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The number of companies seeking to diversify, and in turn strengthen, their talents continues to grow as the world continues its efforts to embrace inclusivity in the workplace. Although this is generally good news, one can say that there is substantial room for growth when it comes to how this diversity is handled in actuality.
This room for growth, in turn, leaves substantial room for keen evaluation — and one not done by the employers, but by the talents of under-represented backgrounds themselves. So, the question is: what do these talents seek in a company? How can employers wow these prospective applicants? Let’s take a look.
1. Stance and progression
The company’s stance is the first thing they will be looking for before they decide whether or not they will want to apply. The organization or company in question should have made a public stance or declaration about social issues, especially recent ones, relating to certain under-represented backgrounds or pertaining to a related crisis. This declaration covers how the company feels about the social issue, what it’s going to do about it, and how it’s going to support the community.
Declarations like this, however, have become a matter of gaining publicity for many organizations jumping on the bandwagon, so prospective applicants of diverse backgrounds would want to go beyond these statements and look into the company’s progression in terms of these issues. Holding continuous talks and events about the social issue in question, and especially doing some actual, tangible work to help the community, would be considered huge advantages for attracting diversity.
2. Leader representation
Another factor for evaluation is the representation of leaders within the organization. They are going to be looking at what the upper management looks like — which is usually a good way to determine if a company practices what they preach in terms of inclusivity. After all, if a company is trying to hire more women candidates in senior leadership positions while the upper management does not have any women slated, it’s going to be problematic.
Top talents do not want to be pioneers in terms of being, in this example, the first woman VP. This will be a risky move on their part. Any employee needs a psychological safety net when moving up into such roles, and it is this kind of clear plan of progression that the under-represented will be looking for in a company that claims to seek diversity.
3. Inclusive language
Employers should also watch out for another criterion for evaluation: inclusive language. The way companies converse to their applicants and employees should already be inherently inclusive.
Statements thrown around in job posts can unintentionally form barriers, but with inclusive language, the employer is always two steps ahead of the conversation, always aware of the applicant’s situation. There is no room for “what ifs” and “I don’t knows,” only clarity. For example, there are job posts now asking for their applicants’ pronouns, some even mentioning that “if you don’t feel one hundred percent qualified, please do apply.”
Employers need to take a proactive approach in addressing these issues, or applicants will form their own conclusions, which could lead to them being unlikely to apply. If done right, however, inclusive language has the potential to be one of the major factors for a surge of applications.
4. Employer reputation
The final major factor to this particular evaluation: employer reputation, which applies to the general public as well. Choosing where you work, after all, is a big life decision — it’s no wonder people take their prospective employer’s reputation very, very seriously.
Insights on reputation are what makes sites such as Glassdoor significant. People read reviews because if there are enough, they are more likely to affect their decision-making process. It’s similar to other experiences, like eating at a restaurant or downloading an app. People read through reviews first before trying it out, because judging from the human experience so far, they know that if a person is happy enough or angry enough, they will type away with all honesty.
It is the negative reviews, however, that will most likely stick to any prospective applicant’s mind. No matter how many great reviews there are, the bad ones risk leaving an impression, sometimes causing applicants to weigh their pros and cons, or even go as far as saying, “I don’t want to experience that for a few years or so.”
This is why companies should be aware of their reputation online so that they know what aspects of their entire operation can be done better. A good approach is to simply be proactive. Employers can ask their employees to leave reviews. If there are too many negative reviews, perhaps that can be the next point of improvement to focus on.