White entrepreneurs are approaching diversity differently now

April 28, 2021, 5:36 PM UTC

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:

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.

Wondering what else the future of work holds? Visit Fortune‘s Smarter Working hub presented by Future Forum by Slack.

This week's reads

Design systems with your most vulnerable users in mind. (Harvard Business Review
A quarter of women say their family’s financial situation is worse today than before the coronavirus-related shutdowns began in March 2020, compared to 18 percent of men, the poll finds. (Washington Post)
The share of Japanese women in management roles is just 15 percent, below the global average and far from the 30 percent target set by Japan's government. (McKinsey)

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