Monster Thinking

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July 2013

7 Ways to Make Company Diversity a Priority

The following answers are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Is diversity a priority in your startup and if so, how do you achieve it?

Think of Diversity as Perspective People think of diversity as being confined to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. But a single father or someone who grew up in Kentucky has an equally different perspective. Those who have kept their dreams confined don't make the cut with us, regardless of their minority group. A great diversity hire is a minority group unto itself. - Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop     Hire Unique People We are a very diverse team. However, in our hiring process, our only goal is finding passionate and unique people. Because we're a very international travel startup, we tend to get interesting candidates with diverse backgrounds. It's important to hire to your company's core personality. - Paige Brown, Dashbell   Be Conscious of It One day, I looked up and saw 10 white males. The next time I was looking at resumes, I was much more conscious of who I brought in for an interview. I also realized that we were creating a frat house, so we had to make some ground rules to create a comfortable atmosphere for all sexes and ethnicities. - Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stairs and Mylen Stairs   Think of Gender Equality Diversity is a very important part of our culture. We make a concerted effort to have a diverse company, in background and gender. As someone with three sisters, I think gender equality is very important! A diverse group of employees makes everyone feel more comfortable and appreciated. I'd argue it also increases creativity and a feeling of pride in the company. It's a win-win. - Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas   Hire to Fit Your Culture We don't look at any factors typically associated with diversity. We are entering a generation in which people truly don't see gender, race, sexual preference, religion, etc. Making an effort to look at diversity means you are manufacturing a situation. Just hire the best person for the job. Hire because the person fits your culture. - David Cohen, Round Table Companies   Hire Who Fits the Position I hire the best people who are world-class professionals in their field and hungry to become the best while carrying forward our mission. Diversity certainly enhances a work environment, but I place priority on finding the best people who fit the business needs, short term and long term. I'm looking for the superheroes with great superpowers. - Matt Ehrlichman, Porch   Be Aware of Unconscious Bias A lot of people talk about how we don't need to talk about diversity anymore, and I think that is total nonsense. Although I believe we must hire the absolute best talent, most leaders miss the fact that we hold unconscious biases to diverse groups that limit us from hiring the best. I interview twice as many as I hire specifically to meet diverse minds. - Erica Dhawan, Erica Dhawan, LLC
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