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5 ways startup founders can increase profits through allyship

Updated: Sep 8

A practical guide to boost startup profits through allyship



Startup founders and CEOs have had to work harder than ever before to boost profit amid a global pandemic, a recession and remote-work. The stress of leading a startup through the pandemic has been widely reported. Startup founders and CEOs have to show resilience as the pandemic continues. Many Tech founders and CEOs are looking at ways to boost profit, increase sales and drive growth in a complex socio-economic context.


Research has shown that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform their competitors by 15% and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by 35%.

With this in mind, how can startup founders and Tech leaders boost profits by becoming better allies to minorities? Here are 5 ways startup founders and Tech leaders can boost profits through allyship:


1. Start with awareness


2. Money where your mouth is


3. Be an amplifier


4. Take a stand against interruptions


5. Normalise diverse interview panels




What is allyship?

Allyship can be defined by the willingness to become an ambassador for change. Allies can suggest new processes that will change ingrained behaviours and create a more inclusive culture. Allies should pay attention to their motivations. An ally actively promotes and aspires to advance the culture of inclusion through intentional, positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole.


Allyship means an ongoing commitment to solutions which prevent prejudice and bias. It is one of the best ways startup founders, startup CEOs and Tech leaders can be involved to help to bring equality for all minorities in their organisation and ultimately boost profits.


How can startup founders and Tech leaders boost profits through allyship?

Although it can be hard to notice how allyship can boost profit at first, an increasing body of research demonstrates the strong correlation between supporting minorities in the workplace and achieving greater financial success.





1. Start with awareness

It is important to start with a basic understanding of the issues involved before any real change can take place. That could start with reading, listening to podcasts, attending events, joining non-profit charities or organisations and encouraging colleagues who are members of the majority group at work to read around the issues and start having conversations, with individuals from majority groups and from minority groups about equality. People should feel comfortable discussing gender, race, ethnic background, disabilities and other social groups in the workplace. You should also be aware, for example, if you’re saying something to a member of an under-represented group that you wouldn’t dream of saying to a member of the majority group.

A startup with a diverse group of individuals who feel supported and included enables more effective marketing to a broader consumer group and taps into related business opportunities, which is a matter of survival for many early-stage startup.



2. Money where your mouth is

As a startup founder or Tech business leader with a voice in decisions on pay, use it. Are your female or ethnic minority colleagues being paid the same as their male or white counterparts for doing equivalent work, both for increases and when initial salary is set? Remember, even a high-performing woman who gets a raise may still not be receiving as much as a man at a similar level doing the same work.

A startup that promotes, encourages, and values diverse perspectives is better positioned to innovate, as team members are more likely to bring their different perspectives, allowing the startup to become a market leader, which is crucial for early-stage startups.



3. Be an amplifier

It may be a cliché from comedy sketches, but men still consistently overlook the ideas of their female co-workers, even sometimes taking the credit for them. If you are a man and hear a great idea from a woman or ethnic minority colleague, promote it, giving credit where it’s due especially when the person is not in the (virtual) room. Amplify and advocate in meetings, cultivate a culture of credit, encourage everyone to identify the originator of ideas, push back on off-topic questions and showing off, take note of how attendees arrange themselves in meeting rooms.


Startups implementing allyship practices foster increased employee inclusion and engagement. They instill a collaborative culture of employees helping each other to achieve goals, which enhances organizational success.



4. Take a stand against interruptions

Women and individuals from minority groups are still often shouted down or interrupted in meetings and other conversations. Challenge interruptions, and help ensure minority group individuals have a voice. challenge yourself to notice and take action when interruptions happen.

Startups that nurture allyship are more likely to win over top talent, and improve performance, employee satisfaction and retention.


5. Normalise diverse interview panels

A lot is said about equal opportunities hiring, but what about interviewers themselves? Ensure your interviewing panels reflect your workforce, so that everyone feels more comfortable at the interview stage, and you’ll be more likely to secure the talent your organisation needs.

Normalising diverse interview panels will also enhance your startup reputation, which is good for sales.


In Summary

Startups seeking to boost profits amid a global pandemic and recession must work twice harder but there are ways to boost financial results through allyship. At Inspired Human, we help startup founders and CEOs double employee engagement through inclusive diversity. Book your meeting now to take the first steps towards increased employee engagement and productivity through inclusive diversity.



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