Diversity and inclusion are two buzzwords that have been touted across various industries and workplaces around the world. For women, women of colour, and LGBTQIA+ women looking for a new workplace, it can be difficult to tell which companies will not treat them as a minority.
It is demoralizing and stifling to work in an environment that doesn’t support you and doesn’t have your best interests in mind. It can take a toll on your physical and mental health, and it is rarely worth the paycheck that comes with it. This is why it’s crucial to find out at the outset if a company is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusivity.
An inclusive workplace makes sure that underrepresented genders, races, sexual orientations and presentations, age groups, and abilities feel safe and respected in their roles. It can be difficult to find the right company for you, but there are some signs that can help.
Scrutinize the Job Post
Your first contact with any company is their post for an open position. You can tell a lot about a work environment through the job descriptions posted on their website or job portal.
If it contains a lot of gendered words or phrases, it likely means that they have not had more than a passing thought about inclusivity in their workplace. If they emphasize specific age groups or ability levels, that can be a red flag. Watch out for patterns as you read multiple job posts by the same company—these are essential signposts for the overall company culture.
Do Your Research
A company’s website and social media presence should speak for themselves. If a company is genuinely committed to inclusion and diversity, they express it plainly on their mission statement and community advocacy pages. Do they celebrate International Women’s Day on their social media? How about Black History Month? Do they participate in outreach events for the underserved?
Even something as simple as their choice of stock photos for their web pages can be a sign of their belief in diversity. If all you see on their website’s “About” section is a sea of white men, don’t get your hopes up.
Company review sites like Glassdoor can also give you an idea of internal work environments. Look for connections through LinkedIn and your social circle—you may have an acquaintance that can give you personal and professional insights.
When you get to the interview stage, you should be able to find out what policies are in place to accommodate employees’ needs. How do they accommodate maternity and paternity leave? If you are differently-abled or chronically ill, what adjustments can they make for you? What is their discrimination policy, and what are the steps taken in the event of harassment or aggression against minorities in the company?
The interview process isn’t a one-sided conversation. As much as your potential employer needs to find out about you, you need to know them, too. Direct inquiries about workplace inclusivity and company culture will undoubtedly affect your final decision.
It’s better to ask about all of these before you start working somewhere new. Even if you choose not to work there, simply expressing your needs to your interviewer may spark change for that company.
From large corporations, nonprofit institutions, fledgling startups to online jobs, every workplace should offer a safe and comfortable environment for their employees. How a company presents itself online can be a flashing sign of their priorities. If you don’t spot anything about inclusivity or diversity in their online material, you’re much better off looking for opportunities elsewhere.
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