How to find out if a potential employer is committed to diversity

The 2020 United States Census gave Americans a view of just how diverse the nation has become. Those who identify as more than one race, for example, are the fastest growing racial and ethnic category, and represent more than 40% of the country’s population.1 That’s particularly true for younger generations.2

As the face of the nation changes, the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become more important to employees, too. Almost eight out of 10 people value diversity, equity, and inclusion in their employers.4 (Bonus: The data tells us that more diverse leadership teams equal above-average profitability.)4

If you’re on the hunt for a first job or a new job, you can learn more about the approach your potential employer takes to support diversity in the workplace.

Most workplaces understand that they’re not just interviewing candidates, but candidates are interviewing them.”

Jennifer Rhoads, global inclusion director

1. Start with websites and social media platforms.

Many companies, even small ones, share what guides them on their websites and social media platforms. “You can do a lot of discovery just by how a company represents itself,” says Jennifer Rhoads, global inclusion director at Principal®.

This may include:

  • Overall web presence. Look for content or pages that specifically discuss matters of diversity and inclusion, such as employee metrics on representation and sentiment, and inclusion awards. The make up of company boards and leaders can also help you gain insight. Larger companies may have a diversity leader or team, for example. In addition, you may find employee testimonials, inclusive language, or representative photography to help.

  • Employment or careers page. Job descriptions may vary from one company to the next and comparing may help you learn more about workplaces and company values.

  • Social media posts. Some companies use platforms to highlight internal values or recognize achievements, particularly those related to diversity and inclusion.

2. Use your interview to ask strategic questions.

During a job interview, you expect questions about you and your qualifications. But preparing your own queries can help you gain insight, too. “Most workplaces understand that they’re not just interviewing candidates, but candidates are interviewing them,” Rhoads says.


Potential interview questions

  • What specific actions have you taken to promote diversity and inclusion?
  • Tell me about your commitment to diversity in the workplace and why it’s important. Do you have any plans or goals you can share?
  • How do you accommodate people with physical or emotional differences in the work environment?
  • How do you support requests for accommodations in the workplace?
  • How do you encourage employees to show up, authentically, every day?
  • How do you support underrepresented groups?
  • What are your employee retention statistics?
  • What events are important to your company culture?

Larger companies may have more resources to support and nurture diversity and inclusion efforts, says Rhoads, but that doesn’t mean small companies aren’t open to ideas, too. If you like a place of employment, those ideas may be something that you can help develop. “If in an interview they’re genuinely open to collaboration, you could use your passions and strengths to create opportunities,” Rhoads says. “Today’s employees know companies that effectively communicate and care about the whole person are important, too.”

1 https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-2020-census-results-show-increased-diversity-countering-decade-long-declines-in-americas-white-and-youth-populations/
2 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/us/us-census-population-growth-diversity.html
3 https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/cnbc-workforce-survey-april-2021/
4 https://builtin.com/diversity-inclusion/types-of-diversity-in-the-workplace

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel, financial professionals or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.