Inclusion and Diversity in Startups

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Inspired by a class during Mandela Washington Fellowship academic session on sustainable organizations at Rutgers University led by Prof. Kevin Lyons, I started thinking and reflecting more about how diverse and inclusive we are as a company at Questworks. Are we inclusive? Are we diverse enough?

We begun Questworks begun accidentally over 4 and half years ago. We are a spin-off of Strathmore University. We had just delivered award building for Strathmore and I was going to try my luck at one of the consulting firms. But we didn’t want to lose the great team that had delivered the Award Winning Green Buildings. So we decided to begin the company. At Questworks, we focus on hiring the best we can find. In 2015 we received 370 applications, shortlisted 100 for a quantitative exam, interviewed 40 and hired 14. And we continue to do the same. What has happened over the years is that, we have ended up with a very diverse and inclusive team. It didn’t intentionally. It was just the pursuit of the best people we could get. Our 96 employees from 15 ethnicities, 3 neglected groups, 5 nationalities, 8 religious denominations, 45% women among professional staff. And we strive each day to do this because it is the right thing to do. Now, there is reason to be intentional

Other and many studies now agree:

1. McKinsey’s research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
2. Catalyst research shows that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time.
3. Deloitte Australia research shows that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments

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