How to Establish a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council [Infographic]

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By DeVry University

June 18, 2021
4 min read

In any organization, diversity, equity and inclusion are more than just important – they’re essential. Amazing things can happen when people from different races, genders, cultures, abilities and beliefs work together to execute a plan. Whether you’re brainstorming new concepts, executing a project or trying to solve a business problem, involving people with different backgrounds and experiences can help you achieve your goals more effectively and efficiently.

If you want to help create a more inclusive and informed culture within your own organization, one of the first steps you can take is to establish a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) council. DEI councils can help challenge your colleagues and leaders to create a more accepting workplace for all – and even the smallest strides can make a big difference.

To help you get started, take a look at these tips from our very own DEI council leaders here at DeVry University.

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How to Establish a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council at Your Organization

Race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability and religious beliefs are just a few of the characteristics that we identify with as individuals. But how are employers ensuring that this diversity is reflected in their workplaces? For some organizations, these efforts start with a well-rounded diversity, equity and inclusion council.

What is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council?

A diversity and inclusion council, also known as a DEI council, is a group of leaders and employees who come together to develop and promote strategic plans to enhance diversity.

Why Establish a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council?

A DEI council can help:

  • Foster an environment of respect and acceptance
  • Build awareness and education regarding diversity issues.
  • Create a more collaborative, creative and engaged workforce.
  • Identify and address unconscious bias.
  • Provide a safe place to discuss questions or concerns.

Diversity in the workplace can also impact a company’s performance. A recent study showed when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. In another study, companies with above-average diversity scores reported an average of nearly 20% more innovation revenue than those with a below-average score.

7 Steps to Establish a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

1. Identify the Stakeholders

Start at the top by engaging your CEO and other leaders in your organization. Then, find positive, like-minded colleagues who are eager to have their voices heard and stand up for a cause they believe in. Recruit a diverse group of people from all levels of the company to sit on the council.

2. Elect Leaders and Establish Procedures

Select officers for your council and determine what committees you will have. For example, you might have a recruitment committee that focuses on improving diversity in hiring and a retention committee that ensures diverse viewpoints are valued throughout the organization. Establish term lengths, voting procedures and meeting cadence.

3. Write a Mission Statement

Your mission statement will guide everything you do. It should state your goals in a clear and simple way, such as "to foster an understanding of diversity and to promote diverse and inclusive views throughout our company."

4. Determine Your Business Needs and Initiatives

Your DEI council shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Everything you do should be people-focused, bringing your entire organization together in a cohesive and inclusive way.

5. Keep Initiatives Simple

Focus on simple initiatives that are easy to execute. Even small steps, such as bringing in a diversity speaker or featuring team member bios on your employee portal, can make a huge difference.

6. Set Accountability Procedures

Council members will be responsible for developing, launching and tracking diversity initiatives. But those outside the council should be held accountable, too. Work with your HR team to create more diverse hiring practices. Ensure managers promote diversity and inclusion on their teams. Empower employees to provide feedback on diversity issues in their work life.

7. Be Ready to Pivot

Not every initiative will work out as planned. A huge part of the council’s job is to track initiatives and pivot when you're not making the impact you hoped for.

All Are Welcome Here

At DeVry, we pride ourselves on creating an environment that is inclusive and accepting of all our students, faculty, staff and alumni – and we’re saving a seat just for you. Connect with us today to learn how we can support you on your education journey.

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