How to improve DEI initiatives at your startup
As a startup founder, you’ve done the work and faced challenges head-on, creating solutions to all sorts of problems. In light of the tragic events in 2020, it is evident that now...
As a startup founder, you’ve done the work and faced challenges head-on, creating solutions to all sorts of problems. In light of the tragic events in 2020, it is evident that now more than ever it is important to understand and implement DEI (or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) into the workspace.
Here are five steps to improve DEI initiatives at your startup.
When improving DEI in your startup, it’s crucial to first understand why you want to improve. Only when you truly understand the problem, where you are currently at, and why you want to improve will you find the motivation to create achievable goals and fight for change. By understanding the why behind your DEI initiative, you can prevent mission drift. DiversityIQ suggests including aspects of your DEI initiative statement into your startup’s mission statement to keep your “why” always in mind.
Now that you understand “why” you must work through the “how.” One of the best ways to start is to identify areas in need of improvement, get feedback, and analyze different aspects of your company to know what needs improvement.
There are a few different ways to get feedback. Consider sending out an anonymous survey to your staff to identify areas in need of improvement. Hosting a brainstorming session is also a great way to get feedback and come up with ideas together. Lastly, analyzing all departments using SWOT analysis will improve your understanding of what needs to be improved in all aspects of your company. This will take time but analyzing the aspects within your startup that need improvement is the first step to real change.
Once we understand why and how to change, it’s time to put it into practice. This can be done by creating guidelines for each aspect of your company to encourage DEI. Putting your DEI into the infrastructure of your company will ensure that change is taking place and encouraged in all areas whether in customer relations, investor interactions, or between employees. As you put your plan into the framework, be sure to gain perspectives and feedback from your employees to have well-rounded ideas. A great way to do this is through surveys, brainstorming sessions, and talking with your employees to gain ideas for specifics for putting your action plans into your company’s practices and procedures.
Encouraging discussion will help everyone to be on the same page as you move forward. Not only that, it will help encourage feedback, suggestions, and help employees understand each step of the process. Training leaders in DEI and encouraging it in all areas of your startup will also help keep the conversation and improvement going. By encouraging ongoing discussion, you’re encouraging ongoing improvement.
Keep yourself accountable. Put guidelines in place. The only way to continually improve is to not give up. After a season, evaluating where you’ve met your goals and where you fell short will ensure you stay on track. A great way to evaluate yourself and stay objective is to onboard a tech PR firm. This will help you evaluate yourself and stay accountable to your action plan. Not only that but using a good PR team will help you rise above the competition by successfully communicating the great work you are doing on a wide variety of company initiatives. When done well by a PR team, this stream of communications attracts clients, investors, and beneficial media attention.
About Lara Tanner: Lara is an Intern for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft also has a small satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft has been listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas for two years running by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.