A workforce and supplier diversity program provides numerous benefits – benefits that can be extremely helpful to startups in the uber-competitive technology sector. With recent news about the lack of diversity within the tech industry, it should be no surprise that many of the largest players were a bit late in understanding how important diversity is to modern business success.
Diversity with a company’s leadership, employees and supply chain provides more than simple public goodwill and improved bottom lines. Companies that embrace diversity:
- Recruit better talent than peers
- Exhibit above-average employee satisfaction
- Better solve corporate problems through the range of unique perspectives available
- Deliver products and services better to a broader spectrum of customers
- Make better decisions due to different age groups, cultural backgrounds and lifestyles contributing a wealth of experience and knowledge
- Enjoy a more intelligent and able workforce that benefits from learning from diverse coworkers
So when should your startup begin a diversity program?
As soon as you start hiring employees and suppliers.
The earlier you are able to diversify your personnel, the sooner you’ll be able to benefit from everything bulleted above. The broader the abilities, experiences and knowledge of your workforce, the better you’ll be able to discover novel opportunities, plan for unseen challenges, enter new markets, and engage wide-ranging audiences.
Beginning Your Diversity Program
Now that you know you need a diversity program, how should you go about getting started?
- Put someone in charge of diversity
At first it does not need to be their full-time job, but having someone whose goals include expanding diversity is a critical first step to ensuring success.
- Do your research
Understand your company culture as well as the market climate in which you are operating. Know how you are viewed both internally and externally. This will help identify any low –hanging fruit that can be quickly addressed to help your diversity program quickly get up to speed.
- Develop a mission and comprehensive goals
Set yourself up for success by creating realistic goals, and then measure the results. Compare your efforts to those of companies with legacy diversity programs. Once you know your performance, make sure to realistically adjust the next year’s targets. Having yearly goals does double duty by also encouraging a company-wide focus on meeting them.
- Partner with diverse organizations
There are national and regional associations for most every minority group at both company/supplier level and for the hiring of individuals. Get involved and attend the events they hold to broaden your recruiting pool and identify unique sourcing solutions.
- Get the word out!
Share your diversity practices with competitors, industry associations, journalist and most importantly your clients and customers. Not only are consumers willing to pay more for products and services that come from socially responsible companies, you can often gain increased recognition from peers in the form of awards and free media exposure. No one else is going to toot your horn, so get to it!
The steps to starting your diversity program may seem simple, but can often bog down in the execution. To further discuss how to begin or improve your diversity programs, please get it touch.