At Rastegar, we are proud to have a higher percentage of women employees than any other Austin-area private equity firm of our size. On top of that, more than half of our executive team represents different levels of diversity. Inclusion is at the forefront of our values and we believe strong levels of diversity help skyrocket results, benefiting our business internally – but even more importantly, escalating gains for external partners.
An MIT study shows diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams, potentially increasing revenue by as much as 41%. With more diversity, you gain broader perspectives and ideas, which gives your business a competitive advantage.
Here are some of our favorite ways to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in any workplace.
- Establish a sense of belonging for everyone
Organizational communication is key. At Rastegar, in addition to our email services, we make sure everyone is set up with a Slack messaging account on their first day. Through the app, we also set up different hashtags of topics – such as #general, where everyone is encouraged to participate in the conversation.
- Make team building a regular activity
To bring our entire office staff together, we participate in monthly service projects. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy a few hours out of the office, volunteering as a team. Employees submit philanthropic ideas and we choose a different nonprofit to work with each month. Afterward, for more team building, we attend happy hour together.
- Encourage inclusion among team members
Through a culture of transparency, we encourage employees to promote inclusion in their own ways. This can happen from speaking positively about a colleague, endorsing someone publicly, inviting others to meetings, or sharing career goals with key decision-makers. Competitiveness is a given, but rather than competing amongst ourselves, we focus on working together as a team, so we can all be the best in our industry.
- Demonstrate empathetic leadership
Rather than have your HR team handle diversity and inclusion, start with your management team. Every leader throughout the organization should – both intellectually and emotionally – buy into the value of belonging. Empathetic leaders who are equipped to make the story of diversity and inclusion their own are the ones whose authenticity can set a standard that will be seen throughout the entire organization.
Quotas don’t automatically represent inclusion, so simply hiring a diverse team is not enough. Actions speak louder than words. When you create a diverse culture by showcasing consistent inclusivity through gestures, you will begin to see the benefits of true corporate diversity.