Let's start by explaining the terms diversity and inclusiveness. Diversity is the mix of people in your organization. Inclusiveness is when everyone feels at home and equal. If you ask around, everyone agrees: both are important. But come on, this is no longer an issue in the Netherlands that we have to fight very hard for?
More than 90% of growth money to startups with men
Wrong! Consider this: last year, just over 90% of the growth money spent in the Netherlands went to startups with only men at the helm. Ne-gen-tig percent! How is this possible? How is it possible that this world is still mostly ruled by men? We all know that the most suitable person should hold the position, whether a man or a woman. Are women then less suitable?
Prejudice, prejudice, prejudice
It all has to do with (often unconscious) biases in the world of startups. Often a lack of diversity is not a conscious choice, but arises almost naturally. Male investment managers search their own network of men for a suitable member for the SB of the startups they invest in. Or a man gives input to a job posting for the management team, which is therefore full of "male" terms to which mostly men respond. And then that vacancy is also posted in the company's own network, which indeed consists mainly of men. In short: women really get fewer opportunities in this story.
Why is this actually a problem?
And this is unfortunate. Pity because it is fishing from too small a pond. Because there really is (unconscious) discrimination. Because women entrepreneurs have less chance of raising capital. And because organizations then fail to reflect society. While it has been proven that teams that are diverse and inclusive:
- Being more innovative
- Deliver better products and services
- Making better and more reliable decisions
- Being more productive
- Being attractive to new, talented personnel
An example: are you developing a product for mobility? Involve someone with a physical disability and include their comments. When you do that, your product becomes more accessible to a broader group of end users.
In short, diverse teams are better teams and have a positive impact on the performance of organizations. So we are missing huge opportunities.
This is why NOM has signed the diversity statement #FundRight. With this it promises that within three years it will only invest in startups of which at least 35% of the management team consists of women. A long way to go, because at the moment it is only 12.7%. She also declares that by June 2022 she will have an investment team consisting of at least 35% women. That is currently 32%.
Your own circle colors your perception. 'Take on the village idiot'. Then you are sure to hire someone who is different from the rest.
Tips for diversity and inclusiveness in your organization
Really think about it. How biased are you? And what do you pay attention to when you hire someone? For example, what happens if you only hire people who "fit well in the team"? Right; then you have a team of all the same kind of people. Is that smart? Some tips:
- Read up, engage in conversation, look around, be curious
- What is your bias? (biased thinking pattern)
- Start the conversation in your organization
- Recruit new people 'inclusively,' with an 'inclusive' interview committee
- Become aware of language use, make it inclusive
- Form a policy together
- Provide a safe working environment
- Do NOT go for positive discrimination
What does NOM itself do?
Of course, NOM itself is also working hard on this theme. It strives for a diverse workforce and an inclusive organization. This means: blinkers off and prejudices out the door.
This is what NOM itself does or has done:
- Signing #FundRight
- HR involved and recruitment process under the microscope
- Session with Nommers
- Develop policies
- White paper on diversity & inclusion
- Various blogs
- Various events
Watching, listening, and reading tips
- Whitepaper NOM
- Webinar NOM
- Column Japke-d. Bouma
- Likeability competence dilemma: long live Google
- Jitske Kramer: jam culture and building tribes
- Diversity content on nom.co.uk
- Invisible women, exposing data bias in a world designed for men - Caroline Criado Perez
- Content on Fundright.co.uk - resources and tools