Why DEI Matters & How to Work for an Inclusive Company

Why Workforce Inclusivity Matters & How to Find Inclusive Employers

June is a great time to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion and to acknowledge the gains (and progress yet to be made) for minorities. June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, recognizing the impact LGBTQ individuals have had on history.

June is also when we celebrate Juneteenth, on June 19, the commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

As recent movements like Black Live Matters have shone a spotlight on the importance of inclusivity in society, employers have also taken notice. As we detailed in 4 Workforce Trends in 2021, mission-driven company cultures are becoming more prominent.

We expect diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to be an increasingly important component of business operations. Here’s why professionals benefit from working at DEI-focused companies and how they can find those employers.

First: What is Workforce Inclusion?

Workforce inclusion is an employer’s conscious effort to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. While a workforce may be diverse in makeup, it may not be inclusive unless the perspectives of all the different groups are integrated into the workplace environment.

DEI efforts might look like:

  • Hiring employees who come from diverse backgrounds, including differences in race, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation and age
  • Creating processes that provide equal possible outcomes for all individuals, such as the same salary for all employees who hold a certain title
  • Providing learning and development opportunities for employees across all professional title levels
  • Including diverse employees in brainstorming and decision-making sessions

Human resources plays a big role in establishing strong DEI practices at an organization. You should be able to glean DEI insights from a company’s website, by asking former and current employees about their experience, by researching companies online on sites like Glassdoor, and by asking questions during an interview process.

Why Does Workforce Inclusion Matter?

DEI initiatives can lead to better business results. According to a 2020 inclusion and diversity report by McKinsey & Company, businesses in the top quartile for executive team gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average revenue, compared to businesses in the bottom quartile. That’s an increase from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014. The report also found inclusion helps increase retention and employee engagement.

There are other benefits when businesses make an effort to improve their DEI strategies. According to research by Great Place to Work, these include:

  • Better innovation
  • More successful recruiting and hiring
  • Improved sentiment of a company, both from the perspectives of employees and of customers

For professionals who are considering their next move, there may be long-term benefits to seeking out businesses that prioritize DEI. How can you tell a potential employer is an inclusive company?

What to Look for in Inclusive Companies

Inclusion is an indication of how companies view employee roles. It can affect a company’s mission and impact the quality of products and services.

To determine whether potential employers value DEI, ask about the presence of the following at a workplace in job interviews. Look for the following in online employer profiles, as well.

  • DEI training and workshops
  • Stated DEI goals
  • DEI councils or resource groups
  • Roles related to DEI, such as VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

You can also investigate how employees view their company culture and how they’d describe their engagement at work.

A good place to start your research on a company’s DEI priorities is in the job description. A company’s mission statement or About Us page on their website can also illustrate their efforts.

Social media channels may also provide proof of DEI efforts. Look at company messaging regarding social movements and DEI-focused holidays, as well as staff photos and how teams represent the company at work and outside of work, at team-building events like community volunteering.

It can also help to talk with current and former employees. Leverage your LinkedIn network to find connections or friends-of-friends who have worked for the company. Ask them about their views of DEI at the business, what they think could be improved upon and what the company is doing right.

Finally, if you receive a job offer, carefully read through the benefits. DEI-focused benefits may include parental leave, floating religious holidays and mental health insurance coverage.

You may also consider asking for a trial day at the office to shadow an employee before you commit to a role. Seeing employees and the DEI culture in action can help you decide whether what a company’s doing works for you.

Get Career Coaching to Move to an Inclusive Company

If you’re currently working for a business that doesn’t prioritize DEI, that may cause problems. Company success could suffer. You may feel like you’re sacrificing your values at your job. You may not be engaged at work, which could ultimately impact your health and well-being.

It may be time to apply for a company that makes DEI a main objective. If you’re thinking about moving industries or need a refresher on the job search and interviewing process, get a free career coaching consultation. Schedule a career coach meeting.