A DEI expert’s advice on spotting a safe workplace 


Since the summer of 2020 and the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve mastered the art of calling out companies and organizations that fake care about Black people. All it takes is one tweet or off-key social post and we’re done. But now, big corporations have become experts at broadcasting their new initiatives and it’s not as easy to identify which are safe and which are not. 

DEI expert Amber Cabral is an inclusion strategist, certified coach, speaker, and author of Allies and Advocates: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Culture. Formerly a Diversity Strategist at Walmart Stores, Inc., she founded Cabral Co, a diversity, equity, and inclusive leadership-focused consulting firm, to help organizations ignite behavior shifts to create inclusive cultures. This week, she shares four ways to spot a safe and inclusive work environment with theGrio’s The Reset

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1. Watch how they communicate

“When you’re reading job descriptions, read them to see if they sound biased. Sometimes, that’s your first introduction to a company. And if it’s not a job description, then it might be an email from a person. Read that to see the tone and tenor of that organization. How do they communicate? And there are a lot of clues that you can get from that. Are they very formal? What kind of language do they use in that interaction? Are they calling you Mr. or Mrs.?  Are they open to the possibility of there being another pronoun, which you will see sometimes in people’s signature lines? So there are things that are indicators at the very beginning,

2. Check out their online profile

“If you’re really trying to get a sense of where an organization is on their inclusion and equity journey, the thing that you are going to get from the most is how they speak. And so you’ll find that on the website, you’ll find it in their messaging, to the public.”

3. Actively engage

“The thing that’s really important is to keep that dialogue going, keep the pressure on, keep pushing to have the kinds of conversations that you want to show up in your workspaces. Otherwise, they’re going to stop doing it. Say ‘I appreciate you asking me how to pronounce my last name. This is how you say it.’ And now, all of a sudden, it’s going to encourage the behaviors that we know help to create a sense of connectivity that we haven’t seen in the workplace of old.”

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4. Advance conversations 

“The other thing that I’ve seen happening a lot, and this was happening even a little bit before George Floyd, that conversation changed the world, is that you have started to have people that will deliberately try to connect you with community in your interview process…Companies are starting to do that so that you’re being given the opportunity to ask people who are already experiencing that organization the real questions. What does it feel like to work here? How do you feel included? Are you able to have the hard conversations with your boss when someone does something inappropriate? Are they receptive to feedback on all of those things?”

For more on how to not just survive but thrive in corporate America, watch the full interview above.

Letisha Bereola

Letisha Bereola is a life coach who helps ambitious women overcome burnout and reach their career goals so they feel great at work and happy at home. She’s a former Emmy-nominated TV news anchor, podcast host of AUDACITY and speaker. Learn more: www.coachtish.co

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