Eddie Kim, Co-Founder & Head of Engineering, Gusto
"When your company is really small and looking to build a strong team, you have no choice but to cast the widest net possible in your recruiting efforts. You don't have the luxury or resources to focus your hiring in select areas where you want more diversity (for example, sourcing only female candidates). Besides, any numbers you put together to measure diversity are statistically insignificant when you have fewer than 10 employees.
That's why I believe the most impactful thing thing that you can do at that stage is to foster a culture of openness and inclusiveness with your first few hires. This mainly comes from the type of people you hire. Also, quickly stomp out anything that could cause your culture to veer away from your values. Have everyone watch
. Lead by example. Talk about your ambitions to have an explicit diversity hiring policy as soon as you have more than 10 people, and then start putting that plan in place. And, when you meet candidates who would bring more diversity to your team, put your best foot forward.”
Danielle Weisberg - Co-Founder, theSkimm
“It was really important to us that we establish theSkimm as a company with gender diversity. Of our first five hires, two were male. We didn't want to create a company where the only people working there were in the demo it served. We want to make sure that we always have people with different backgrounds and perspective to challenge our thinking.”
Dan Teran - CEO & Co-Founder, Managed by Q
“I don't think Saman or I either really had much time to come up with an iron clad hiring plan after we had early traction in our beta, so I think we did what most people do and hire from our networks. Our first employee was a few years below me at Johns Hopkins, our third employee had interned for me at a failed art-tech startup when she was 18, and our back end engineering lead was my old roommate.
As we grew, we realized the limitation of this approach - if you only hire from your network, and your network isn't very diverse, your team won't be very diverse either. We got proactive in finding a broad range of candidates for every role, and really thought about the value that a diversity of background can bring to the company. I even enlisted the help of my mother who had chaired an executive diversity group at Johnson & Johnson.
For us, it was important to fundamentally believe that we could produce the best business results by engaging a diversity of perspective and opinions to surface the best ideas, and to share that mentality throughout the organization. As a result we've built a highly diverse team on every axis.”