Assessing an Organization’s Commitment to DEI

Image by TRESOR69 from Pixabay

Back in 2020, the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) crafted an article with key questions to consider asking prospective employers to better under what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) means to that specific organization and workplace culture. Chelsea C. Williams, Founder & CEO Of College Code, offered NACE a list of insightful questions that students might ask recruiters during interviews or other interactions to assess their organizations’ DEI priority and commitment. To learn more about the work of Chelsea C. Williams and the College Code team, click here

The team here at the UML Career & Co-op Center knows that many of you are currently searching for internships, co-op opportunities, or post-graduation jobs. During your search process, we want to stress how important it is to not only consider the job responsibilities and qualifications, but to also ensure that the company’s values align with your own. One crucial aspect to consider is the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Working for a company that values DEI can not only provide a sense of belonging and purpose but also positively impact your career growth. As an applicant for different positions, there are several questions that you can ask during an interview process that will help you assess a company’s commitment to DEI.

List of Questions to Assess an Organization’s Commitment to DEI:

1. How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward?

2. Does your organization have a chief diversity officer (CDO) or a designated leader to drive DEI and engage internal and external stakeholders?

3. What social causes does your organization support?

4. Does your organization actively support diverse suppliers, contractors, and small businesses?

5. Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?

6. How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?

7. Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?

8. How has your organization prioritized executive accountability toward DEI advancement?

9. 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?

10. Does your organization complete an annual compensation equity analysis?

11. What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustices?

By asking (some or all of) these questions you will better understand what the company values and ensure that you are making an informed decision about whether the workplace culture aligns with your own personal beliefs and goals.

Remember that working for a company that values DEI can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, and can positively impact your career growth. It means that you’ll be working in an environment that values and respects individuals from all backgrounds and has policies and practices in place to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

So, don’t be afraid to ask questions about DEI during your interviews. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about whether a specific company is the right next choice for you to go on your professional journey!

By Kate Loughlin
Kate Loughlin Coordinator, Cooperative Education