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What you as a startup stand to gain out of diversity

Sanchit Khera
9th Oct 2017
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Inclusion and diversity are the cornerstones of all things success. There isn’t a single corporation in the world that hasn’t benefited incrementally from diversity of opinion at some stage or another. Corporations that stay diverse in some way shape or form have a statistical advantage when it comes to setting the pathway to success. It’s similar to nature. There isn’t anything in nature that is not diverse in its functioning, including microorganisms to full-formed human beings; hence its inclusion in our businesses is just a natural extension.

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In fact, some of the largest organizations have taken inclusiveness and diversity front and center. Microsoft India’s HR head Ira Gupta has made it a mandate for Microsoft’s vision to invest in talent acquisition in diverse communities. They have several programs and initiatives aimed at recruiting, retaining and nurturing diverse talent – women, differently-abled people and people from all walks of life. They actively work with diversity-focused organizations, conduct multiple regular workshops and training programs aimed at ensuring successful integration of diverse talent.

Courtney Seiter, Inclusivity Catalyst at Buffer, has an interesting job profile. She actively seeks diverse talent in the US to join the multi-million dollar organization. Here’s her take – “My top tip for early-stage startups wanting to make inclusivity a priority would be to start immediately. It may seem like team makeup and demographics isn't the biggest concern when you're just beginning to build out a team, but this is the best time to embed diversity and inclusion into your culture. Diversity debt accrues fast and exponentially, and each new hire paints a picture of who is represented – and who isn't – at your company. If I could go back in time and do things differently at Buffer, I would start much earlier.”

In the US, tech is at the forefront of diversity and inclusiveness, with companies like Doxa at the helm of inclusiveness and women’s rights at the workplace. It’s CEO, Nathalie Miller, who has been on the board of many successful tech startups, is on a personal mission to ensure that women are well represented and satisfied with their path to success. “Part of our message is you don’t have to wait until you’re enormous and then have this afterthought about thinking about inclusion. You can start early.” said Nathalie. Her main focus is on larger startups that have a gut-feel mentality when it comes to one-on-one pickups but can’t do that when they’re hiring hundreds at a time. With her tool Doxa she grades every organization for inclusiveness and diversity and then works with them to build better hiring systems and practices.

A study conducted by Harvard Business School into the ideology of diversity found that companies with both types of diversity are 45% more likely to report market success than those that didn’t. The study was held in two aspects: 1D – intrinsic (including gender, race and ethnicity) and 2D – extrinsic (life experience, work profiles, varying roles, etc). They also reported multiple unseen factors that aren’t clear in the numbers but arise multiple times in employee satisfaction, business success and overall growth of business. According to the study businesses were 70% more likely to enter new markets and grow through diversity. Also, clients from different business spheres also have a more impactful relationship with brands that have a diverse employee profile, as companies with a diverse workforce have 152% likelihood to understand the needs of a client with similar ethnic backgrounds.

Diversity is the cornerstone of any business that wants to succeed long-term. Vision is key, but with a diverse group of people by your side, you can truly provide value and success to your employee base.

Read Also: If women equal men in workforce, India can contribute $700bn to world GDP by 2025

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