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3 methods for populating the DEI employer collection

Learn how our partners are assessing employers to add to their “invests in diversity” employer collection.

In June 2022, we launched eight employer collections that help your team highlight unique employers to your students. Deciding which employers to boost in the “hires from our school” and “great for internships” collections is relatively straightforward. Meanwhile, the “invests in diversity” employer collection requires more consideration.

We interviewed three institutions to get an inside look at their methods for populating the “invests in diversity” employer collection. We focused on the following questions:

  1. How do you choose which employers to highlight in the collection?
  2. Any tips on engaging students with the collection?

Gateway Technical & Community College

Christi Godman, Vice President, Workforce Solutions, and Paula Barnes, Manager of Employer Engagement, are highlighting opportunities from employers focused on DEI to support Gateway Community & Technical College’s commitment to inclusion infused throughout the College’s strategic plan.

How do you choose which employers to highlight in the collection?

When signal boosting launched in June 2022, Paula added employers with open positions that she knew valued and prioritized DEI to the “invests in diversity” collection. This included:

  • Local employers running DEI programs in conjunction with Gateway
  • Employers that directly reached out and requested to be highlighted for DEI commitment
  • Employers whose job postings and websites detailed programs that encouraged underrepresented applicants

In the future, Paula aims to coach more employers on DEI initiatives (e.g. tuition assistance). Employers that adopt these initiatives will be eligible for the collection.

Any tips on engaging students with the collection?

To keep the collection fresh for students, the team plans to audit it throughout the year and swap out companies that don’t have active job openings.

Villanova University

Since 2021, Maura Jackman, Events & Operations Manager, has been working to increase Villanova students’ awareness of employers that focus on DEI programming. She said employer collections couldn’t have launched at a better time.

How do you choose which employers to highlight in the collection?

To select her list of employers for the collection, Maura reviewed the DEI assessment methodologies of over 10 publications. Ultimately, she established three key criteria:

  1. The publication should assemble their list based on employee feedback rather than corporate statements.
  2. The list should highlight companies with programs that support women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and veterans.
  3. The list should be updated on an annual basis.

Maura landed on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity—the list met her three criteria and, conveniently, included exactly the number of employers Handshake allows in each collection.

Any tips on engaging students with the collection?

Maura plans to update the “invests in diversity” employer collection annually when DiversityInc’s list is republished. The team also sends an inclusive hiring newsletter (along with industry-specific newsletters) where they plan to highlight the collection in the future. Finally, to drive student awareness, Maura’s team posted a summary of their DEI methodology in Handshake’s resource library.

George Washington University

Monica Patterson, Employer Development Consultant, shared that her team at GW took inspiration for employer DEI assessment from their colleagues at The University of Delaware.

How do you choose which employers to highlight in the collection?

Monica used 3 external resources to identify a list of employers that prioritize DEI:

  1. Top 50 Companies from DiversityInc
  2. America’s Best Employers for Diversity from Forbes
  3. Inclusion Index Organizations from Seramount

From there, she took additional steps to narrow the list down to 50 employers for the collection:

  1. Select an initial 120 employers across the 3 resources.
  2. Narrow the list down to 90 based on the employers GW was connected with on Handshake.
  3. Choose 50 employers with active job openings on Handshake.

Any tips on engaging students with the collection?

Monica and her team plan to swap new employers that have DEI programming into the collection on an ongoing basis. They also plan to leverage the following tactics to promote the collection to their students:

  1. Educate career coaches on the DEI employer collection so that they can promote it to students.
  2. Highlight employer collections in their fall communications (ie. newsletters) to students.
  3. Promote employer collections alongside their fairs.

We hope these tactics serve as inspiration for your institution’s DEI assessment methodology and help you decide which employers to add to the “invests in diversity” collection. Once you’re ready to add employers to your collection, here are 3 easy steps to get started. For a deeper dive, check out this training webinar.

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