Welcome to Worksheet, a newsletter about how people are working smarter in these turbulent times.
In this week’s edition, S. Mitra Kalita looks at how entrepreneurs are tackling the tough issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.
People of color have long borne the burden of solving for diversity. We shouldn’t.
Consider that my initial instinct for this column on how startups think about diversity was to call Black and brown sources, from funders to consultants to companies themselves. Then I recalled my recent column about why white managers must take on the work of “code switching.”
Startups led by white entrepreneurs are increasingly trying, I found. Their hand has been forced by a few factors:
- 89% of Americans believe 2020 was an opportunity for large companies to hit the “reset” button and focus on “doing right by their workers, customers, communities and the environment.”
- 65% of venture capital firms have no female partners, and 81% have no Black investors.
- 77% of US founders are white or caucasian.
- 76% of employees and job seekers say a diverse workforce matters when evaluating companies and job offers.
Companies launching in this startup boom—business applications were at record highs last year, up 24% from 2019—have a chance to set things right. Fixing hiring practices, missions and work cultures that exclude is as important as the disruption startups already represent to the status quo.
“The past year allowed us to say out loud that the system is broken,” said Hadas Drutman, who consults on experience, communities and culture. “A lot of people think of diversity as a project. It’s not. If you are doing it in a way that’s right, it has to touch every aspect of the business.”
Kalita goes on to write about the ways white entrepreneurs are changing their mindsets—and their workforces.
Read her full column here.
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