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Is Your Startup as Inclusive as You Think It Is?

Diversity and inclusion are the buzzwords in the startup sector, with McKinsey research showing that businesses that are committed to these values are 35 per cent more likely to outperform their competitors. HBR has found, meanwhile, that companies with a sound D&I policy are 70 per cent more likely to capture new markets.
As much as most startups like to think that they meet established D&I standards, there are still signs of a lack of diversity and inclusion in business as a whole. For instance, Gallup has found that a whopping 45 per cent of workers in American experience discrimination, 40 per cent of those surveyed believe there are double standards against women, and in a given year, only 19 per cent of people with disabilities are employed.
If you have just launched your startup or you are at the hiring stage, keep the following considerations in mind if you want to be a forward-thinking, equitable company with a happy workforce.

Training Your Management Team from the Beginning

Your management team should not only reflect your commitment to diversity and inclusion by including people of color, women, and people with disabilities, and other groups. Leaders should also receive formal training on how to create a work environment that treats employees equally and is open to feedback, queries, and suggestions.
Training can highlight problems such as unconscious bias, cultural intelligence, and effective collaboration. Leaders should encourage diverse approaches to goals and procedures and articulate their commitment to creating an inclusive, safe place for all employees.

Launching Your Startup in an Inclusive City

There are many considerations to keep in mind when launching a startup—including state tax considerations, the presence of investors, and the pro-business legal reputation of the cities or states of your choice.
Within your list of states, check out disability opportunities in different cities. Features to watch out for include access to affordable health care, equitable employment opportunities, and the number of walkable neighborhoods with access to public transport and places that boost health and sustainability.
Just a few cities with a great reputation in this sense include Overland Park, Kansas (which is home to a host of wheelchair-accessible buildings); Denver, Colorado (which has a fully accessible metro system and a reputation for strong ADA compliance); and Huntington Beach, California (with its stable economy and affordable healthcare).

Communicating with Employees

Leaders should have open communication channels with employees so that those belonging to minority groups—for instance, disabled workers—are able to voice their needs so that the company can respond with required accommodations.
Leaders should be clued up regarding work tasks that can affect the rights of disabled workers. They should celebrate any accommodations made and promote a story-telling and sharing culture.
As such, the use of special tech for the visually- or hearing-impaired, for instance, should be shared in newsletters and other internal communications, so that all workers know that their job can be enhanced (as can their quality of life) through technology, mental health support, dedicated furniture, and other initiatives.
Launching a startup with a good D&I policy is a vital way to attract clients and employees. Startups wishing to set a benchmark in this area should approach diversity and inclusion from a multi-faceted perspective. Training, choosing the right location, and promoting open communication can help create a happy, healthy corporate culture that all employees are proud to belong to.

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