According to a study conducted by Great Place to Work, when employees trust that they and their colleagues will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age, they are 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work. Long story short, inclusion matters. Now more than ever, candidates are prioritizing diversity within the workplace; and organizations that are in tune with what candidates are looking for when evaluating diversity are better equipped to attract and retain top talent. Here’s a list of the key questions that any business should be prepared to answer (and why)…this way job seekers are able to understand if a conscious effort is being made to prioritize inclusivity.
1.) What percentage of the team is diverse and what is your organization doing to increase the number of diverse candidates within the company?
This is one of those questions that every person on your team should be prepared to answer as candidates will definitely want to know how diverse the team is. If you aren’t confidently able to provide a percentage, candidates will see this as a red flag. They’ll also want to know what you’re doing to increase diversity within your company, which could be anything from hiring recruiters who focus on recruiting diverse candidates to building relationships with diverse organizations.
2.) Are there frequent internal conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Candidates want to hear that senior leaders across the company are involved in DEI-focused conversations or that frequent DEI updates are provided when discussing overall business priorities. Let candidates know what topics get covered in these discussions (diverse hiring goals, racial justice, mental health, etc.) and how these ongoing conversations impact company culture. For example, is there a team that’s tasked explicitly with leading DEI efforts or are DEI-related questions included in employee sentiment surveys? If you provide a vague answer about your company’s DEI commitment, this alerts the candidate that inclusion is not a top priority.
3.) Does your company offer inclusive benefits and policies?
Job seekers will want to know how often your organization reviews its benefits and offerings and if the healthcare benefits are truly inclusive for everyone. This could include anything from fertility benefits to help with family planning to paid time off to participate in voting during national or local elections. Candidates may also ask about typical team building activities to see if the list is considerate of a variety of styles and preferences. Make sure never to mention that your current offerings are working for “most” employees as this is a sign that your organization may not be mature in its DEI journey.
4.) Is there a standard way that performance gets measured?
How your company approaches performance reviews and career progression says a lot about your culture. Standardized performance reviews can help to mitigate bias and ensure everyone is evaluated fairly. Get into the details with candidates by providing what performance reviews entail, how often they’re performed, and what guardrails are in place to ensure objectivity.
5.) Are there mechanisms in place to collect and act on employee feedback?
No organization is perfect, but it’s telling when a company actively listens to its employees, hears their concerns, and follows through with action. Provide candidates with concrete examples. Do you regularly survey employees? Do you share the results transparently? Have you made any changes to policies or processes based on employee feedback? Examples like these showcase that you’re inclusive and open to listening to new ideas.
6.) Are there training opportunities focused on inclusivity?
Many companies have a formal onboarding process for new hires that includes learning opportunities focused on DEI. However, companies that truly value inclusion provide additional resources for employees past week one. Dig a bit deeper by providing specific opportunities. Do you offer trainings beyond unconscious bias? Are there DEI trainings specifically for people managers? Are any of the training goals tied to performance review criteria? All of these things matter to candidates and show that you’re not simply “checking a DEI box”, but rather building awareness around critical topics and asking employees to embed DEI concepts in their day-to-day work.
7.) Do you partner with any organizations to offer inclusive resources to employees?
Some companies may sponsor or reimburse employee memberships with professional organizations or participation in local events, such as Pride parades or the Special Olympics. If your organization allows employees to participate in these types of opportunities, let candidates know how common or uncommon it is for team members to take advantage of these resources and what the approval process entails. Keep in mind that if your organization is smaller-scale or a startup, you might not have the resources in place to support these types of engagement efforts, but you can let job seekers know that it's on the way or that you would be willing to participate in more volunteer-focused opportunities.