Forget negotiations for a higher salary and bigger bonuses! What everyone needs to concern themselves with is the inclusivity of their prospective employer. Being inclusive is providing equal access to opportunities and resources to everyone. It means nobody faces discrimination or mistreatment based on their background or anything else for that matter. Being inclusive is all about equality and equity.
So, whether you belong to a marginalized group or you are simply concerned with the ethics of the company you’re working for. Here are 5 ways to identify an inclusive employer.
First Impressions Always Matter!
Ever heard ‘never judge a book by its cover’? Or that ‘it’s important to experience it first before forming an opinion’? Well, you should forget all about that. First impressions are beyond important, in identifying inclusive employers. The way an employer presents themselves in front of potential new employees should signal their stance on inclusion.
Our very first dealing with the company is usually overlooked. However there are tell tale signs even before interview as to whether an employer is inclusive or not: the job advertisement/application form. Think about what language is used in their ad; is it leading for a particular age bracket or gender to apply? And if there’s not a correct box for you to check on the application, then they aren’t inclusive.
Other questions to ask yourself are: is the salary mentioned upfront? Does the company offer information on their policies? Are they honest and direct with their responses if they’re asked questions? If yes, then they might be just the place for you. However, if the answer is no to even one of these questions, then you should consider extending your job search.
Do They Practice what They Preach?
Research is also key to identifying not only inclusion but the right company for you. Always start with their website. A company’s website often speaks volumes on their stance on diversity and inclusivity. And often includes their policies and partnerships, and should include a list with their aims and beliefs. Not only will this prepare you for future interviews, but you also can get a general outlook on the company’s values. If their partners consist of companies that have a long history of discrimination against marginalized groups, then you can easily identify that inclusivity is not at the top of their list of priorities.
In addition, looking up online reviews and comments made by former employees can give you a better overview of how things are running in the company. Employers tend to promote their inclusivity through flashy headlines. However, often their words don’t reflect the reality. So, always pay attention to what former employees have to say about an employer. Remember all employers have to follow the equality act by law, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are inclusive by nature.
Perks of the Job
A company which cares about its employees is, for the most part, a good company. So again to identify inclusivity here, we must consider; how do they support its employees? Do they help employees with the work/life balance? How much are they willing to invest in its employees’ futures? These are quite important questions to ask yourself and your future employer before accepting a job offer, or even before applying. But also important for inclusion, the answers to these will be indicative of how adaptable a company is to a multitude of different lifestyles. And also their stance on investing time and money in new employees will truly reveal how equal their opportunities really are.
Company benefits also reveal a lot. Some employers offer discounts, gym memberships or paid meals. All these bonuses are great, of course but are they inclusive? Probably not. A gym membership for example sounds great in theory, however does this benefit a working mother/father who goes home every evening exhausted and feels s/he has to over compensate for the lost time on a weekend? So, what benefits should you be looking for? Paid maternity/ paternity leave, childcare vouchers, healthcare insurance and even pension schemes. These benefits in particular offer a level of security. It shows the employer supports working families, single parents, and individuals with health ailments. They care about their employees home lives and don’t penalise them for having one.
Your Future Co-Workers
Diversity among the members of the staff has never been more important. Not only as a result of ‘woke’ culture but also because of the increased productivity and wider, innovative talent pool. People from a variety of backgrounds, ages and gender identities can bring in newer and fresher ideas which can only benefit the business in the long run. So why wouldn’t a modern day employer relish that and strive for inclusion? we don’t know either..
That being said, diversity within the staff team can always be a performative way for employers to trick candidates into thinking that they are a progressive company. Often, they will hire marginalized people just so they can check the diversity box and promote themselves as an inclusive employer. It is always worth noting whether all employees get equal benefits and salaries. Nothing worse than getting hit by gender pay gap surprise! Or finding out your cis-gendered white colleague who does the same job as you is getting paid more.
Accessibility is a Must
In 2021 the UK government reported that 4.4 million disabled individuals are in employment. These people require additional external support such as disabled access, toilets and parking spaces. It is important for a company to cater to the needs of its disabled employees, which is exactly why accessibility is something that needs to be implemented across all businesses. Even if you are an able-bodied person, working for a company that provides vital support to all its employees can benefit you as well.
How? Well accessibility isn’t just for the disabled. Think about the company’s location for example. Is it only accessible by car or is it along a bus route? If you can only get there by car, that will lessen the pool of diversity. Most young candidates can’t yet afford to put a car on the road, some from disadvantaged backgrounds also may struggle with the financial implications, etc. There are so many things to consider when looking for true inclusion. However if a company has considered this and are highly accessible then the likelihood is they are also truly an inclusive employer.
In today’s era, with thousands entering the workforce each year, inclusivity has never been more important. Believe it or not, it affects everyone, even if you don’t belong to a marginalized community. So, use these five identification methods and remember; an inclusive employer is one that equally values all of its employees, does not discriminate and provides support. It’s an employer worth working for.