Countless studies have demonstrated the benefits of diversity in company teams. Diverse teams are shown to be more innovative, understand customers better and make smarter decisions.(cf: Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter HBR). These are all benefits that ultimately translate into economic gain. According to a McKinsey Study, companies with the highest diversity rates have a 36% higher profitability than those with poor ones.
It’s a well-known fact that women are still underrepresented in the tech sector today. Last Wednesday at Breega, we therefore hosted a workshop to talk about professional equality with our startups. We were lucky enough to be joined by two very inspiring female entrepreneurs: Juliette Delanoe, co-founder of portfolio startup Ubble, and equality expert, Marie Charlotte Johnstone-Rouzier. They shared their stories, experience and some practical advice with us on how to foster gender diversity in a growing startup, creating balanced, and therefore winning, teams. Interested in finding out more?
Read on to discover their key takeaways, insights and tips on helping to build gender equality in your #startup.
“It must come from the top”
It’s not enough for Founders to simply agree with HR recommendations on gender equality. Gender equality should be considered a key requirement and therefore be fully integrated into a company’s strategic thinking. This means setting objectives, taking concrete action and measuring progress and achievements. Companies should define their own success indicators: Quotas ? Shiny statistics ? How your team judges the progress made? You name it !
“People hire themselves”
Building an inclusive and equitable workplace means hiring the right people and making sure to avoid gender bias throughout the recruitment process.
It starts with an inclusive job description. Have coworkers re-read your job descriptions to make sure they don’t subtly exclude certain segments of the population based on criteria that are unrelated to the job requirements themselves. This will increase diversity in your talent pool.
The interviewing phase is another fertile ground for cognitive bias. It is only natural to relate to or feel more connected to people with whom we share a common background or interest but that doesn’t make the candidate the best person for the job or the company. The key to avoiding hiring a series of clones and building a more diverse team is to involve various team members in the interviewing process.
“Women mental load is actually a thing”
Hiring more women is a great step in the right direction, retaining them, providing them with equal career development opportunities and fostering a culture where they feel included is yet another professional equality challenge. Some key steps you can take as a startup is to publish your pay grid for more transparency and implement a parenting-friendly work culture that benefits all employees, regardless of gender. These measures can take the form of flexible working hours, allowing remote work, avoiding team meetings after 6pm, implementing sick-child paid leave…
“This isn’t how a woman should be…”
As a woman, breaking down one’s own barriers is essential.
All of us have experienced, to some extent, the dreaded imposter syndrome: the internal belief that we’re somehow not legitimate or competent enough. It is proven that women tend to experience it more than their male counterparts. As a consequence, women tend to subconsciously set themselves more limits.
Companies can help their employees overcome limiting beliefs and reach their full potential by encouraging them to participate in discussion groups, setting up a mentoring system and offering them coaching. Self esteem is an essential ingredient in productivity.
What’s next ?
Legally, there has been some remarquable progress as regards equal rights; the next step is actively bringing about deep cultural change.
Professional equality is everyone’s fight, regardless of gender. Ultimately gender equality is about giving both men and women the same opportunities. As women’s inclusion in the workplace is increasing, men are given more opportunities to play a greater part in their family lives.
A great illustration of this is last week’s announcement that paid paternity leave in France has officially been doubled from 2 weeks to 1 month ! A sign of greater things to come?
We hope you found this article to be of interest, if you like to share any comments, thoughts and ideas you may have on the subject with us, Team @Breega would love to hear from you!