In recent years, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) have surfaced as key priorities for organizations across industries, including businesses, government, health care, education, and more. Employees appreciate an atmosphere where they feel valued and free to be themselves, and that there is equal opportunity for everyone to thrive and be successful.
Here are some reasons why startups should care about equity, diversity, and inclusion:
Knowledge and innovation
Diverse teams with members from different backgrounds and perspectives provide a broader range of ideas and greater creativity. This can lead to better problem solving and further innovation.
Companies are practically renting talent nowadays and are lucky to have employees stay for 2-3 years! When workplaces are inclusive and employees see that there are equal opportunities for them to succeed, retention rates are improved and productivity increases.
It's the right thing to do
Beyond the business benefits, prioritizing equity, diversity, and inclusion is simply the right thing to do. By dismantling barriers, you help to promote equitable access to opportunities so that your staff can thrive.
So how can startups embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion?
Reviewing recruitment and hiring practices
Use an EDI lens to examine your recruitment and hiring processes. Only posting qualifications and skills necessary for a job opportunity and using inclusive, unbiased, nongendered language in your job descriptions can ensure your interview panel is diverse and the job is accessible to all candidates.
Creating an inclusive work culture
Create a culture that values and supports all employees. This can include providing diversity training, arranging appropriate accommodations for staff with disabilities, creating affinity groups, and ensuring that everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources. Foster an open, honest and communicative environment and try to be transparent with your EDI efforts.
Seeking out professional guidance
Equity, diversity, and inclusion specialists are always happy to help your company review its practices and provide tailored solutions and strategies for the evolution of your startup becoming more EDI conscious. Invest in this crucial part of your company and your employee culture, and your business will thank you in the long run.
At Vancouver Startup Week, we are proud of our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our commitment to inclusivity has influenced the way we approach marketing, design, volunteerism, and event planning. This year, we’ve worked with Futurpreneur by tapping into their colorful Indigenous entrepreneur network to offer Indigenous founders free tickets to VSW. This is just an example of how we can always strive to do better!
Don't miss our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion event hosted by our sponsors Northeastern University at Vancouver Startup Week. Stay tuned to our schedule for more details.