What policies and practices create a refugee-friendly work culture?
How do you identify prospective refugee employers? A recent article in fastcompany.com outlining six ways to find LGBT-friendly employers offers important perspective we may not think about enough. The recommendations focus on how to look beyond phrases like “equal opportunity employer” to evaluate specific policies and benefits that make an employer welcoming to diversity.
Don’t let the idea of struggling to find and interpret labor market data scare you. The article makes many concrete suggestions for how to use social media and easy-to-find information. Your experience in employer outreach and maintaining strong relationships with HR departments will be helpful, as well.
1. Look for signs of an already diverse workforce. How does the company talks about itself on social media. Here’s another way you can put your established LinkedIn presence to good use. Observe the mix of employees when you’re in that initial needs analysis meeting or driving by while prospecting in an area that makes sense geographically.
2. Check employer’s recent history. Research how the company is portrayed in the media. Google them. Look for articles in your community’s Business Journal or other trade publications. What kinds of community outreach or corporate social responsibility activities are they promoting on their website?
3. Seek out official employment and diversity policies. Look for zero-tolerance policies for harassment or discrimination. Ask about diversity training for staff or any policies that accommodate special circumstances (like language and cultural differences). Ask your HR contacts what types of policies they’d expect to see.
4. Consider the benefits on offer. What kinds of leave are specified in policies covering maternity, paternity of other family-related absences? Are in-house training programs supportive of skill-building for internal advancement? Does the company offer any subsidies or access to benefits like in-house childcare or discounted bus passes?
5. Ask about employee resource groups. If there is a precedent for any kind of peer support, it will be easier to discuss similar strategies as you develop the employer relationship. Does their approach to training include mentoring or job shadowing? Do they offer structured chances for employees to socialize and learn together.
6. Showcase your own skills and qualifications. This looks a little different for the LGBT focus of the original article. The point is to emphasize the benefits of hiring a refugee candidate from the employer’s perspective. No more explanation required for this basic of job development.
Hopefully, most of these ideas aren’t new to you and put job development into a policy framework. Concrete diversity policies and practices make for better starter jobs and increase opportunities for future growth and upward mobility.