How to tell if a company actually cares about diversity and inclusion

Thursday, April 23, 2020

 By Shahla Aliyeva


Many companies have diversity and inclusion enshrined in their core values. However, this does not always mean that they are walking the talk. A diversity and inclusion strategy can be instrumental in helping organizations attract and retain top talent. Studies show that even the mere presence of physical diversity results in improved performance, especially for companies in the tech industry, such as software development.

Organizations have also realized that diversity and inclusion is a business imperative. While some initiatives are rolled out in the face of government compliance checks, some do it out of the need to improve their reputation.

Current and potential employees have also been raising the stakes. As such, it is imperative for employers to engage in hard conversations with all the other stakeholders involved, in an attempt to remain genuinely committed to embracing diversity and inclusion.


Diversity and Inclusion for Developers

Any perceptive developer dreams of working in a company that embraces diversity and inclusion. Diversity breeds stronger teams, especially in tech-fields, where knowledge is highly commoditized. Developers should embrace creativity. Sameness, however, limits creative thinking.


As a developer, you should have your eyes set on working in a company that upholds diversity and inclusion. But it can be hard to discern whether the company lives up to its promise. How can a developer tell whether a potential employer believes in diversity and inclusion?


Many things could be of interest to a job applicant who wishes to join a software development team. Diversity and inclusion, which has not been a significant area of interest, is one of those areas that should be accorded a lot of thought.


If you are only open to an opportunity in a company that cares about diversity and inclusion, how can you tell if a potential employer lives up to your expectations? Here are some key pointers to look for:


  • Composition of Top Leadership

It is easy for a company to promise diversity and inclusion. But these words should be backed by evidence. Else, they do not hold any water. The first thing to look for is the composition of top executives. Are they all the same, or do they appear to be from a homogeneous group? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this is indicative of a lack of intention to embrace diversity.


  • Composition of the Company as a Whole

If you have any doubts, even though the top leadership looks promising, it might be appropriate to look at employees across all levels. Get to their website and ensure that there is diversity on their team. If the people are from diverse racial backgrounds and genders, then they might be walking the diversity and inclusion talk.


  • Look at Their History

A company’s history is one of the best indicators of what they really represent. So it is imperative to research and ascertain whether they have had any diversity or inclusion issues or not. Evaluate the nature of the issues that they have had in the past and how they were resolved.  Make sure you are comfortable with their history.

Don’t forget that you can speak to a company in the interview process and ask them if they do anything towards ensuring they are diverse, inclusive and make special efforts internally, with the hiring process, with client selection and etc. Also, you can ask them if they can share data on the organization’s diversity. That data will give you a clear picture of where the company you are applying to stands.


Of course, one cannot expect any company to come out expressly to communicate their disregard for diversity. As such, you should be on the lookout for any potential red flags. The most important thing to do is know what matters, and pay close attention to it.