How Important is DEI to Job Seekers? (Intern Roundtable)
As a recently graduated Black woman who is just beginning her career, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and workplace culture are extremely important to me. When searching for opportunities after graduation I knew I wanted to find a company that shared my values.
One of the reasons I chose Centro was because of their willingness to learn and incorporate DEI, as well as their passion for helping employees to become better versions of themselves. Centro’s CEO Shawn Reigsecker even wrote earlier this year about his own journey of self-improvement and DEI.
Companies are always striving to better ensure success for themselves and their team members, and incorporating DEI and improving workplace culture are great ways to achieve this. In fact, around 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets.
Listening to your employees is an important way to continue that journey to success as a company. If a team feels silenced, tired of trying to speak up, or not heard, that’s a direct reflection on the company’s investment in their people.
To see if other young professionals shared my opinions, I asked fellow Centro interns Bhavika Mullick (Human Resources), Cindy Huang (Paid Search), Tyler Forster (Ad Operations), Damon Whitman (Digital Media), LaTosha Pointer (Growth Marketing) and Nafisa Sarowar (Software Engineer Apps) to discuss.
Wangui Gathungu: In an ideal workplace, how would your employer address and incorporate DEI?
Bhavika Mullick: By having hiring and retention strategies in place, such as community groups. What’s the point of hiring those diverse groups when there is nothing to keep them there and allow them to grow and excel?
LaTosha Pointer: By acknowledging the different holidays within different cultures and not being afraid to encourage or show that we have differences–not just saying “we’re all the same.”
Tyler Forster: By hiring people from diverse backgrounds that can provide different perspectives. Often companies who have more diverse employees tend to do better because they have different backgrounds that can lend more creativity. Also, having a committee that talks about DEI.
Damon Whitman: I think it starts with hiring—you should hire people of all different backgrounds. People who have different backgrounds can offer different perspectives.
Nafisa Sarowar: By listening to their employees and taking their concerns seriously. Just overall support, and that can come in many ways.
Cindy Huang: Acknowledging the diversity within the workplace as well as different social issues. For example, if something in the real world happens, set up a meeting to educate people about what they can do to help.
WG: How important is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace to you?
BM: DEI is probably the most important thing for me, because what is a business without diversity? There are statistics that say if you have diversity then your productivity increases. It introduces us to different cultures and perspectives.
LP: I’m used to being in predominantly white workplaces and being the only minority, so I don’t expect too much when going into new spaces.
TF: Very important. Where I grew up was diverse, so now I seek out diverse environments when I look for jobs.
DW: As a Black queer person, DEI is very important to me. It’s important to me that I’m included because sometimes I’m looked over because I’m so different.
NS: I think it’s important. If a workplace acknowledges that DEI is important, it can encourage more thoughts and perspectives. If they don’t have that and something goes wrong, they won’t know what to do and maybe just make excuses. If you’re not acknowledging everyone fairly, you won’t be able to properly identify the problem and find the best solution for it.
CH: It’s important for me. You kind of stand out in a way being the only minority.
WG: What else are you looking for in an employer?
BM: Having frameworks in place for employee mental and physical health. Now that we’re all remote, it’s harder to separate work life from home life.
LP: Somewhere I can grow and learn. A place I feel comfortable at, where I can gain knowledge.
TF: A company that is attentive to their employees, meaning that they care whether their employees are happy, healthy, and enjoying themselves in a safe environment.
DW: One of the main things I look for is professionalism. I also look for companies that have people that look like me—being a double minority I want to see myself reflected in the company. I want to work for company that genuinely cares about me and not only the work I can do.
NS: A good work/life balance is important. I try to get all my work done during work hours so that I don’t have to take it home.
CH: I want a good team to work with, with a good team ethic.
WG: What do you like about Centro’s workplace culture?
BM: The community groups—I love that you can create your own group about anything you want, and use it to find people who feel the same way. I also like that Centro keeps us interested with different events.
LP: Everybody is nice, and they cater to people’s strengths.
TF: Everyone is genuine about wanting to help you and support you. No one on my team has a problem with taking some time out of their day to help me out.
DW: The first thing that comes to mind is everyone’s supportive nature. Centro really takes their core values to heart.
NS: I love how everyone is so nice and down to earth, and how everyone talks to one another regardless of what position they are in.
CH: I like how everyone is nice, genuine, and willing to help and everyone strives for self-growth.
WG: How did you hear about Centro?
BM: COOP, which is a program for first-generation college graduates or college graduates who received financial aid. It provides you with networking help and help with job prep such as resumes and interview tips.
LP: I heard about Centro through Handshake, but I got my internship through an HR recruiter.
TF: I found out about Centro while researching jobs on LinkedIn.
DW: When I moved to Chicago I Googled “digital media roles in my area” and Centro popped up. I did more research and I saw that they have a good reputation.
NS: A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn. The interview process was casual, and everyone was so nice.
CH: Through an apprenticeship program called COOP. Hearing one of the Centro representatives speak so passionately and genuinely about Centro made me interested.