In recent years especially, you may have heard the words “diversity”, “equity”, and “inclusion”, or the acronym “DEI” being tossed around your workplace. But do you really know what these terms and acronyms mean?
While diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are top of mind for many companies, it’s important that companies and candidates alike truly understand the value of these concepts.
So how can you be sure that you are hiring candidates who understand DEI? Or, how can you be sure that your prospective employer values DEI? By asking them the right questions.
This article will answer questions you may have about DEI, but it will also help you ask the right questions to ensure that whoever you are talking to shares your same important values and beliefs about DEI.
The following questions in this article are great for candidates to ask potential employers, or for employers to ask potential employees. These questions can go both ways.
This post is all about diversity and inclusion questions to ask leaders.
- Diversity Questions to Ask Leaders
- Equity Questions to Ask Leaders
- Inclusion Interview Questions to Ask Leaders
- General Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Questions To Ask Leaders
What Is Diversity and Why Is Diversity Important in Business?
According to BetterUp.com, the term “diversity” “represents a broad range of experiences, including gender, sex, socioeconomic background, upbringing, religion, education, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, neurodiversity, and life experience.”
Further, Ideal.com makes a fantastic point when it comes to diversity when they say that “it’s important to remember that diversity is less about what makes people different—their race, socioeconomic status, and so on—and more about understanding, accepting and valuing those differences.”
It’s not enough to just put different kinds of people together. Those same people need to feel accepted and valued.
Further, according to BetterUp.com, the reason having diversity in organizations is important, is that “when managers and leaders know how to draw out diverse perspectives, build on them, and be inclusive of all the perspectives available on their teams, they get better ideas, question assumptions, identify blind spots, develop new approaches, and create better solutions. As a result, they see massive team innovation, performance, and growth.”
As you can see, having diverse talent can lead to diversity of ideas and diverse perspectives. Ultimately, a diverse group produces great results that you wouldn’t necessarily get at an organization that only hires a certain kind of person.
Additionally, there are various studies that show the importance of diversity in the workplace.
What Is Equity and Why Is Equity Important in the Workplace?
According to Workplace, “Gallup defines equity as fair treatment, access and advancement for each person in an organization.” For example, if pay and benefits are historically better for men than they are for women at a company, this is inequitable.
“How organizations and their workplace cultures treat child care, maternity leave, work-from-home flexibility and family obligations can create an unfair workplace environment.
Office rules or norms may be the same for everyone, but those rules may benefit some while harming others.”
When we think about why equity is important in the workplace, diversity-inclusion-speakers.com shares that “equity means that a diverse workforce feels catered for, particularly with opportunities and the working environment.
This is important as it helps to retain talented staff members, reduce often costly turnover and position your company on the right side of history.”
If an organization is diverse, but it isn’t equitable (i.e. employees aren’t treated fairly) turnover is likely to ensue.
Likewise, if your organization values equity, your ideal potential employee will be looking for an employer with those values as well.
What is Inclusion and Why Is It Important in the Workplace?
Lastly is inclusion.
According to InclusiveEmployers.co.uk, inclusion “in the workplace is about ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected as an individual.” Simply, it’s about making sure that everyone feels included and like they belong.
Inclusion is the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to DEI.
But why is building inclusive workplaces important? Because “organizations focused on building a more inclusive culture attract and retain a wider diversity of talent.
The inclusive culture then empowers diverse talent to think differently and share their experiences and perspectives, which in turn is a key driver for innovation, development and engagement.”
It seems to me that fostering and building a workplace environment that is thriving with the aspects of DEI is a no-brainer.
If you’re hiring for your organization, and you want to make sure that whoever you hire has your same values about DEI, here are a few questions you can ask them.
Likewise, if you are interviewing for a company and you want to make sure that they share your same values about DEI, you can use the questions below to help you gauge the organization’s values.
Diversity and Inclusion Questions to Ask Leaders
Here are tough questions, but great questions, to ask leaders, employers, or candidates.
These questions will definitely give you a good idea of your candidate or potential employer’s knowledge on the topic of DEI and if they have the same values that your organization does.
Diversity Questions to Ask Leaders
Diverse companies, or companies looking to become more diverse, should ask candidates the following questions during the interview process. In terms of diversity, these are great questions to ask.
1. What does diversity mean to you?
2. Have you ever had any formal training around diversity?
3. Do you have any experience working in a diverse organization? Do you have experience working with people with diverse backgrounds?
4. Can you describe some benefits of diversity? Or some benefits of working on a diverse team?
5. Can you give specific examples of a diverse environment? What qualities would make an organization “diverse”?
6. Why is diversity important in the workplace environment?
7. How do you plan to address issues related to diversity? In your experience, what diversity efforts have you spearheaded or been aware of that have been successful?
8. What advice or insight would you give to someone who is new to learning about diversity?
9. Do you think your/our organization is diverse? If yes, why? If no, why not?
10. In which areas can the diversity at your/our organization be improved?
12. How can we improve the diversity of our/your organization? Do you have any ideas for diversity initiatives?
13. How can we continue to learn and ensure that we are fostering a more diverse workplace now and in the future?
14. Can you share a time when diversity benefited a team you were on?
15. Have you ever witnessed discrimination? If yes, how did you handle it?
16. How do you plan to advocate for diversity?
17. [For a Human Resources position] How can we improve our hiring process to ensure that we are hiring for a diverse workplace?
Equity Questions to Ask Leaders
If you want to see what your candidate thinks in terms of equity, it is important to ask the right questions. Here are questions you can ask about equity that will help you get a clear understanding of your candidate’s personal values.
1. What does equity mean to you?
2. Have you ever had any formal training around equity?
3. Why is equity important in the workplace?
4. Can you describe some benefits of an equitable work environment?
5. How do you plan to address issues related to equity?
6. How do you plan to advocate for equity?
7. What advice or insight would you give to someone who is new to learning about equity?
8. Can you give an example of an equitable organization? What qualities would make an organization “equitable”?
9. Do you think your/our organization is equitable? If yes, why? If no, why not?
10. In which areas can we improve equity in our organization?
11. How can we improve equity in our organization?
12. How can we continue to learn and ensure that we are fostering an equitable organization now and in the future?
Inclusion Interview Questions to Ask Leaders
Here are some key questions to ask to ensure you are building a more inclusive environment. If you want to truly understand where your prospective employees / prospective employers stand in terms of inclusion, you ask them these questions.
1. What does inclusion mean to you?
2. Do you feel that you are an inclusive leader/person?
3. Have you ever had any formal training around inclusion?
4. Why do you think fostering an inclusive culture is important for the workplace?
5. Tell me about a time you felt excluded and how it made you feel?
6. Can you describe some benefits of an inclusive work environment?
7. How do you plan to address issues related to inclusion?
8. What advice or insight would you give to someone who is new to learning about inclusion?
9. Can you give an example of an inclusive work environment? What qualities would make an organization “inclusive”?
10. Do you think your/our organization is inclusive? If yes, why? If no, why not?
11. How can we improve inclusion in the workplace? What one way we can make our social events more inclusive?
12. In which areas can we improve inclusion in our organization?
13. How can we continue to learn and ensure that we are fostering an inclusive organization now and in the future?
14. How do you plan to advocate for inclusion?
15. Do you have any ideas for inclusion initiatives?
16. What are your thoughts on inclusion surveys to get a gauge on our employees thoughts and feelings about how inclusive our organization is?
General Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Questions To Ask Leaders
Here are a few more questions to get more applicant insight. These questions will help you discern whether or not your candidate has good intentions and is a good fit for your company.
1. How do you handle stress?
2. Describe your ideal work culture or environment?
3. What does unconscious bias mean to you?
Research shows that when we bring people from different backgrounds together, we come up with better solutions to problems.
Why not bring different kinds of people together to ensure that your company is as successful as it can be?
But what’s more, don’t you want the people within your company to feel as though they belong?
When they feel a part of something, when they feel respected, they are able to bring their best selves to work each day.
Everyone deserves to work and lead in a place where they and the people they work with feel empowered.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important concepts that should be a part of every organization and everyone should feel their presence in their workplace.
Ways to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion
If you want to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion, here are a few Ted Talks that can help you do just that.
1. This is a Ted Talk called “From The Inside Out: Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging” by Wendy Knight Agard that discusses how we can improve diversity, inclusion, and belonging in our workplace by first doing some work on ourselves.
Here are some stand-out quotes from the Ted Talk:
- “If we can’t accept all of our ourselves, then our ability to truly embrace others is compromised.”
- “When we dislike something about ourselves, chances are, we dislike that same trait when we see it in others and this can lead to conscious and unconscious bias.”
2. This is a Ted Talk called “Lets stop talking about diversity and start working towards equity” by Paloma Medina.
What I love about this Ted Talk is that Medina talks about a study where two monkeys, side by side and that could see each other, were taught how to do a trick. When they did the trick correctly, they each got a cucumber as a reward.
In Phase 2 of the experiment, one of the monkeys, when they did the trick correctly, started to get a grape. The other monkey continued to get a cucumber when they did the trick correctly.
BUT monkeys love grapes, and so eventually, when the monkey that was getting the cucumber kept seeing the other monkey do the same trick but get a better reward (the grape) she literally threw her cucumber at the scientist because she was mad!
This is a great experiment that shows how we feel as humans when we are doing the same work as someone else but getting a “crappier” reward. This is a great lesson on equity.
This post was all about diversity and inclusion questions to ask leaders.
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