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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin

๐——๐—˜๐—œ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต

By recognizing the business and societal value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs, your startup benefits in many ways beyond citizenship:

ยท Increase innovation

ยท Improve problem-solving

ยท Offer products and services with a stronger appeal

ยท Encourage stronger teams by engaging top talent

ยท Connect with more clients

There are many biases in the workplace including the desire to support people who remind us of ourselves.*

Your team may be small and lack resources, so you may have to push in order to seek more diverse input.

๐—ช๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐——๐—˜๐—œ

This is a long-term commitment. The ongoing discussion and any remedies will need to be evolving. However, here are steps to start:

๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ: As a startup, find less-common sources of talent and raise your commitment to ensure progress.

ยท Pursue diverse candidates (e.g. contact a range of college campuses and networking groups)

ยท Consider using recruiters and job sites focused on diverse audiences

ยท Ensure consistent interviews are train interviewers on DEI principles

ยท Include people from different backgrounds and circumstances throughout the recruiting process

๐˜—๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜–๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด: Someone needs to own the responsibility for DEI.

โ€œ๐™„๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ก๐™ช๐™จ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ก๐™š๐™–๐™™๐™š๐™ง๐™จ ๐™ก๐™š๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฎ ๐™›๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ž๐™ฉ.โ€ โ€“ First Round Review**

ยท Create opportunities for all staff to share their thoughts and make it safe for employees to talk about their unique needs and experiences

ยท Build training opportunities (e.g. openly discuss unconscious bias)

ยท Encourage mentorship between people from different backgrounds to pair - you may need to seek mentors outside the company

ยท Measure parity in recruiting, hiring, terminations, compensation, benefits, and promotions

ยท Diversify your network and the networks of leaders in the company

๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด: The more you address DEI, the better your efforts:

ยท Encourage diversity in your investors and advisors

ยท Push the Board to create DEI goals, initiatives, and benchmarks

ยท Uphold your values in marketing and public relations

ยท Participate in community and industry efforts that support diversity

ยท Ask stakeholders for help to diversify candidate pools, mentorship, and advisors

DEI issues challenge us because we are forced to look at circumstances on a deeper level.

๐™๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™™๐™š๐™ง๐™จ ๐™ข๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™›๐™–๐™˜๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™–๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™˜๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ, ๐™ซ๐™ช๐™ก๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ง๐™–๐™—๐™ž๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ, ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™–๐™˜๐™˜๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™—๐™ž๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐˜ฟ๐™€๐™„ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š๐™จ.

We must acknowledge the possibility of bias and be able to hear a range of perspectives.

When the entire team feels supported, that fosters creativity, improves problem-solving, and increases engagement.


* Writerโ€™s note: Iโ€™m a cisgender, straight white male. Those descriptions may not describe my work, but they certainly inform my perspective. Itโ€™s likely that someone from a different background, going through the same experiences as me, would have different interactions and interpretations.

** First Round Review published a great article on inclusive leadership here:

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