Signs You’ve Found an Inclusive Company That Values Diversity
This is an employees’ market. National unemployment is at a low of under 4%. Yet, across the board, underrepresented employees are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to being welcomed and valued.
In technology, 80% of tech workers surveyed in a recent Atlassian survey agreed that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were important, but underrepresented groups at those companies reported representation, retention, and belonging at levels below 30%. On top of that, 40% of respondents reported their inclusion programs needed no improvement.
Clearly, there’s a disconnect between what overrepresented groups perceive as success, and what underrepresented groups actually experience daily.
It’s important for you as a new sales professional entering the workforce to remember you have options, including working in an environment that ensures individuals, whether underrepresented or overrepresented, all feel the same sense of trust and shared purpose as their peers.
How do you know you’ve found an inclusive company that values diversity?
1. You See Belonging Cues Everywhere
At their core, the processes designed to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion are about trust and belonging. One of the easiest ways to determine if an environment is going to be welcoming and supportive of you is to look for belonging cues, which are small signs of connection.
These are a few that are easy to spot when you walk into an office:
Employees from across departments and backgrounds physically group together
Everyone makes eye contact with one another
Short, energetic conversations take place spontaneously between employees
Everyone asks many questions
Intense, active listening is the norm
Courtesies like saying “thank you,” “bless you,” and holding doors happen constantly
2. The Company Addresses Diversity Directly During the Hiring Process
The best scenario for you during the interview process is that you look around and see a variety of people from different social identities working together harmoniously.
However, in many sales organizations, homogeneity is still the standard. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should turn and run. Companies that directly state they value diversity, admit they lack it, and most importantly, have a diversity policy in place (that they can break down into clear actions) may be good matches for you.
Companies that don’t address diversity at all, however, should trigger your red flag detectors. Beware of words like “colorblind policy” or “meritocracy.” Research shows that merit-based compensation systems are more biased. This makes sense from a behavioral psychology standpoint. When you are convinced your organization rewards employees based on merit, you forget to look for gender and racial biases that influence decisions.
3. The Company Has Formal Processes in Place Around Diversity
Companies that invest in a diversity task force will see 9% to 30% increases in the representation of white women and of each minority group in management over the next five years.
When people know they might have to explain their decisions, they are less likely to act on bias. Task forces, DEI Committees, and HR teams with a designated DEI Lead provide the accountability that makes sure everyone acts according to their best impulses.