Establishing a DEI Council makes it possible to ensure a dedicated focus on DEI priorities. This selected group of employees, including executive sponsors, is responsible for setting the short and long-term initiatives identified by the organization, creating DEI programs, and managing their implementation. The DEI Council is a structured and collaborative way to get employees from across the organization to lead, participate in, and own the DEI initiatives. While this council supports the success of DEI efforts, it also provides personal development opportunities and visibility for its members.
For the DEI Council to be effective, we need to ensure:
- Support from senior leadership.
- A composition of diverse members from different ethnicities, gender, generation, department, and other dimensions of diversity.
- Clear goals and expectations, structure, and leadership.
- An understanding of their roles as an advisory group and the DEI initiatives-focused team.
- Estimated time commitment: 2-3 hours per week per member. For employees that are billable, ensure that the organization issues a DEI non-billable code.
- A dedicated annual budget to support the DEI Council initiatives.
- An actionable project plan and metrics to track progress.
- An effective council chair and leadership team, rotating the responsibility for creating the meeting agenda and taking minutes.
These eight puzzle pieces come together to create an efficient, representative, and dedicated DEI Council for any organization. By gaining the support of executives and incorporating the advice from employees, we can revolutionize our view of DEI, creating more diversity than ever before. Through the implementation of a DEI Council, our organizations can constantly progress towards a brighter and more inclusive future.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company. Her mission is providing guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multi-year plan for advancing quality leaders from within their organization.