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The benefits of a diverse workforce for any company are endless; with higher revenue, greater innovation, better decision making, higher rates of job acceptances from top candidates, and greater performance than competitors being a few of many.

But research from Inclusive Boards found that to this day, just 8.5% of senior leaders in HealthTech were Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, and nearly 75% of boards had no ethnic minority representation. Moreover, only 9% of HealthTech start-ups are founded by women.

Improving diversity involves intentionality, especially in a start-up organization. It can be considerably easier for larger companies to prioritise diversity, in comparison to small and start-up organizations where the entire company may consist of just a few individuals.

But there are actions that even start-ups can take towards achieving greater diversity. Here are 6 ways that start-ups can foster a diverse workforce and culture.

6 Steps Towards Improving Diversity 

Eliminate Bias In The Hiring Process:

Research shows that the hiring process is unfair and ample with bias, with much of this bias being unconscious sexism, racism, ageism, and so on. To combat this, rewrite job descriptions so that their language is neutral and create clear processes for hiring and promoting on merit. Create a blind system of reviewing resumes so that you don’t see ‘demographic characteristics’, and set diversity goals as a company to keep track of your progress.

Alternatively, working with a recruitment partner means that they will do the first stage of hiring and can actively present you with a diverse shortlist to ensure you are able to be meritocratic in your decision.

Diversify Your Contact List:

As a startup, it’s likely that your contacts consists of family members, friends, friends of friends, schoolmates and colleagues; which means that depending on your background, your contact list might not be especially diverse.

Be intentional in diversifying your contacts by leveraging the power of social media and other networking platforms. Join relevant groups and follow individuals from around the world who are in the HealthTech market. Not only will this improve diversity within your company, it will expand your business network.

Make Work Arrangements Flexible:

Prioritizing Diversity also means creating a workplace that is fully inclusive. Flexible working hours create a more inclusive environment for those observing cultural and religious practices, return-to-work parents, those who need the ability to work around appointments, and so on.

Make it easy for people who require flexible work arrangements to request them and eliminate any stigma attached to doing this. You’ll improve inclusion as well as retention in making all employees feel valued and trusted.

Foster A Culture Where Everyone Is Heard And Respected:

Often, employees resign when they feel like their authentic self isn’t being valued, making it vital that you create an environment where everyone feels heard and respected by the company and its people.

Help people feel included by fostering a culture where employees feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives, and ensure people feel respected regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical abilities or cultural background.

Make it ‘safe’ for employees to voice their opinions and concerns without fear of victimization by paying attention to how you could embrace non-discriminatory policies and practices. This freedom of expression without fear empowers companies to not only listen, but to actively embrace diverse perspectives and beliefs.

Hire Leaders Who Understand The Importance Of These Values:

To fully champion diversity, it needs to start from the top and be promoted by all internal and external partners. It’s the employers responsibility to make sure the company is being diverse in the hiring process and talking openly about the value different people bring to the workplace.

Invite different voices and viewpoints to continue growing your start-up in all directions, get involved in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activities, and listen to concerns that employees bring to you. Leaders must be proactive in educating not just themselves, but other leaders too, and to not assume that people in high positions already have the knowledge and skillsets required to effectively improve diversity. Consider making inclusion training or training in unconscious bias available to senior leaders joining the company.

improving diversity

Acknowledge Differences:

Acknowledging and learning about people’s differences strengthens not only the team, but a manager’s effectiveness. The more managers and team mates learn about each other’s cultures and values, the more comfortable and included the entire workforce will feel. It can be difficult to begin with, but by repeating the company’s diversity values, motivating employees to embrace change, and promoting open communication, employers can begin to foster an inclusive company culture where diversity is unquestionably welcome.

For more on the current state of Diversity in HealthTech, as well a concise breakdown of how Storm3 can actively help your HealthTech advocate for DE&I within the hiring process. If you’re looking to expand your team and improve diversity in your start-up, get in touch. Our processes are in place to help bring amazing and diverse talent to your organization.

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

— now it’s your turn.

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