Is your organization ready to take diversity and inclusion programming to the next level?

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce has a measurable impact on your business: more productive teams, increased engagement, stronger loyalty, and quantifiable bottom-line results. Diversity and inclusion efforts often start with diverse recruiting, to build stronger teams, but once those teams are created there’s much more work to be done.

One way to build a strong, more inclusive culture is to create a diversity and inclusion committee: a guided group of employees working together on D+I projects like code of conduct creation, cultural programming, employee education, management training, and developing recruitment funnels.

Actively involving employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives is an important element of safe cultures. The opportunity to create the diverse, inclusive environment they want to be a part of will help connect your employees to your organization, its culture, and each other.

These six steps will help you set up your organization’s first diversity and inclusion committee and get your people on the road to cultural diversity, safety, and success.

  1. Collect company data
  2. Identify internal players
  3. Build agenda and actionable goals
  4. Recruit employees
  5. Create mission statement
  6. Build action plan

1. Collect company data

To commit to making big changes, you need to set a baseline. We recommend gathering data on factors such as:

  • Gender breakdown across departments, sites, and levels
  • Race breakdown across departments, sites, and levels
  • Age breakdown across departments, sites, and levels
  • Gender, age, and race breakdowns of per-team hiring pipelines
  • Sites and spaces where job ads are shared
  • Salary breakdowns by gender, age, and race

2. Identify internal players

Before beginning to recruit members, identify individuals who have been vocal about diversity and inclusion in the past who may want to take a leadership role in the committee. Having these on-the-ground advocates will help you recruit new members and come up with innovative ideas from outside of the HR bubble.

3. Create mission statement and actionable goals

Before recruiting employees to join the committee, make sure you know what you need and how you’d like to achieve these goals. By drafting and committing to a mission statement, you’ll invest in the future of the committee—and your organization’s culture.

Using the data you collected, meet with your internal “influencers” to set quarterly and annual goals for the committee, with the mission statement reflected in the company’s goals. This keeps messaging and planning consistent, logical, and safe.

Use the planned size of the committee to help guide your goal-setting. For example, if you plan on recruiting 20 members, you can split them into four groups of five people and assign each group its own goal. 

Examples of goals include:

  • Analyzing hiring patterns and building more inclusive hiring funnels for different teams throughout the organization
  • Creating a salary transparency program to encourage compensation equity
  • Building learning and development programs about implicit bias and anti-harassment
  • Writing a code of conduct 

4. Recruit employees

Send all your employees a message explaining the diversity and inclusion committee and its mission, including readings about the importance of diversity and inclusion. If you have anything company-produced, that’s amazing!

A few days later, follow up on that message with a survey for those interested in joining. Ask questions about themselves and their opinions, such as:

  • Classic self-identifiers (Name, age, location, gender, team, role)
  • Why they want to join the diversity and inclusion committee
  • What they can add to the committee and culture
  • What they can gain from the committee
  • Prior involvements in D+I and advocacy work
  • Changes they’d like to make or see in the organizational culture

If you don’t get enough responses to the survey, don’t be afraid to send it out again! Make it clear that people on the committee will have an active role in building the company culture they want to be a part of.

Once you have enough applicants, sit with your core group and put together a diverse committee across organizational levels, ages, genders, races, and opinions. Bringing together executives and junior employees will help you build a culture that’s meaningful for all levels of the organization, and that everyone can feel a part of.

5. Build an action plan

Build a productive committee culture by starting off on an active note. Take time during the first meeting to introduce everyone, but make sure you can go into your mission statement, plans, and goals. Aim to finish the first meeting with a list of goals for participants to sign up for and help to accomplish.

6. Follow through

Don’t let the committee stall out! After the first meeting, make sure your people are working together on the goals they’ve chosen. Set regular check-ins to discuss progress and tactics, and make members accountable for presenting their work.

Take the time in company meetings to discuss the group’s accomplishments and future plans, and encourage employees to share their participation in their CVs and LinkedIn profiles. By making participation something to be proud of, your people will be rushing to join and make a difference.

Shayna Hodkin

From Shayna Hodkin

Shayna lives in south Tel Aviv with two dogs and a lot of plants. She writes poems and reads tarot.