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Why is it important to implement a D&I strategy when starting a new business?

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When starting a new business, the core team is often formed first, then more and more people join as the company grows. But if diversity and inclusion are not thought of at the initial stage, then it is achieved with great effort and difficulties along the way.

When is the right time to implement a D&I strategy?

Introducing a diversity and inclusion strategy usually comes at a much later stage after the formation of the new company. This is because in the beginning, when starting a new business, the founder often prioritizes how to quickly launch his new product and make a profit. In these cases, founders first connect with either people they know or those with a similar culture to theirs. At this point, hiring happens quickly and in most cases the necessary time is not taken to think in the direction of diversity.

If, instead, priority is given to hiring diverse people‎ of different genders, ages and capabilities, it sends a signal that, although new, diversity will be important to the company, and thus more talent can be attracted.

What are the risks of delaying the creation of the diversity strategy?

When a company grows without diversity and inclusion policies, it becomes homogenous, and often the people hired are of similar age, experience, and socioeconomic status. Implementing a diversity strategy at such a stage also requires a change in corporate culture. Change management is a difficult and time-consuming process. There may be backlash against new introductions as some employees may become defensive if they do not accept the changes.

Why is diversity important in the long run?

Companies that have diversity and inclusion policies in place have been proven to be more profitable. Thanks to the different perspectives that diverse teams provide, companies can offer their customers a more accurate set of products and services for their needs. Innovations are implemented more easily in teams of people with different profiles. In addition, companies with diverse teams are able to attract talent more easily.

Knowing all this, it is better for the founder to include people with different skills right from the start, as this is much more difficult to achieve later on. Every founder wants their business to be successful long-term, so it’s a good idea to take the necessary measures for inclusion and diversity early on.

How to implement an international diversity strategy?

There are numerous examples of how large companies that are expanding with offices in other countries are trying to implement their diversity strategy in the new location. Because of different cultures, not everything that is considered the norm in one place is directly applicable in another. It is therefore important to understand the complexity and apply good practices that work.

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