Want to know if a potential employer does more than talk about diversity? Use these tips to find out if the company has a proven commitment to hiring a wide range of people.
For many hospitals, home-care agencies and other healthcare employers, providing care to diverse patients is a business imperative. Does the employer have bilingual workers who can help ensure patients' needs are communicated? Are employees trained to care for patients from different cultural backgrounds? Do the staff members reflect the local population's diversity?
Making the Grade
Many business and special-interest publications regularly compile lists of employers that back up their diversity efforts with proven results. Forbes magazine publishes a list of businesses noted for their diversity policies. Niche publications such as Careers and the Disabled, Working Mother and the Advocate do the same for their communities. "Such publicity gives you some clue into the company," says diversity expert Joyce Moy, director of the Center for Workforce Strategies in Long Island City, New York.
What's the Buzz?
"Listen to what your community is saying about an employer," advises Moy. Don't underestimate the power of these grapevines. What do former employees say about the hospital? If you can, talk to current employees before your interview so you can ask more informed questions about the organization's diversity policies.
Internal Affinity Groups
Does the company foster an environment that encourages employee groups to form around certain issues of common interest, such as ethnicity? Are there support services or special training to help staff members of different cultures work together effectively? "If a company has an affinity group, it's a good sign," says Moy. Call a company or check its Web site for such groups. Better yet, ask your potential employer for a person to contact within the affinity organization and ask questions about the company's atmosphere and policies.
Look the Company in the Face
Kim Mills, education director at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay/lesbian political organization, advises job seekers to "look at how a company gives back to the community." One way to do this is to check out diversity-related events sponsored by the company you're interested in working for. Also, look at the company's Web site to find out if it has a diversity area or publicizes its diversity policies. You may need to check out the hospital or home-care agency's parent organization site to determine this.
Does the employer have a presence on college campuses where minority groups are well-represented? If so, it's a good indication the company is serious about recruiting minorities.
Check the Bottom Line
Investigate whether the employer ties diversity to its bottom line. Not doing so doesn't make the company bad, but it's not making a public statement about diversity either. That concept requires more than just sponsoring events to support social issues. It means a company views serving diverse communities as a comprehensive business advantage. Feel free to ask what a company is doing to contribute to the field of diversity.
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