How To Tell If Diversity Is Actually Important To An Employer

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In recent years, more and more employers have started recognizing the importance of being “diversity friendly” and are eager to advertise themselves as such.

However, some companies don’t necessarily walk the walk and may still be reluctant to hire an LGBTQ employee, someone who has a disability or a worker who is a newcomer to Canada, for example.

So, how can you tell the real deals from the fakes? There are some common themes which make it clear whether or not companies are practicing what they preach.

The employer actively engages with diverse groups

Many organizations attend career fairs and on-campus events to interact with diverse groups, including Aboriginal job seekers, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, women and newcomers to Canada.

Employers may also target these groups by offering job opportunities or scholarships specifically for them. These opportunities can provide valuable work experience or educational funding for those who may face greater barriers in attending school and finding work.

Employees get involved

Like-minded employees, whether they are Aboriginal, LGBTQ, have a disability, etc., or not, often come together at work to form diversity committees or working groups to improve inclusivity and accessibility, and host or participate in community events with similar goals in mind.

You can think of these groups as similar to on-campus student groups: they are places where people can connect with and support each other, plan fun work events and celebrate workplace inclusiveness.

At Molson Coors, for example, the company recently created a Diversity and Inclusion Council. “One of our company’s top four goals is to develop a highly-talented and diverse team, inspired to deliver results through brilliant execution,” says Sandra Kyle, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition and People Development.

The council’s mission statement says: Molson Coors is committed to diversity and inclusion of our people, our customers and our suppliers.  Developing our diverse workforce and being inclusive remains true to our innovative spirit and our commitment to growth.  Bringing varied backgrounds, experiences and perspectives together allows us to challenge the expected and better serve the needs of our customers around the world.  We recognize that our employees’ unique talent allows us to build and deliver extraordinary brands that delight the world’s beer drinkers.

“This is the Molson Coors way!” Sandra says.

The numbers speak for themselves

Many employers keep track of what percentage of their staff and management teams are women or come from diverse backgrounds. These numbers clearly demonstrate that an employer is actively pursuing a diverse workplace as they are creating measurable goals and actively working to meet these goals.

Not sure where to look? Check if the company features a corporate social responsibility report on its website. CSR doesn’t just mean being green!

Inclusiveness is recognized

Some companies hold internal awards programs to recognize employees who champion diversity initiatives. For example, a women in leadership award to recognize those who have helped other female employees achieve their personal goals.

Often job candidates focus on conforming to fit the environment of their new workplace. Although this is definitely essential (if you are entering an all-business type of workplace, you don’t necessarily want to be spewing out jokes every 10 seconds to anyone who will listen), but it is also essential that you feel comfortable in your workplace.

Your office needs to be a fit for you just as much as you need to be a fit for it. Knowing you are in a safe and inclusive workplace which evidently values diversity will likely make that fit that much easier – especially now that you know what to keep an eye out for!

Which indicators do you look for to tell if an employer is really committed to diversity and inclusion?

Photo credit: Jeff Kubina

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