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June 8, 2023, by Leah Sharpe

How To Find Out if an Employer Is Genuinely Inclusive

By Amrina Kaur, Employability Officer

Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment is important for both personal and professional growth. However, finding an employer that genuinely embraces equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) can be challenging.

Explore practical steps to help you assess whether a potential employer is truly EDI positive, to help you find a workplace where you can thrive, grow, and make a difference.

Research the company’s mission and values

Look for explicit mentions of EDI, inclusivity and equal opportunities. Genuine EDI-positive employers will be eager to demonstrate their commitment by incorporating inclusive principles into their organisational philosophy. You can see an example of this on IntoUniversity’s diversity and inclusion page as well as Mott MacDonald who have a global EDI strategy.

Review diversity initiatives

Examine the employer’s efforts to communicate the value they place diversity and inclusion within their workforce. Look for programs or initiatives that evidence action behind the words, such as inclusive recruitment practises, mentorship opportunities, or EDI training. Companies that prioritise EDI will actively invest in these areas, creating an environment that celebrates diverse backgrounds and perspectives and creating a sense of belonging for everyone. Sky has a great example of this commitment to EDI with initiatives such as their MAMA Youth Project. 

Evaluate the hiring process

Does the company have strategies in place to reduce bias and ensure a diverse candidate pool? Look for blind applications, objective interview standards, diverse interview panels, and inclusive language in job postings. They should be asking about, and respond positively to, requests for reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process to support disabled candidates. An EDI-positive employer will strive for fairness and equal opportunities right from the recruitment stage. Employers like the Civil Service use name-blind recruitment for applications.

Examine diversity in leadership roles

Look at a company’s ‘team’ or ‘our people’ page and consider the representation of diverse individuals in leadership positions. An inclusive company recognises the importance of diverse perspectives at these decision-making levels. Look for evidence of women, people from underrepresented communities, and diverse backgrounds in leadership roles. A diverse leadership team brings a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and ideas to the decision-making process, leading to better outcomes for the company. West Midlands Fire Service have a good example of a diverse leadership team, and were also ranked first place on the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List. 

Seek employee perspectives 

Reach out to current or former employees to learn more about the company’s EDI practises. While networking sites like LinkedIn allow you to connect with employees at a company to ask them questions directly, online forums like Glassdoor can offer useful information about employees’ experiences and impressions of the company’s commitment to EDI. 

Assess training and development programs

An EDI-positive employer will invest their time and resources into professional growth and development. Find companies that offer inclusive training, mentorship or coaching initiatives, and equal opportunities for career advancement. An EDI-positive employer recognises the value of empowering all employees, regardless of their background or identity and may also have some ring-fenced opportunities to support career progression for groups currently underrepresented at more senior levels in the organisation or sector. Mental Health and Wellbeing Charity Touchstone actively recruit from diverse backgrounds, those from non-traditional routes such as institutionalised mental health and Criminal Justice Systems who have thrived and advanced into senior roles. 

Investigate policies and benefits

This includes policies related to parental or carer leave, flexible work arrangements, staff networks, and adjustments for individuals with disabilities. Look at any ethnicity or gender reports a company publishes. While there is at present no legal requirement for employers to report on the ethnicity pay gap, employers who are committed towards an inclusive and diverse workforce may produce one. 

External recognition awards

Organisations that genuinely prioritise EDI are frequently recognised for their efforts by industry associations, diversity-focused organisations, or through various awards. Stonewall has a ranking for top employers for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, and the Disability Confident commitment identifies employers who have agreed to take a set of actions regarding the recruitment, retention, and career development of disabled people and those with health conditions.

Reflect on your priorities and what matters most to you

What specific criteria are you looking for in a potential employer? For instance, you might value a staff network that promotes a sense of community, or possibly a mentoring scheme that offers professional guidance. Whatever aspects are essential for your ideal work environment, ensure that potential employers align with your checklist. By taking these things into account, you can find an employer who meets your requirements for a workplace and supports your personal and professional growth.

Ready to find an inclusive employer? You can search our wide range of jobs and placements on MyCareer.  

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceGraduating in 2023