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Venture Capital

8 Ways Investors Can Help Portfolio Companies Build DEIB Into Their Hiring Strategies

Kristin Bachman
4 min read

Building a more equitable and diverse workforce has been proven to drive better business outcomes and build happier, more productive workplace cultures. As a result, many founders are seeking education and support in implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives into their company’s growth plans. 

As a mentor and an investor, helping founders build inclusive cultures is one of the most sustainable value-adds you can provide to drive long-term success. 

No matter where your portfolio companies are at in establishing and cultivating their DEIB practices, Hunt Club offers eight ways to support them throughout the ongoing and iterative process:

  1. Maintain a Resource Library
  2. Help Your Founders Collect Hiring Metrics and Workforce Analytics
  3. Remind Them To Collect Nontraditional DEIB Metrics, Too 
  4. Assist Them In Considering The End Customer 
  5. Help Them Employ Inclusive Language In Job Applications
  6. Teach Them About Primacy Bias
  7. Encourage Teams To Recognize and Avoid Micro-Inequities
  8. Use Your Own Network to Their Advantage

Discover how Hunt Club helps investors transform their portfolio companies with high-performance talent acquisition, full-service talent advisory, and our Atlas TRM platform.

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Top 8 Tips to Better Fuel Your Founders’ DEIB Initiatives in 2023

Studies show that teams built with diversity in mind experience higher productivity rates and generate more than double the revenue per employee.

Beyond the value you’re providing to your portfolio companies through funding and organizational structuring, providing DEIB support and best practices can differentiate your value offerings and elevate the startups you’re investing in. 

As your founders experience success, it directly translates into the success of your venture firm. Providing DEIB support and training is just one more way to elevate your portfolio companies, and in turn, increase their ROI.  

Here are eight tips on how to support your founders in their DEIB efforts: 

1. Maintain a Resource Library 

DEIB experts are producing rich content for founders on things like bias-reduction training, building diverse talent pipelines, tips for creating a psychologically safe work environment, and more. 

As a VC, partnering with a DEIB expert can help open doors to relevant training and support resources, diverse talent pools, and new opportunities that might otherwise be overlooked.

2. Help Your Founders Collect Hiring Metrics and Workforce Analytics

While your portfolio companies may not be large enough to have robust workforce data, such as a percentage breakdown of who works at their company, they can begin by evaluating other companies within their industry to help gauge how they are approaching DEIB. 

Analyzing metrics such as the percentage of women, men, and those who identify as non-binary within the industry can help founders understand where the industry is doing well in building a diverse workforce and areas where it can improve.

As their investor and growth advisor, it can be also helpful to conduct an analysis of your board and portfolio as a whole. Start by asking: 

How much of my portfolio are Black-owned businesses?

How many are owned by women?

What percentage of my portfolio employs those with disabilities?

3. Remind Them To Collect Nontraditional DEIB Metrics, Too  

No matter the size of their teams, founders can begin tracking content engagement to better understand who their customers and the main audience is. 

With that information, they are able to see who isn’t being reached and what type of content they need to produce in order to attract a wider audience. 

Diversity among candidates is another metric founders can track. Helping them analyze who is applying, who is being added to the interview pipeline, and which candidates are making it to the second and third rounds of interviews can tell them a lot about whether they have a hiring bias or if they are attracting a heterogeneous pool of candidates.

4. Assist Them In Considering The End Customer 

As your portfolio companies are establishing their brand, it’s essential that they identify their target clients and the type of language that resonates with them best. 

The messaging around a product or service largely impacts who will engage. By partnering with DEIB experts, you can help your portfolio companies identify approachable and inclusive language for both customer and company-facing content.

5. Help Them Employ Inclusive Language In Job Applications

Building on from the point above, including inclusive language in external job posts can drastically impact who applies for the positions. 

For example, gender-coded words such as “assertive” or “determined” can deter women and non-male-identifying people from applying. 

Instead, try exchanging “assertive” and “determined” for words like “interpersonal” and “trustworthy.” 

This simple change can attract a wider range of applicants, increasing the diversity within your portco’s hiring pool.

6. Teach Them About Primacy Bias 

Writing inclusive job descriptions is the first step to attracting top talent, but teaching your founders to prevent primacy bias is the next step. 

What is primacy bias, exactly? 

Primacy bias is when a person focuses on the initial pieces of information or first interaction they have with a candidate rather than their experiences and the information they learn about them later. 

While first impressions are important, qualified candidates can be nervous during the first few minutes of an interview. This is why it’s critical that hiring managers are trained in preventing primacy bias so they can get a well-rounded and fair view of the interviewee.

7. Encourage Teams To Recognize and Avoid Micro-Inequities

Micro-inequities are small events that occur wherever people are perceived to be “different” while often going unrecognized by the perpetrator

Scheduling a meeting during a marginalized coworker’s lunch hour to better fit your schedule or speaking over them during an interview are just two examples. 

Micro-inequities are easily avoidable, but, by nature, they’re hard to detect. That’s why it’s imperative to partner get DEIB support and properly train your teams to identify and prevent them. 

8. Use Your Own Network to Their Advantage

Venture firms are known for being well-connected throughout the venture and startup communities. As a growth advisor to your portfolio companies, it can be advantageous to introduce them to industry leaders who can either join their team or offer consultative services. As your founders scale their teams and processes, it can be especially beneficial to lean into your connections with diversity councils and DEIB experts who can offer additional support and insight.


Work With A Talent Partner Who Goes Beyond Recruiting

At Hunt Club, we take an all-encompassing approach to building equitable teams from the top down. Kevnie Tolliver, Head of DEI, builds partnerships with venture capital and private equity firms, along with individual organizations to guide and advise them as they scale their DEIB practices. From connecting you with a diverse pool of top talent to bias reduction training and a growing DEIB resource library, Kevnie’s expertise can help your team and portfolio companies achieve your diversity hiring imperatives.


We Can Help You Support Your Portfolio Companies With DEIB

From our own organization chart to our hiring strategies, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are in everything we do. 

Together, Kevnie Tolliver, Hunt Club's Head of DEI, and our Talent Advisors help others build diverse teams that positively impact employee and customer satisfaction and retention.

Connect your portfolio companies with the people that will help them thrive. Hunt Club’s network recruiting approach combines best-in-class recruiters, automated sourcing technology, and leading candidates from a diverse talent pool to empower a new method for talent acquisition.

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