All stories

To build an inclusive culture, hire people who value inclusion

Since 2014, Textio has been helping writers be more intentional with the language they use in hiring materials. Writers can see whether the job post they’re drafting might discourage women from applying, for example, or whether their word choice appeals only to millennials. Companies have adopted Textio as one component of broader efforts to attract a more diverse group of applicants, and to hire more fairly and effectively.

Engaging people from a diverse set of backgrounds, however, is just one step in a journey towards a long-term, sustainable culture of inclusion and belonging at any company. You may hire from a more diverse group of people, but if the people you hire don’t experience a real sense of belonging when they join your company, they’re not likely to stay for long.

The truth is that there’s only one way to build an inclusive culture that will stay inclusive: You have to hire people who genuinely want to be inclusive.

With 73% of job seekers saying that they won’t apply for a job unless the company’s values align with their own, this means you need to demonstrate inclusive values in your career website copy, life at work blogs, talent newsletters, and other candidate-facing material.

That’s why we’re introducing Textio for Employer Brand, the first language product that helps you build a welcoming and inclusive workplace by identifying off-putting, exclusive, or offensive language in your employer brand content and guiding you towards the language of inclusion. By following Textio’s suggestions, your writing will appeal to people who understand the importance of diverse perspectives and equal representation; who are committed to building and helping communities; and who see talent not as something you do or don’t have, but as something you grow and develop with experience, hard work, and support.

Why these three attributes—valuing diversity, being community-oriented, and seeing abilities as malleable—in particular? They each help people, especially those from underrepresented groups, feel more accepted and connected to their teams.

Finding people who value diversity, community, and growth

Studies have shown that colorblind ideologies are not effective in reducing racial bias in the workplace—if anything, white people who actively try to ignore race display more biased and unfriendly behaviors towards other groups. In contrast, when companies endorse multiculturalism—a philosophy that involves highlighting and celebrating group differences—people of color report feeling more engaged, valued, and included. This finding has important implications for how companies should express their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their diversity statements. When diversity statements are multicultural and authentic—when they embrace the ways people from different backgrounds can strengthen a team—they signal a more welcoming and inclusive culture.

Several underrepresented groups—especially women—are more likely than others to have communal career goals. That is, these groups are more likely to want to work at collaborative companies where they can give back to society. This difference could help explain why fields like computer science, which are stereotyped as very individualistic, are dominated by white men: Members of underrepresented groups who care about helping others and building relationships might gravitate away from these fields because they see them as incompatible with their communal goals. Research has shown that when you highlight the true collaborative nature of these fields in recruiting materials, women and other underrepresented groups are more likely to show interest in them.

Decades of research have documented the benefits of having a “growth mindset” (the belief that you can expand your abilities with hard work and dedication) over a “fixed mindset” (the belief that abilities are stable, unchangeable traits): students are more likely to succeed, employees are more likely to feel empowered, companies are more likely to be innovative. But growth mindsets at companies are especially important for groups who are stereotyped as lacking “raw talent,” such as women and Black people. This is because these groups carry an additional burden that is triggered by fixed mindset cultures: the concern that any mistake they make will be seen by their coworkers and supervisors not as a learning opportunity, but as evidence that they aren’t actually fit for the job. To help alleviate this concern and attract people who value learning and growth, companies need to communicate a growth mindset in all employer brand content, from career website copy to blog posts. Recent work shows, in fact, that job seekers can infer a company’s mindset even from the few sentences in their mission statement.

It might seem obvious and easy to hire people who hold these values, but many companies struggle here, simply because they don’t communicate their values effectively. As an exercise, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my company’s talent newsletters discuss the benefits of diversity in the workplace?
  • Does my company’s career website frame collaboration as the reason for its success?
  • Do my company’s blog posts highlight the ways employees are helping solve larger societal problems?
  • Does my company’s mission statement encourage employees to challenge and stretch themselves?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, then your company can be doing more to promote inclusion and belonging.

How Textio for Employer Brand works

Textio for Employer Brand helps you appeal to people who value diversity, community, and growth. It measures how much your employer brand content aligns with these values, and gives you guidance to improve it where needed.

Of course, the work doesn’t end here and there are countless ways that bias and discrimination affect people’s experiences at work, especially when leaders and managers aren’t committed to recognizing and addressing inequities in their companies. But by hiring people who share these important values, you will begin to build a strong foundation for a more collaborative and inclusive culture.

Multicultural language

Multicultural phrases are highlighted in green. These phrases reflect a multicultural approach to promoting diversity.

For example, Textio checks to see if you have language like We embrace diversity and want you to bring your whole self to work.

Screenshot of Textio employer brand language guidance for the phrase "bring your whole self" showing a tip that reads "Celebrating cultural difference and acknowledging social bias demonstrates that you value inclusion."

Team-centric vs. Individual achievement language

Phrases that emphasize the importance of teamwork and community are highlighted in green. Textio compares this team-centric language with language about individual achievement, and encourages you to make team-centric language more prominent. Although discussing individual achievement is good in moderation, focusing too much on individuals could perpetuate preexisting stereotypes about the non-collaborative nature of some industries.

For example, Textio makes sure that sentences like My colleagues and I support one another are more frequent than sentences like I developed and led a successful company-wide training program.

Growth vs. Fixed mindset language

Growth mindset phrases are highlighted in green, while fixed mindset phrases are highlighted in orange. Textio nudges you away from fixed mindset phrases and towards language that emphasizes learning and growth.

For example, Textio suggests that you avoid phrases like rockstar or super smart and instead use phrases like dedicated and resourceful.

screenshot of Textio employer brand language guidance for phrase "super smart team" with tip that reads "This is a fixed mindset phrase, which emphasizes raw talent over growth, and will hurt inclusion efforts. Instead you could try: resourceful team, dedicated team"

In addition to these three categories of guidance, Textio for Employer Brand helps you avoid off-putting, exclusive, or offensive language like corporate jargon, harmful phrases, overly aggressive phrases, gendered and sexist phrases, military metaphors, and sports metaphors. For example, instead of our men and women, Textio suggests that you say our people, because calling needless attention to gender in our men and women perpetuates stereotypes and promotes a gender binary.

With each piece of content you put out about life at your company, you’re making subtle but powerful statements about your values. Textio for Employer Brand helps you understand the impact of your language and shape it to reflect the values that are most inclusive: diversity, community, and growth. By highlighting these values, you will attract people who share them, bringing you closer to achieving a culture where everyone feels like they belong.

All stories
Get stories like these delivered right to your inbox.