How Startups Can Create Inclusion

When we discuss what it means to be diverse, we usually consider gender, race or religion, however it is so much more than this: age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation etc, can all add to diversifying an organisation’s demographics. Building a diverse and inclusive culture in the workplace is easier to achieve and implement the earlier you set out to do so. This is why start-up companies are in a unique position, as the early employees shape the company’s foundations and culture. They can build inclusivity from the ground up, by understanding their employees’ needs and values – thereby creating a culture where everyone feels they belong.

Here are some examples of start-ups doing exactly that:

23 Code Street is a coding school for all women, which includes those who identify as women and non – binary people from all backgrounds and walks of life. They have created a welcoming inclusive culture for all and acknowledge that small things have a big impact and can make a difference – having a place to pray, or to take some time out during a class or event, someone to talk to in a safe environment about your dreams and goals.

Diversity and inclusion isn’t seen as initiatives but as the foundations of 23 Code Street with a mission to empower women with the skills and confidence to be technical.

We believe that when we have a beautifully diverse society, we will have products and services that are built for everyone - Anisah Osman Britton , Founder (23 Code Street)

Their office is accessible for everyone and all the events are alcohol -free and vegetarian to be inclusive as possible, as not everyone feels comfortable in an environment with alcohol and meat. They only use ethical brands such as Karma Cola and Day Old Eats at their events to support other businesses that are doing good and are tackling social problems.

Through our marketing, we share inspiring stories of diverse women to dismantle the stereotypes about women in tech. We strongly believe you can’t be what you can’t see - highlighting women who are underrepresented and sharing their stories to create new role models goes a long way in fulfilling our mission - Serena Chana, Marketing Manager (23 Code Street)

Bulb is an affordable, renewable energy provider with over 900,000 members. They believe that empowering and listening to their members helps them to build a better energy company. They’re making energy simpler, cheaper and greener, together.

Bulb is taking proactive steps to ensure they are building a diverse and inclusive workspace.

The first step in creating a more diverse and inclusive culture is to build a diversity database, which holds all current data on their team and is collected on a quarterly basis. They use the diversity data to track changes over time and evaluate the impact of Diversity and Inclusion programmes.

You can’t improve what you don’t know or understand

When it comes to recruiting, Bulb attends career-networking events specifically for women or BAME people so they can recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds. They are piloting an apprenticeship scheme to broaden the candidate pool. Lastly, they’re introducing pymetrics into their recruitment process for energy specialists, which will help eliminate bias from the process.

Bulb knows that there is more work to be done and are continuously looking for ways to improve and better themselves in this area.

At Bulb we know that diversity makes us a better energy company

11:FS are a Digital banking consultancy that create an inclusive culture through their 4 current programs; Diverse internship, a work experience program, a coaching and mentoring program and speaking at local schools.

If you don’t talk about the things that you have failed or succeeded you’re never truly learning

The diverse internship doesn’t just target recent graduates, but people at any stage in their career who want to give tech a go. The work experience program helps diversify the work environment by bringing in students to learn something different. The students are partnered with a buddy and manager in the organisation, which creates a developing learning culture. There is also an internal learning and development platform created through coaching and mentoring. 11:FS recognise the talent that they have at their company and encourage their staff to coach and mentor others by teaching their skills. Every Friday the company ask their staff to reflect on their success and failures in order to encourage self-development, which applies to all levels of staff no matter what their position. Not only have these 4 areas created an inclusive culture but also evolved into a continuous learning environment whereby everyone is involved.

When we talk about diversity, we talk about how we want different colours, different genders and so forth. But what we’re trying to do is make sure that we are also adding a mix of younger people, less experienced people into the diversity mix - Sophie Theen, Head of HR & Talent (11:FS)

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