense of the organization, their culture and their employees. Many organizations have a section on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or it is written in the values, mission or vision for the organization. It important to review other parts of the website like “About Us” or “Meet the Team” to learn more about the organization. Regarding social media, it is important to view if there are events, statements or posts that acknowledge minoritized identities, involvement in the community or provide opportunities for employees to thrive.
  2. Seek out opportunities through Programs dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion
    • Many organizations offer programs specifically for students from minoritized populations or identities. Some popular organizations that offer robust postings are SEO Career, T-Howard Foundation and INROADS. These programs offer job postings, career advice, panels, information sessions and scholarships! Lastly, the USC Career Center hosts the Diversity Meet and Greet, is a networking event for students to meet with companies that truly value diversity, equity and belonging in their organizations. Students will be able to connect and learn about opportunities during this intimate career event.
  3. Ask questions about Equity and Belonging during interviews or other interactions:
    • From the formal interview to a networking night to an informational interview is a great opportunity to ask questions about the organization. As a candidate, you are also interviewing the organization to ensure this is somewhere you want to work, or intern so ask questions to better understand the company. Williams offers a list of questions a student could ask about an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
      • How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward?
      • What social causes does your organization support?
      • How would you describe the organization’s culture?
      • Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
      • How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
      • Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
      • Can you give me an example of how you make your direct reports feel a sense of inclusion, belonging, and equity on a daily basis?
      • Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
      • Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
      • How do you celebrate diversity of ideas and people?
      • What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustices?

Additional Resources:

Career satisfaction is an integral part of one’s well-being. Studies have shown that people who feel happy and content in their career are more likely to approach job-related tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. Check out this video for a few practical tips to creating a more productive and healthier you.