As the founder of a startup, you know one of the most crucial pieces to your future success is to hire outstanding talent that will get you exactly where you need to be. You’re already well aware that building a powerful dream team doesn’t happen overnight. To make it possible, you need to hire employees with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. New perspectives and diversity of thought results in well-rounded decision-making. Each unique perspective on how a task should be executed will bring new light to your organization. Think of it as a brainstorming exercise: the best decisions always come from the best parts of a combination of ideas.
Finding employees that fit in your startup is challenging on its own; to incorporate diversity hiring on top of that can be overwhelming. Promoting diversity in startups — while often challenging, is certainly doable. In this article, our team will provide a framework to follow when bringing in those who contribute to the fate of your future superstar organization.
1. Evaluate Your Current State of Diversity
Before you can come up with a plan-of-attack to ensure a diverse hiring model, look at your current employee base, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Where did each of your team members come from? What are their stories?
- During the hiring process with that employee, did they have any unique experiences or perspectives that they shared? If so, what made it stand out?
- Look at their background in terms of industry and career path. How much knowledge from outside industries can your team provide?
- How is your current workforce represented in terms of gender and ethnicity?
- Take a closer look at the last few promotions you’ve offered. Are there common themes among all employees that received them? Are your promotions representative of a multitude of backgrounds, or just a select few?
- Has anyone left recently? If so, take a look at the commonalities among recently turned over employees. How are their skill sets and experiences defined?
Your answers tell the story about your current state of diversity. And, if you’re a part of the 41% of organizations that say they’re ‘too busy’ to implement diversity hiring, you’ll need to shift gears more than you anticipated.
This shift begins with your candidate experience; it should ensure that each candidate feels included from the start of the hiring process. An inclusive strategy will naturally bring in a diverse workforce — feeling empowered to leverage their unique background within the team.
2. Train All Your Employees to Interview Candidates
Diversity goes far beyond the duties of your HR and TA leaders. No matter what the employee’s role is, they should know exactly how to interact with and interview prospective employees. To keep everyone aligned, your process must be consistent.
So, where do things often go wrong? Startups tend to lack the internal bandwidth to efficiently and effectively find new hires. Therefore, there typically aren’t standard processes or training to guide employees in making hiring decisions. Instead (and unknowingly), startup employees rely on their unconscious biases when deciding who should and should not join your startup’s team.
A classic example of this is failing to hire someone because they ‘just weren’t a good cultural fit.’ While you certainly want to hire people who will fit in and get along with the rest of the team, that alone isn’t enough to say no. If you hire people that are too similar to the rest of your team, your chance at promoting diversity within is shot.
To mitigate bias and ensure you’re bringing in a fully diverse workforce, find and create these interviewing resources for your employees:
- Questionnaire Guides
- Interview Kits
- Interviewing Tips from Successful Thought Leaders (via articles, LinkedIn posts, etc.)
3. Write & Share Content That Embraces Diversity
If a candidate is worried their background is not an exact match to the job description or that they’re in a minority they fear will not be represented, be sure to make it evident that their concerns are far from the truth. Promote outside sources that speak to various backgrounds and communities on your social channels and within your blog.
Have leadership write original content that expresses your value of diversity. Point out why organizations should leverage diversity of thought for better decision-making.
Read more: Women who have changed the world of work
Your ability to encourage diversity doesn’t stop there. Attend local events, initiate fundraisers and volunteer outings for those of various backgrounds. A little bit of action goes a long way in terms of your startup’s brand and hiring process.Is your #StartupHiring plan proactive or retroactive? Read why it matters in the @IQTalent blog.Click to Tweet
4. Discover Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Employees’ Differences
Your organization won’t be able to attract diverse talent if you’re not supporting these initiatives internally. We recommend scheduling informal company meetings where each of your employees’ unique differences are discussed and praised. Go beyond their accomplishments in the office; gauge conversations about employees’ most meaningful memories, life-changing travel, music or documentaries that inspire them, and so forth. Having these discussions will make your team more comfortable to embrace their unique selves in the workplace.
5. Fill Your Pipeline with Diverse Talent
Unfortunately, many businesses wait for employees to quit before searching for replacements. This reactive process sets them behind on finding the best talent for their newly vacant positions.
The best way to ensure you’re equipped with a continually growing and diversified team is to maintain a diverse talent pipeline. Rather than focusing on winning that one perfect candidate, consider the constant need for a diverse pool of people ready to join your startup and fill the gaps in your business. After all, startups can see tumultuous periods of turnover and/or sudden growth that you weren’t previously prepared to handle.
Sourcing and engaging candidates for positions that aren’t open yet can be tricky. IQTalent Partners are the talent pipeline experts, and understand the intangible value of diversity. Contact us today to discuss your talent pipeline and start sourcing for your future needs!