Steps to Determining if an Employer is Committed to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
As you enter the workforce, we hope you will find careers that align with your passion, interests, and values. To achieve this, we encourage you to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion approaches in your internship and job search process to help better inform you about the organization you plan to work for.
Adapted from NACE's article on Questions Students May Ask to Assess Your Organization's Commitment to DEI by Chelsea C. Williams, Founder and CEO of College Code. Williams outlines four core points that a company truly values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
- Employer has made commitments to foster a safe and healthy work environment
- Employer has taken actionable steps to improve representation across all levels and titles
- Employer holds leaders, managers, and employees accountable for actions and behaviors
- Employers have sought to center equity through all aspects of the employee process—recruitment, training and development, promotions, pay, benefits, and more
Below is a list of things to potentially do and ask when seeking out an organization who is committed and values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
- Review the employer's website and social media:
- Company Website - When you come across an internship or job role you are interested in, we recommend researching and reviewing the employer's website to get a sense of the organization, culture and employees. Many organizations have a dedicated section on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion integrated in the values, mission or vision, and/or Employee Resource Groups for the organization. It is important to review other parts of the website like "About Us" or "Meet the Team" to learn more about the organization, leadership, and diversity statement.
- Social Media - Review the company's social media to explore if there are events, statements or posts that acknowledge historically minoritized identities, involvement in the community or provide opportunities for employees to thrive. A company's social media presence can help you understand how the company delivers conversations and actions to its constituents and employees.
- Seek out opportunities through employer programs dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion:
Internship with built in DEI - Many organizations offer leadership and internship programs specifically for students from historically underrepresented populations or identities. These programs can range from local to national programs aiming to provide career exploration, career advice, networking, and information sessions with leadership and/or scholarship opportunities. To find internships, check out our list of internship programs for UC Davis Aggies.
- Employee Resource Groups - If an organization has Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), determine how these ERGs support their current employees. Some organizations offer mentorship through these groups including community discussion, monthly meetups, or social events to build teamwork and connection for its employees.
- Networking Events - Attend networking events to learn about the company directly. These networking events provide opportunities to meet with recruiters, managers, and current employees where they discuss how their company values diversity, equity and belonging in their organizations. The Internship & Career Center hosts events such as "Diversity, Belonging and Inclusion at Work," a special networking event that highlights companies with a proven commitment to diversity and inclusion through Employee Resource Groups. Find and register for events on Handshake to participate in upcoming workshops, webinars, and networking events to connect with recruiters about their DEI approaches.
- Ask questions about Equity and Belonging during interviews, networking, and career fair interactions:
At multiple levels of engagements at career fairs, interviewing and networking, you will want to explore and ask questions about the organization to better understand the company. Keep this in mind, as a candidate, you are also interviewing the organization to ensure this is somewhere you want to work, or intern. Below includes a list of questions Williams recommends to students in order to better assess the company's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward?
- What social causes does your organization support?
- Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
- How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
- Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
- Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
- Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
- What resources has your organization provided to support its employees in light of COVID-19 and racial injustices?
Like human beings, companies/organizations grow through different changes throughout the year and their DEI approaches may change over time. It is important to continually use the approaches above to help you determine if your organization of choice aligns with your values, mission, and goals in order to help you make an informed decision on working for an organization you are content with.