4 common DEIB mistakes startups can avoid

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As a startup founder, you are likely to be laser-focused on growth. We understand: you can’t do anything if there’s no light. But if you want to survive and thrive as a company, it’s important to invest early in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Related (DEIB).

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In great resignation eraTalent is in high demand, ready to quit and is often driven by factors other than salary.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen startups make the same four mistakes over and over again, and it costs them time, money, and talent. You can’t afford it. Take the time to understand why these DEIB mistakes have long-term costs and use our tips to fix them now.

Mistake 1: Your Recruitment Strategy is Based on Referrals


You managed to bring together a group of talented, inspired people. You are doing well and they are all excited to tell their friends and former colleagues about new job openings. Thanks to their enthusiasm, you’re filling jobs quickly, without even spending money to post or recruit them. Win, right?! Wrong.

First, networks of people are very homogeneous (for example, three-quarters of white Americans, don’t have a single black friend) Despite many anecdotal beliefs about the quality of referral hires, research actually shows that Referrals don’t perform well, You’re not getting the best person for the job – you’re getting the easiest person.

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You are also setting up extremely bad company habits. Good hiring is a habit that involves consistently articulating what is important for each role, evaluating those criteria, and making sound hiring decisions. Referral hiring takes the can of good habits far down the road, where it is much more expensive to fix.

If you want to be a company with a future, you’re going to need a real recruitment strategy. get started Now. Creating an effective recruitment strategy will align your team on what is most important to your organization, ensure you are recruiting the best and help you avoid the lack of diversity almost all large tech companies face today. have been

Start with making sure the referral goes through the same recruitment process as all other candidates. Next, take note of your job description. Make sure they clearly spell out the four to five core skills required for the job, not just a laundry list. Finally, make sure the interviewers actually evaluate those skills in a meaningful way. These stages are the foundation of structured hiring, which 100 years of research Shows are the most efficient way to get hired.

Mistake 2: You don’t have the level of the job

Startups move fast and startup employees are known for being able to “wear many hats”. Surely, in such a fast-paced and uncertain environment, there is no point in writing down job levels, right? Wrong.

Without a basic job-level system, recruitment, compensation and promotion decisions are made based on purely subjective criteria. Eventually, the people you hired, paid, and promoted will start talking to each other and asking how these decisions were made.

If you don’t have a coherent answer that you’re comfortable sharing with them and with your entire team, you’re in trouble. People are willing to accept difficult realities, such as if the current business does not require the support of two senior engineers. They are far less forgiving of poor communication and inappropriateness.

Instead, use redford Or a similar leveling rubric (even if it’s just one department) as a guide for sketching out job levels for each department in your company. This will help you write great job descriptions as it forces you to articulate the key components of each role. Then, you’ll know what people to evaluate when it comes time to make decisions about rewards, such as pay increases and promotions.

Don’t worry: this system is flexible, and you can make changes as you grow. The important thing is that it gets your company in the habit of making decisions based on people. pre planned criteria rather than a bias-prone case-by-case basis.

Mistake 3: Your policies focus on the employees you have, not the people you want

Your current team is mostly 20-somethings with big dreams, similar hobbies and few responsibilities outside of work. It is possible that no one has any partner, let alone the child. So there’s no point in writing down parental leave and flexible work policies, right? Wrong.

Your benefits partly serve as a recruitment advertisement for your company. Your current team may be pleased with the free snack and gym stipend. But ambitious men and women who want a family (90% of Americans do) And this 31% of the workforce with children Have scanned your benefits and decided to pass. Lack of a thoughtful parental leave policy is a sign that you haven’t thought about how to support employees with different life situations and needs.

An equal parental leave policy tells all potential candidates that you think of your employees as whole people and are committed to supporting them over the long term. PL+US offers a step by step guide To create gender-neutral, equitable policy. However, parental leave is just one example. Think of all the talent pools you can tap that may be underrepresented in your company. What kinds of policies and benefits can you provide to support (and attract) those people?

Mistake 4: You Don’t Take Onboarding Seriously

You’re moving fast, so getting to your new employee “fast” includes a quick email and a lack of links and documents to your new hire. That’s okay because those smart self-starters you just hired will figure it out on their own, right? Maybe, but it might cost you dearly.

A hasty, cursory onboarding experience sets your shiny new employees up for failure and disruption. When new employees are thrown into the deep end without a clear understanding of what they expect, they expend precious energy keeping themselves guessing. (In fact, achieve high individuals are especially likely to suffer from “pretend syndrome”) and your employees are not robots – they have a basic human need To connect and fit in with others. Still, 40% of employees feel Isolated at work.

So invest in creating a thoughtful onboarding process. There are many great onboarding templates and checklists to get you started, such as this one, Next, focus on communicating clear expectations by writing down the unwritten rules in the company’s handbook and creating a clear first project.

Lastly, don’t forget personal relationships. A related intervention that we use in populism is to have all existing employees share the mistake they made, Not only does it help people get to know their new partners on a deeper level, but research also shows that others have had to let go of their insecurities. Enhances people’s sense of belonging and performance,

If you’re going to survive as a company, you’ll ultimately need a strong recruitment strategy, job-leveling system, thoughtful policies, and a thorough onboarding process. The question is: Will you leave a sea of ​​disgruntled employees furious at Glassdoor before you fix these four common DEIB mistakes?

Don’t wait! Invest in your people practices and your DEIB strategy as soon as possible. These four common mistakes aren’t just bad for underrepresented employees—they’re bad for all of your current and future employees, which means they’re bad for your startup.

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