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Diverse and inclusive teams are a win-win for all

Diversity and inclusion are extremely important in the workplace. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they mean completely different things. Diversity at work relates to a space that embraces the differences between employees – be it racial differences, religion, age, sexual orientation and so forth. Inclusivity relates to embracing those differences and creating a space where those differences are a strength. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I for short) is often embedded into the company’s culture, usually through policies and initiatives aimed at fostering those three key aspects.

According to Deloitte Insights, organizations with a more diverse workforce are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile and nine times more likely to achieve better business outcomes. Additionally, teams with an inclusive leadership see a 17% increase in team performance, 20% increase in decision-making quality and 29% increase in team collaboration.

As mentioned in a research study done by McKinsey, companies need not only a systematic, business-led approach to inclusion and diversity, but also bolder action on inclusion. According to their findings, opinions about leadership and accountability in I&D accounted for the highest number of mentions and were strongly negative. This sentiment underscores the increasing need for companies to improve their I&D engagement with managers.

Because the best moment to implement DE&I initiatives in your business is at the start, Storm4 prepared a few tips on how to go about bringing more diversity and inclusion into your startup.

diversity and inclusion7 tips on how to go about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your startup:

  1. Know why DE&I is important

It is really important that you take the time to understand the reasons WHY you want to bring in diversity, equity and inclusion into your business. Remember it can be a lengthy process, and you don’t need a definitive answer immediately – just dedicate time to properly think about it. Is it because you wish to have your team more diverse? Do you want to target a wider audience of consumers? Is it because it will benefit your business?

There is no simple answer to that, the most important thing is that it need to go along with your own business. Look into the possible goals and the means to achieve these goals, and start from there.

  1. Make it one of the pillars of your mission

Having goals and policies in place related to DE&I is a great step, but if they’re not really reflective of your business mission and at the core of your company, then it won’t really work out. Make sure you include your commitment to diversity and inclusion across your company in a similar way like defining why your business exist in the first place. Having those coexist together will ensure a more successful implementation of DEI in your company.

  1. Set realistic goals and measure the progressdiversity and inclusion

To actually commit to a diversity and inclusion approach in your business, you need to set realistic goals and ways to measure the progress. For a lot of companies, those DE&I goals are tied to monetary success. Basically speaking, if you have a lot of things going on in the business, DE&I usually gets pushed away and is not a priority anymore. Ensuring the goals are tangible and measurable will help to actually achieve them.

  1. Identify a lead for DE&I

The next step after defying your goals and making them your mission is to appoint someone who will act as the lead for diversity, equity and inclusion within your company. They will be the ones responsible for monitoring the progress, review all the results and continually improve the company’s approach. Make sure that once this person has been appointed, to let everyone working know about this – people might feel more inclined to share their insights when they know there is somebody dedicated to taking care of those matters, and it can make it incredibly valuable for the improvement of the DE&I approach.

  1. Hold yourself accountable

Looking back at your startups process when it comes to the initiatives set up in place will be highly beneficial. Reviewing what works and what doesn’t as well as being honest with yourself and people working with you will help to improve. Think about how diverse your company is – look at recent promotions, recent hires and people who left your company as well. See if you can establish any patterns or commonalities, because that will help you prioritize on efforts accordingly. Running a survey through your team could be very beneficial as well, as it can help build an inclusive and diverse culture you’re striving for.

  1. Focus on the talent available

The best practice to opt for is hiring talent that brings new knowledge, different perspectives and live experiences and great ideas. How can you do that? By making sure the language you use in your internal and external communications is inclusive. The best way to go about it is looking into the language you’re using in your job advertisings. Is there any bias in the way you phrase the descriptions? Have a think about how potential applicants can feel when they have a look at your website. If you received good feedback from your current employees – include it! Find a way to work it into your communications and job descriptions to showcase that your employees feel included and valued at work.

  1. Create inclusive spaces

If having an office is still a commitment for your business, wherever it’s possible, try to make sure it’s as inclusive as possible. Think about wheelchair accessibility, or designating spaces for employees where they can rest, meditate, pray or any other purposes. That will help your employees to feel more included and valued. If such things are not possible for the time being, create an action plan for when this possibility arises.

At Storm4, we partner with startups and scaleups at the cutting edge of green innovation to help them meet their mission of a sustainable future. If you are at the cusp of hyper-growth and need advice and support in building your teams or elevating your branding, get in touch today!

We’ve helped some of the most successful GreenTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.