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How to Create a Diversity and Inclusion Council

Are you hoping to create a diversity and inclusion council to either launch your DEI program or boost its progress? Using a group of employees to act on behalf of the company and manage the inclusion process can help to propel your organization in the diversity and inclusion sphere. 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, get to know the existing challenges that the organization experiences in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, maybe your company takes advantage of employee referrals. While referrals often have benefits, they can also create a homogenous workforce and turn off diverse candidates. Understanding this from the outset can help give your diversity council purpose.

Establish a framework

Create a plan for how our diversity and inclusion program will take shape, including the formation of your D&I council. If you already have a thriving D&I program, discuss how your council will integrate into your existing program and benefit your organization overall. Here are some best practices you should 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 create 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. Additionally, when you bring in partners from the C-Suite as well as HR, Legal, and Finance, you’ll be able to push through just about any initiative the council brainstorms.

Identify your mission and focus areas

Draft a mission for your diversity and inclusion council that ties back to 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 every kind of person and their ideas. Our diversity and inclusion council combats discrimination and 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, roles, and responsibilities for the diversity 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

Having inclusive messaging practices and updated employee demographic metrics 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

Final Thoughts

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 your data, be open to feedback, and never lose your passion.

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