The Importance Of Diversity In Early Stage StartUps

Research has shown that diverse teams are more innovative and can lead to better business outcomes. Building a diverse team can be challenging but the data is clear on this one.

As a startup consultant, I often find myself discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion with early stage founders. While the benefits of having a diverse team are widely acknowledged, many founders fail to make it a priority in their hiring process. In this article, I aim to explain why this is a mistake and why early stage startups should focus on building a diverse and inclusive culture from the outset.

It is widely known that having a diverse group of employees can enable a company to better serve a diverse audience. However, this is not the only reason why diversity should be a priority. Creating a more inclusive culture can also lead to a better company overall. By valuing and respecting the unique perspectives of all team members, a company can foster a culture of creativity and innovation, leading to accelerated growth.

One reason why early stage founders may not prioritize diversity is the jobs-to-be-done mindset. When hiring, many founders are focused solely on finding someone who can do the job they need done. They may not consider the diverse makeup, opinions, and perspectives that a candidate could bring to the company. However, this is a mistake. Diverse opinions can be valuable at every stage of a company’s growth, and having people from underrepresented populations can accelerate success.

Another reason why early stage founders may not prioritize diversity is that it takes a lot of effort to find and attract candidates from underrepresented populations. It can be a personal choice to invest time and energy into this effort, and in the fast-paced world of startups, it may seem like a distraction from more immediate concerns. However, building a diverse team should not be seen as a distraction from growth, but rather as a baseline for being a more inclusive human and creating a better company overall.

Finally, many startup founders tend to build companies that look like them. They may be surrounded by a certain community, and this can limit their perspective on who can be part of their team. It is important to recognize that most people and most tech startups look like their founder, and this can lead to a lack of diversity in the company. By recognizing the importance of diversity and making it a priority, founders can create a more inclusive culture and accelerate their growth.

In conclusion, it is clear that diversity and inclusion should be a priority for early stage startups. By valuing diverse opinions, making a personal choice to invest time and energy into finding underrepresented candidates, and recognizing the importance of building a diverse team, founders can create a better company and accelerate their growth. As the founder of the startup, PagerDuty, Jennifer Tejada, once said, “Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

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