If you follow the startup world, then you probably know that there have been a few headline stories about culture problems in tech startups (Uber, Tinder, etc.).
Diversity is a big conversation in the startup culture and not one without some contention. There have been quite a few articles and stories about hiring biases and whether or not there should be hiring quotas.
We’re not going to tell you that you need to hire a woman for any position but we are going to tell you that you should hire a woman in a leadership position and you should do so early on.
The truth is, culture starts from the very beginning in startup world. No matter what business you create, the culture is ingrained into the fabric of the company from your very first few hires. You need to be intentional about the culture you create and a woman (or a few women) can help you create the type of culture.
Here’s how they do so.
1. Women bring a level of social sensitivity and empathy to the company.
Women tend to be more empathetic and have stronger listening skills than men. This can be insanely important during the crucial beginning stages of your startup when you are not only striving to create a culture but win over customers.
2. Women can often balance power struggles
There are absolutely power struggles among women but women end up being natural mediators. Why? Because they are more likely to talk about relationships and beneath the surface issues than men. This combined with their natural empathy means they are able to target underlying discontentment and address it in a professional way.
3. A woman might be your customer
There is quite a bit of data about female purchasing habits and one thing is clear, women generally are in charge of purchasing decisions for households. Women also tend to do more research than men. Having a woman on board early can help you get insight into female customers.
There’s an important caveat to hiring women early on in your startup. You shouldn’t hire a woman just for the sake of hiring a woman. Having quotas often leads to individuals in the wrong positions. This can lead to disgruntled employees and larger problems down the road
Instead, you need to be intentional about your hiring process. Consider women or leadership roles and with every role, be intentional about fostering a culture of diversity. Focus on hiring for personality as well as, skill. Multiple interviews with different team members can help this process.
In addition, you may want to drop any one-size-fits-all approaches when it comes to career growth. Part of diversity means adapting to each employee’s individual career goals, which can include parenthood.
These steps will help you create a diverse culture which can help you grow even larger. Diversity is becoming more and more important in hiring. In fact, many new candidates even look for diverse companies so the time to start thinking diverse is now.
A diverse team will contribute new ideas and innovation to your product and startup culture and can help you grow at a faster rate and with better products.