Are you seeking to create a diversity and inclusion council to either launch your DEI program, or boost its progress? Leveraging a group of employees to act on behalf of the company – and guide the process – can help to propel your organization to the next level of inclusion and belonging. Here are the five steps that can help you create a diversity and inclusion council.
Understand Your Company’s Current Challenges
Before creating a diversity council, explore the existing challenges your organization is experiencing in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, perhaps your company takes advantage of employee referrals. While referrals often have benefits, they can also create a homogenous workforce – and repel diverse candidates. Being aware of challenges from the outset can help give your diversity council a clear mission.
Establish a Framework
Create a plan for how your diversity and inclusion program will take shape, including the formation of your D&I council. If you already have a thriving D&I program, consider how your council will integrate into and benefit your existing program. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Define the roles and responsibilities of your diversity and inclusion council
- Identify partners for key initiatives
- Establish accurate representation
- Determine membership expectations
- Define meeting cadence
- Track and communicate progress
- Determine how to recruit new members for the council
Get Executive Support and a Budget
Your diversity and inclusion initiatives should come from the top down, while also being employee led. This will ensure you have the proper infrastructure (in other words, budget!) to support the commitments you make in the workplace to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
When you build a diversity and inclusion council, you create an avenue for employees to be directly involved in matters of diversity and inclusion. And when you bring in partners from the C-Suite – as well as HR, Legal, and Finance – you’ll be better able to implement council initiatives.
Identify Your Mission and Focus Areas
Write a mission for your diversity and inclusion council, ideally one that’s in sync with your company mission. You’ll want to make it broad enough to be inclusive and evolve with the company.
Here’s an example mission statement:
We believe every person has equal value, which is why we work hard to expand fair and transparent access to [insert services] and to welcome all kinds of people and their ideas. Our diversity and inclusion council combats discrimination. It promotes respect, inclusion, opportunity, and community in our workplace. It has four elements, including messaging and metrics, attraction and recruitment, inclusion and retention, and community and partnerships.
Build a Strategy and Set Goals for Your Council
Build a strategy for your team. If you follow the same structure as the mission statement above, here’s what each of the four teams will focus on:
- Messaging and metrics: practicing inclusive messaging practices, and tracking employee demographic
- Attraction and recruitment: sourcing diverse candidates from a variety of backgrounds and creating fair hiring processes
- Inclusion and retention: raising awareness of identity in the workplace and cultivating an inclusive community
- Community partnerships: engaging lower-income communities and underrepresented groups
Having a solid plan in place can help your diversity and inclusion program to gain traction within your organization. While it may take time to make progress and feel fully integrated with other elements of your DEI program, you’ll get there eventually! Stay humble, learn from experience, be open to feedback, and foster your passion.
And make sensitivity a part of your workplace, 365, with a Diversity and Inclusion Calendar