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How to Create a Diversity and Inclusion Program

By: Erich TollDiversity Insights
3:000 Comments
How to Create a Diversity and Inclusion Program

Are you seeking to create a diversity and inclusion team to either launch your diversity and inclusion program or boost its progress? Leveraging a group of employees to act on behalf of the company – and guide the process – can help propel your organization to the next level of inclusion and belonging.

Here are five steps that can help you create a diversity and inclusion team that is responsible for educating employees on diversity.

Understand Your Company’s Current Challenges

Before creating a diversity and inclusion team, 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 team a clear mission.

Establish a Framework for Your Diversity and Inclusion Program

Create a plan for how your diversity and inclusion program will take shape, including the formation of your D&I team and other cultural diversity solutions.

If you already have a thriving DEI program, consider how your team 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 team.
  • Identify partners for key initiatives.
  • Establish accurate representation.
  • Determine membership expectations and how to recruit new members for your DEI team.
  • Track and communicate progress.

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 or budget to support the commitments you make in the workplace to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

When you build a team to oversee your diversity and inclusion program, you create an avenue for employees to be directly involved with diversity and inclusion. When you bring in partners from the C-Suite – as well as HR, Legal, and Finance – you’ll be better able to implement DEI initiatives.

Identify Your Mission and Focus Areas

Write a mission for your diversity and inclusion team, 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 team 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 DEI Team

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: Practice inclusive messaging practices and track employee demographics.
  • Attraction and recruitment: Source diverse candidates from a variety of backgrounds and create fair hiring processes.
  • Inclusion and retention: Raise awareness of identity in the workplace and cultivate an inclusive community.
  • Community partnerships: Engage with lower-income communities and underrepresented groups.

Having a solid plan in place can help your diversity and inclusion program 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 our Diversity Calendar.

Diversity and Inclusion Program FAQs

What is a diversity and inclusion program?
A diversity and inclusion program is an effort by an organization to create a workplace that welcomes and celebrates a range of different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. The program aims to foster an inclusive environment where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic. The ultimate goal is to enrich the organization’s culture, improve employee satisfaction, and boost overall performance.

What is an example of a diversity and inclusion program?

An example of a diversity and inclusion program could be an organization implementing unconscious bias training for its staff. Alongside this, mentorship programs for underrepresented employees and channels for feedback and open dialogue about diversity issues could be part of the initiative.

What should a diversity program include?

A comprehensive diversity and inclusion program should include various elements such as diverse recruitment practices, diversity training sessions, and clear pathways for reporting discrimination or harassment. Additionally, a dedicated diversity and inclusion team should be in place to oversee and implement these initiatives. This specialized team is responsible for developing strategies, setting benchmarks, and tracking progress. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for various identities and backgrounds can also be beneficial in making employees feel more included and providing a platform for them to voice their concerns and needs.

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