Author: Emily Chou and Logan Jones
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) are critical components of building a successful startup. When companies prioritize DE&I, they tend to have more engaged employees, a more innovative culture, and better financial performance. Here are five ways that startups can promote DE&I:
Develop a DE&I strategy:
Developing a comprehensive DE&I strategy involves various steps that startups should take, such as assessing their current state of diversity, setting specific goals and objectives, developing initiatives and action plans to achieve them, communicating the strategy clearly to all employees, and regularly reviewing and updating it to ensure that it remains effective and relevant. By following these steps, startups can develop a strategy that effectively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
Startups should prioritize recruiting diverse talent to ensure that they have a team that reflects the diversity of their customer base. To attract a diverse range of candidates, companies can begin by evaluating and improving their job descriptions and job postings to ensure that they use inclusive language and highlight the organization's commitment to diversity.
Hold leadership accountable:
Startups should hold their leadership accountable for promoting DE&I. This can be done by setting diversity goals for leadership teams, measuring progress, and providing regular training to ensure that they are equipped to promote DE&I effectively.
Highlight Current Diversity
When candidates see that individuals with the same background, ethnicity, or disability as them work at your company, they may be more inclined to apply. It’s human instinct to be drawn to other individuals who are similar to us, and even if the current employees aren’t similar to a candidate, simply perceiving that the company has created space for a diverse culture makes a candidate who would add to the company’s diversity more likely to join the team. Conversely, companies with employees who all look the same or come from the same schools are less inviting to individuals who don’t fit the mold at first glance. Companies that don’t appear to have a diverse culture are less likely to attract individuals who will add to the company’s diversity, and a lack of diversity equates to diminished perspective, creativity, and skillset that would generate revenue. Demonstrating your startup’s diverse culture through photos on your website, marketing campaigns, and social media will attract more diverse applicants, leading to a stronger, better-equipped team.
Celebrate Key Cultural Holidays
While companies should avoid performative marketing tactics, celebrating Women’s Month by highlighting the women at your company, posting on social media or hosting in-house events for Black History Month, Jewish Holidays, LGBTQ+, etc. sends a clear message that you value your employee’s unique perspectives, challenges, and issues they care about. Positioning yourself as an ally will attract better candidates, retain talented employees, and improve the culture of your startup.
Here at Trusli, we’re as proud of the diverse culture we’ve developed as we are the software we’ve created. That’s why we highlight members of our team and intentionally seek out candidates with unique backgrounds and perspectives to enrich our culture even further. As a female-founded and female-led startup, our CEO specifically emphasizes female empowerment, giving a voice and an unprecedented level of responsibility to the many young female professionals at Trusli. We have high-capacity team members who have immigrated from all over the globe, and Gloria personally mentors each of us beyond our current roles at our startup. Thanks to this approach, we are able to provide the world a better service.
In conclusion, startups that prioritize DE&I tend to have more engaged employees, a more innovative culture, and better financial performance. By developing a comprehensive DE&I strategy, prioritizing recruitment, holding leadership accountable, highlighting your diverse culture, and celebrating key cultural holidays, startups can promote DE&I effectively and build a successful, sustainable business.