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饾棗饾棙饾棞 饾棾饾椉饾椏 饾棜饾椏饾椉饾槃饾榿饾椀



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


路 Increase innovation

路 Improve problem-solving

路 Offer products and services with a stronger appeal

路 Encourage stronger teams by engaging top talent

路 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.



饾棯饾棶饾槅饾榾 饾榿饾椉 饾棧饾椏饾椉饾椇饾椉饾榿饾棽 饾棗饾棙饾棞


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


饾槞饾槮饾槫饾槼饾樁饾槳饾樀饾槳饾槸饾槰: As a startup, find less-common sources of talent and raise your commitment to ensure progress.


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

路 Consider using recruiters and job sites focused on diverse audiences

路 Ensure consistent interviews are train interviewers on DEI principles

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


饾槜饾槮饾槹饾槺饾槶饾槮 饾槚饾槺饾槮饾槼饾槩饾樀饾槳饾槹饾槸饾槾: Someone needs to own the responsibility for DEI.

鈥滒潤勷潤p潤橉潤○潤潤潤烉潤潤 饾櫋饾櫄饾櫀饾櫃饾櫄饾櫑饾櫒 饾櫋饾櫄饾櫀饾櫕饾櫄 饾櫄饾櫕饾櫄饾櫑饾櫘 饾櫏饾櫄饾櫑饾櫒饾櫎饾櫍 饾櫀饾櫍饾櫃 饾櫄饾櫕饾櫄饾櫑饾櫘 饾櫑饾櫎饾櫎饾櫌 饾櫁饾櫄饾櫓饾櫓饾櫄饾櫑 饾櫓饾櫇饾櫀饾櫍 饾櫓饾櫇饾櫄饾櫘 饾櫅饾櫎饾櫔饾櫍饾櫃 饾櫈饾櫓.鈥 鈥 First Round Review**

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

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

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

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

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


饾槡饾樀饾槩饾槵饾槮饾槱饾槹饾槶饾槬饾槮饾槼饾槾: The more you address DEI, the better your efforts:


路 Encourage diversity in your investors and advisors

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

路 Uphold your values in marketing and public relations

路 Participate in community and industry efforts that support diversity

路 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.


饾檨饾櫎饾櫔饾櫍饾櫃饾櫄饾櫑饾櫒 饾櫌饾櫔饾櫒饾櫓 饾櫅饾櫀饾櫂饾櫄 饾櫓饾櫇饾櫄饾櫈饾櫑 饾櫀饾櫔饾櫓饾櫇饾櫄饾櫍饾櫓饾櫈饾櫂饾櫈饾櫓饾櫘, 饾櫕饾櫔饾櫋饾櫍饾櫄饾櫑饾櫀饾櫁饾櫈饾櫋饾櫈饾櫓饾櫘, 饾櫀饾櫍饾櫃 饾櫀饾櫂饾櫂饾櫎饾櫔饾櫍饾櫓饾櫀饾櫁饾櫈饾櫋饾櫈饾櫓饾櫘 饾櫖饾櫇饾櫄饾櫍 饾櫈饾櫓 饾櫂饾櫎饾櫌饾櫄饾櫒 饾櫓饾櫎 饾樋饾檧饾檮 饾櫈饾櫍饾櫈饾櫓饾櫈饾櫀饾櫓饾櫈饾櫕饾櫄饾櫒.

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.


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* Writer鈥檚 note: I鈥檓 a cisgender, straight white male. Those descriptions may not describe my work, but they certainly inform my perspective. It鈥檚 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: https://bit.ly/3qcMpaC

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