LGBTQ+ job seekers are looking for signs of authentic support from companies and organizations, a study finds.

Over the last decade, a growing number of companies and organizations have included messages about diversity and inclusion as part of their employee recruitment efforts.

“As organizations seek to attract a more diverse workforce, it’s important that they’re not just saying that they care but that they embody practices to attract individuals,” says Kristie Moergen, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Iowa State University.

Moergen and coauthors focused on two types of signals on company websites and explored how they affect a job seeker’s initial attraction to and perceived fit with a company. Pointing signals “tell” prospective employees that diversity and inclusion is “embraced.” Examples include a CEO statement of LGBTQ+ support or a picture of employees participating in a pride parade.

Activating signals “show” prospective employees how diversity and inclusion are “actively embodied,” such as an LGBTQ+ employee resource group or training policy for a company’s suppliers.

Between 2020 and 2022, the researchers conducted two experiments and one survey, using Prolific, an online data collection platform, to recruit participants.

The first experiment involved participants who identified as LGBTQ+, lived in the United States, and were active job seekers. Participants looked at one of three websites for a fictional logistics company and answered questions about perceptions of diversity climate, organizational attraction, and person-organization fit.

One of the websites included a high frequency of pointing signals. Another contained more activating signals. With the third version, the researchers replaced the language and images about diversity and inclusion with content related to other values, like commitment.

Read the full article about LGBTQIA in the workplace by Rachel Cramer at Futurity.