Assessing How Committed an Organization is to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

You may often wonder how to find an organization that is committed to hiring a diverse workforce. Here are a few things to consider when you are assessing an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


PRE INTERVIEW: This section has two themes 1) Reflection and 2) Research

Review the Organization’s Mission, Values, and Goals

  • Look for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the mission statement, values, and goals.
  • Does the organization have a diversity statement on its website?
  • All employers are bound by the US agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations enforce federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Does the organization explicitly state its commitment to anti-discrimination?

Assess the Demographics of the Organization & Diversity Affinity Groups

  • Does the organization have a chief diversity officer or diversity manager? (NOTE: this may vary based on organizational size. Smaller organizations may not have the ability to include a full-time dedicated role(s) within their structures, if this is the case, how are they addressing DEI issues?)
  • How diverse is the organization’s Board of Directors?
  • Where Is diversity evident? At the leadership level? Middle management? Only in entry-level positions? 
  • If salary information is accessible, ascertain whether salaries are equitable across different demographic groups within similar roles.
  • Does the organization offer interest groups for employees? Is allyhood encouraged? Many organizations have affinity groups for their employees (i.e. Women’s Groups, Disability Groups, LGBTQ+ Groups, Young Professional Groups, Race/Ethnicity Groups). Organizations that promote the existence of these types of groups are tangibly demonstrating their support. Those who join these groups may be called upon to assist the organization with initiatives that promote diversity and inclusiveness. 

Are there Pipeline Programs to Attract Younger Students from Diverse Backgrounds 

  • Does the organization host internships specifically for diverse populations? Are there designated events, week-long immersions, networking events, etc. that offer opportunities for the organization to connect with diverse groups?
  • Does the organization participate in diversity internship programs such as Management Leadership for Tomorrow, INROADS, or others? 

DURING INTERVIEW: Phone/Virtual Connection/Meet Team Members 

Become Informed!

  • If you are meeting with an organizational representative during a networking event (i.e. information session, Open House), site visit, or interview, you will want to ask some questions to learn more about the organization’s culture and environment.
  • One approach is to ask clarifying questions that will provide greater insight into the information you reviewed on the organizations’ website or from your personal observations from previous experiences. For example:
    • “I read that your organization has a commitment to diversity. What strategies are being employed to ensure you continue to hire a diverse workforce?”
    • “ What are some recent examples of how your organization has demonstrated its diversity and inclusion?”
    • “Are there examples of the organization advancing underrepresented employees to assume positions with greater responsibility and leadership?”
    • MUSE article: 

Observe the Organization’s Recruitment Strategies-Is there a focus on engaging with diverse groups?

  • Does the organization participate in diversity events sponsored by the University Career Center or other UM career offices?
  • What language is used in the job descriptions? Is there evidence of needing to work across diverse groups/styles? (ie. skills/experiences with particular populations, etc.)
  • Does the organization recruit at events hosted by diversity affiliated organizations and associations (i.e. National Association of Black Accountants)?

POST INTERVIEW: Evaluating/Reflect on offer or experience 

Commitment to Community Outreach

  • Many organizations highlight their efforts to give back to the community. Are there examples of the ways in which the organization is engaged in supporting marginalized populations within its community? 

Observe Workplace Environment

  • During your interview, see how offices are arranged? How is the staff interacting with each other?
  • Did you feel welcome when you were in the office environment? How did the staff treat you from the time you walked into the office until the time you left?
  • Are there professional development opportunities (both internal and external)  available? Can you see a clear commitment to DEI through these offerings?
  • Does the organization offer designated spaces to accommodate personal staff requests (i.e. prayer rooms, nursing rooms)?

Has the Organization been Involved in any Civil Lawsuits?

  • Cultural fit is a personal decision. It’s incumbent on you to do some research on the organization. Your research may include investigating where the organization has been involved in any discrimination-related civil lawsuits. You may contact the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to gather this information.

Use the graphic below to keep track of your assessment. Or create your own tool by making a section for "Pre Interview" notes, "During Interview" notes, "Post Interview" notes, as well as a section for "Questions to Ask Organizations".

Strategies for Assessing Organization Culture