Diversity and Inclusion Matters in the Workplace

Six people placing their hands together for a huddle over a wooden desktop.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts in the workplace are being elevated more in light of recent events across the country surrounding continued racial injustice.  Like many other job-seekers, you may be wondering how to find out if a company values diversity and inclusion and why that matters. 

According to a recent article in Business Insider, Joe Gerstandt, a diversity and inclusion expert who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, shared the following tips to determine if a company actually cares about D&I:

  • Find out what the leadership team and board look like.  Check out their LinkedIn profiles and the company’s website and social media sites.  Are women and people of color holding leadership roles? In their bios, do leaders openly discuss causes they support or personal testimonies such as living with a disability?
  • Dig deeper than the surface and check out employee reviews such as on Glassdoor.  Look if the company has made a list such as “best companies for diversity” or “best places to work for LGBTQ+ employees.” 
  • Note how the job interviewer replies to your questions about diversity and inclusion, such as, “What resources does the company provide to support LGBTQ employees?” or “How does the company measure diversity and inclusion initiatives?”
  • Ask if you can talk to a current employee, such as someone in one of the company’s employee resource groups (ERG) if they mention having them.

Why does any of this matter?  Knowing that a company values diversity not only in gender and race but also in people’s background and mindset, helps build employees’ morale and performance.  Not only does it feel good to have a sense of belonging and support in the workplace, but the bottom-line is often improved when a company focuses on building diverse teams, as noted in a study by McKinsey & Company. 

With many employers placing emphasis on D&I efforts, they desire a candidate who will aid the initiative to create a supportive environment.  As you prepare for your interview, here are some questions outlined in a Business Insider article that you may be asked around diversity, equity, and inclusion:

  • Please share with us what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why they’re important.
  • In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of working in a diverse environment?
  • What is your approach to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds?
  • How would you handle a situation where a colleague was being culturally insensitive, sexist, racist, or homophobic?
  • How would you advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion with colleagues who don’t understand its importance?
  • Tell me about a time when you advocated for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • 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?
  • What steps will you take to eliminate bias from your hiring process?

To delve further into these topics, join industry experts and the SPC Career Services team for an important discussion Wednesday, September 30th from 11am – 12pm via Zoom.  Cal Jackson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Global Programs at Tech Data and Kimberly Jackson, Executive Director of the Institute of Strategic Policy & Solutions at St. Petersburg College will lead the conversation, “Diversity and Inclusion Matters in the Workplace.”  

To participate in the online event, please register via Zoom. For more information, please contact Monica Roberts at Roberts.Monica@spcollege.edu.

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