Building a D&I Council
This is an example template for crafting a D&I Council vision and mission statement and an outline of the functions the Council performs within your business.
We envision a company in which all employees feel safe and realize their full potential, biases are identified and eliminated whether conscious or unconscious, and our team brings together a wide range of individuals (employees, customers, businesses and investors) who together drive exceptional results. We value nonjudgmental curiosity about others, and we hold ourselves accountable when we think our company is falling short of its potential.
Mission of the D&I Council
The D&I Council aims to bring a perspective, focused on diversity and inclusion, to all elements of the company’s operation. By including team members from all parts of our organization (executives, HR, managers, team members from all teams), we hope to bring considerations related to diversity and inclusion, which are often highly nuanced and multifaceted, into daily discourse and decision-making at all levels. Central to this, we aim to promote an attitude of curiosity and celebration regarding diversity and inclusion.
Who is on the D&I Council?
The Council on Diversity and Inclusion is a committee of passionate team members who want to help the company take strides towards becoming a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse company. Crucially, the council has membership from every department, from HR, and from the Executive Team, and represents an open collaboration among those groups towards shared policy outcomes. Council meetings are on the company calendar, and meetings and subcommittee membership are open to all, though members of the council are required to attend.
What is the role of the D&I Council?
The D&I Council will:
- Promote collaboration and dialogue in the company about issues related to Diversity and Inclusion
- Hold regular, open meetings
- Encourage a positive tone that celebrates successes and identifies opportunities
- Set up panel discussions, small-group discussions, and informal forums (e.g. Slack)
- Embrace and encourage an attitude of curiosity regarding diversity and inclusion
- Create programs and trainings to encourage career growth and good experiences for employees in underrepresented groups
- Establish programs that provide support for employees in underrepresented groups, such as an advocate program or many affinity groups
- Institute learning and training (formal and informal) on topics related to diversity and inclusion for all staff, including managers and executives
- Participate in the employee onboarding process in a way that ensures awareness of the D&I council among new employees and exposes them to a baseline set of topics
- Plan events that help celebrate diversity and further educate employees in the company on the importance of diversity to the success of the organization
- Coordinate the involvement of employees in external events and other outreach into diverse communities
- Provide input into goals related to Diversity and Inclusion, such as improvements on the Pulse Survey, or targets related to self-identification / demographic data
- However, the Council itself will not own these goals; necessarily, they are owned by the appropriate executive, team or HR
- Explore new areas for action or learning about diversity and inclusion
Non-Objectives of the D&I Council
The Diversity committee should not be used as a vehicle for discussing specific employee issues. The committee recognizes that barriers between the DI council, HR and the executives only serve to widen the gap towards achieving our goals. Members of the council representing Exec and HR are full members, and there is no “us” or “them”.
Diversity and Inclusion are topics that are inherently difficult to discuss. While the group is open to all, there is also an explicit expectation that points of view raised within the context of the committee are kept in confidence.
The D&I Council will be led by a council chair, who serves a 1-year term. The chair will be chosen by consensus of the council, the executive team, and HR. In addition, there will be sub-committees for each of the major areas listed above, each of which will have a sub-committee chair. Sub-committee chairs will also serve a 1-year term, but may continue beyond one year.
Role of the Chair
The Chair is responsible for:
- Ensuring that council membership includes the groups outlined above
- Setting and running the meeting agenda
- Providing a mechanism for soliciting agenda topics and reminding all to submit them
- Ensuring that subcommittee chair positions are filled
To be eligible to be chair, a person should have been an employee for some time and have strong organizational familiarity (preferably at least one year).
D&I Council meetings will occur monthly, be on the company calendar, and open to all. The Chair is responsible for setting an agenda and ensuring that presenters are prepared and the meeting runs on a schedule.
Anyone may suggest agenda items by submitting them to the Topic Inbox. The chair will work with the suggester to make sure the topic has adequate preparation and is tailored properly to the audience.
Example Agenda topics:
- A subcommittee presents a plan for an event, survey, etc. and wants feedback
- Panel discussion with recruiting team to learn more about their process
- A team member wants to share learnings from research
- Attendees of a recent community event share their experience
- And many more!
After each meeting, there will be a follow up survey that asks for feedback on the council meeting and also solicits agenda topics.
- Events that celebrate diversity
- Formal and informal training (incl. for new employees)
- Community involvement
- Pulse Survey
- Affinity groups
Subcommittees should meet as necessary (outside of the larger council meetings) to achieve these goals.
A subcommittee that has a direct impact on a functional team must have representation from that team. For example, a subcommittee on recruiting diverse candidates must include the recruiting team, and a subcommittee on engineering interviews must include members from recruiting and engineering.
D&I Council Positions
- Events Subcommittee:
- Formal training / Onboarding:
- Community involvement Subcommittee:
- Pulse Survey Subcommittee:
- Department representative: