How to Assess a Company's Commitment to Diversity
Updated: Jan 11
Diversity comes in many shapes and forms - in Canada, it often encompasses people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, female-identifying folks, newcomers, and neurodiverse individuals. As a newcomer, you undoubtedly bring diverse experience and insights and you want to make sure that your future employer values the different facets of your identity.
In today's post, we are going to narrow it down to “Does this company welcome and value a newcomer’s experience?”
1. Glassdoor reviews
Glassdoor is a democratic take on a company’s hiring process, it gives you insight into the lives of the employees and their level of engagement and job satisfaction -- it’s anonymous so you get a transparent look at what’s happening behind the scenes, employees’ experience with the exec team, even how aligned the team is towards the founding team’s vision.
You can often see how a company approaches different key aspects of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). Are they equitable in compensation, in promoting employees, in valuing diverse experiences, and do they live out their core values?
2. Do research on Linkedin to see how diverse their executive team is
Take a look at the company on Linkedin and view their their exec team's profiles -- do they all look the same? Do they come from different backgrounds or have international experience or education? Do they only have diversity at the individual and managerial levels but not at C-suite? Do they tend to promote diverse employees? No every aspect of diversity is visible here, but you'll get some great insight.
3. Have a candid conversation with someone internal about their experience
Find an employee (ideally one that that looks like you or has some shared experience). Reach out to them, mention you’re interested in the company and are curious to know what their journey has been like so far. Find out about perks, benefits, vacation policy, flexible work hours, and employee resource groups. Are there young parents in the company? Do they have experience onboarding newcomers? Are they familiar with accessibility requirements? Is this a place they would recommend to their friends?
Conversations like these can happen live or over email or chat, and it’s nice to send a little something after to show you appreciate their time - a coffee shop gift card is always welcome :)
4. Take note of the hiring panel as you go through the interview process
Is the hiring panel diverse or are you seeing a lot of people who look the same and have had similar life experiences? Do you see people who look like you in senior positions?
5. See if they have ERGs, a commitment etc.
Most companies have a DE&I commitment posted on their website that will give you insight into their approach and what they value.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. They usually engage employees who share a characteristic like gender, ethnicity etc. These groups exist to provide support and help in personal or career development and to create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table. Allies may also be invited to join the ERG to support their colleagues.
They’re a great way for employees to share their experiences, learnings, challenges and work together to problem-solve.
If the company has an ERG that resonates with you, try and get in touch with one of the members to chat through their experience.
6. Get a sense of the makeup of the team you will be working with
Ask the hiring manager if you can have insight into the team / squad you would be working with -- is it a diverse team? Are there people at different levels with diverse experiences? Any newcomers on the team?
7. Ask the hard questions!
Throughout the interview process don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions - if you don’t see diverse voices in senior leadership ask why, if you don’t see newcomers ask them what their onboarding process is like and how you would be set up for success, if you don’t feel like accessibility requirements are being met ask them if it’s on their radar. A lot of startups are in a constant state of evolution and if they haven’t figured it out just yet they could be in the process of learning and setting things up - which is okay! Give them the opportunity to share what their future hiring plans look like and what role DE&I will play.