How to ensure your next job is LGBTQ+ friendly
Now more than ever, companies are looking to be more inclusive of different genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Part of this is due to broader calls in society to be more diverse, and part of it is simply the market talking: more than two-thirds of job seekers have identified workplace diversity as a key component of their job search. When you factor in the 4.5% of the U.S. population that identifies as LGBTQ+, this makes it a significant priority for many.
If you’re one of these majority job seekers who seek inclusivity as part of your next career move, you don’t have to go into it blind, only to find out later in the process whether or not your new prospective company is walking the walk. There are ways to do your due diligence upfront, and make sure you’re seeking out the right company for you.
Check their website and social media
A company’s website is a major part of its company branding, so it should be your first stop in any job application process. Is there a range of people represented on the site? Is there a mission or values statement that specifically commits to diversity, and/or mentions support for LGBTQ+ employees and communities? Does their official social media seem supportive?
It’s a great sign if a company website has a dedicated section to talk about diversity and provides specifics about programs and statistics to back their efforts.
Look into how they supported Pride
Does the company financially support local Pride events? That can show a financial commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, going beyond mere PR mentions, hashtags, or lines on the website.
As important as Pride Month is for showing support, it’s also crucial to look beyond. Lots of companies and corporate brands show tons of support in June–but are they also doing it other times of the year as well? Pride-based support is a more positive indicator than no vocal support, but if there’s no peep about LGBTQ+ inclusivity at other times, it might tell you that it’s not necessarily a year-round priority for the company.
Do some networking
Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn can help you get a little more insight into the people that work for the company. On review sites like Glassdoor, what kind of feedback are self-identified LGBTQ+ employees leaving? As with any reviews, though, you should take extra-glowing ones or extra negative ones with a grain of salt. It’s better to look at trends overall rather than one or two particular reviews–after all, you never know if someone has an ulterior motive.
Through LinkedIn, you can try to connect with people who currently or recently work at the company you’re considering. A brief email can help you get the lowdown on what the company’s culture is like, whether people from minority communities are happy working there, etc. Plus, you never know when having a connection at the company will help at other points in the job process, so your curiosity and connection now could help you later.
If you’re working with a recruiter or an HR rep, do they offer their pronouns? Do they ask for yours? During any interviews (informational or formal), you should feel free to ask specifically about how the company supports its LGBTQ+ employees. You’re not ever obligated to disclose your own personal gender or sexual orientation as part of an interview, but you can still ask more general questions that help you get more information. Questions like these can help you get a comprehensive picture of how the company approaches diversity and inclusion:
- What are the core values for this company?
- Do you have any employee resource groups for LGBTQ+ employees?
- How does this company promote inclusivity among its employees?
- Does this company provide any diversity or unconscious bias training for managers and employees?
The training question is especially helpful for gauging a company’s real, on-the-ground support for a more inclusive workforce. If they have programs in place for educating the organization on diversity, it shows a commitment to addressing this moving forward–not just putting a bandage to solve short-term diversity goals. LGBTQ+ inclusion has become a priority for companies and job hunters alike, and it’s one that can be helped along even further by applicants who look (and ask) for better accountability. If the best talent is committing to organizations that vocally and aggressively support genuine inclusivity, even the stragglers will start to come along as well. Everyone deserves to work somewhere that supports people of diverse backgrounds, and by doing some of this research upfront, you can help make sure that your next opportunity is a good fit.