entrepreneur. Inclusive Marketer. business strategist. Certified Diversity Executive. Vice President of Business Strategy for The Diversity Movement.
After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, many companies scrambled to set up diversity boards and employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups were a safe place for employees to discuss their concerns and provided the emotional support they needed. The organization also saw them as tangible evidence of its commitment to social justice. But in a hurry, many business leaders skipped an important step. It’s about aligning the diversity committee and ERG goals with the company’s larger financial goals and positioning these groups to have real business value.
Set measurable goals.
When many of these DEI groups were launched, in the early days of the pandemic, people wanted a way to connect with each other. These groups have increased belonging at work, but not enough to make people feel better. For the Diversity Committee and his ERG to maintain management support, members need to take action. Diversity groups need to shift their focus to include business, not just social goals.
Without measurable, business-oriented goals, many ERGs and diversity committees were little more than book clubs and social gatherings. Some had vague goals or took on too many initiatives, diluting their impact on company culture. In one recent survey, only 53% of respondents defined their organization’s ERG as active and effective, and only 53% of them said their ERG had specific goals to which they were accountable. Only 37%.
For many senior leaders, the diversity committee and ERG are the main reference points for the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. If these groups are not making a measurable contribution to the organization’s business goals, he questions whether the DEI in general is worth investing in. Lack of senior-level support makes the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)’s job more difficult and jeopardizes subsequent culture-centric programs.
When diversity committees and ERGs are effectively structured and have clear goals, these groups can help drive business objectives, foster innovation, and create a more inclusive and productive workplace. can play an important role in
Recognize the difference.
Although the diversity committee and the ERG are different, they are complementary and it makes business sense to support both.
Diversity Committee (task force or council) provides a sound board that company leaders can use to accelerate the impact of their company’s DEI initiatives. Led by the CDO and championed by the CEO, these committees are typically focused on reviewing and recommending changes to company policies and practices and advising on new policies and practices. Members must be respected and influential individuals from all levels of the organization. If an organization’s workforce is fairly homogeneous, the Commission may lack insight into broader perspectives, DEI barriers, and how to address them. Advising leadership on how to build a more inclusive culture is an essential step before attempting to increase the diversity of a company’s workforce and should be one of the committee’s top priorities.
Employee resource group A voluntary, employee-led gathering of like-minded individuals and their allies. The list of examples is extensive and includes Black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian, Female, and LGBTQ+ networks. veterans; and working parents. The ERG provides participants with opportunities for peer support, community involvement, mentoring, and professional development. They help increase employee engagement and grow diverse representation and organizational leadership over time. Because ERGs often include employees with different functions from different departments, members are often able to provide strategic solutions to common workplace problems. It also helps companies to increase their share in various diverse market segments.
Tip for marketing leaders: Consider including a diversity committee and ERG in the creative review process to align the credibility of your marketing and internal and external communications with your organization’s DEI commitments.
Establish a clear charter that includes your mission, strategy and objectives.
Both diversity committees and ERGs should have a charter that articulates the group’s mission and defines objectives related to the organization’s business goals. Each year we ask participants to set specific, achievable, time-bound goals that produce measurable results and add business value. Each year, pick one or two initiatives that address your company’s current challenges and make an immediate impact. It’s also helpful to set one or two ambitious goals that take time to reach. It outlines the specific duties and responsibilities of group chairs and members, including expectations for reporting results.
For example, if the ERG has mentorship and professional development as part of its mission, measurable goals should be associated with that initiative. How many people of color, women, or members of the LGBTQ+ community have reached leadership positions because of your mentoring? It should lead to visible results.
Identify strong group leaders.
Diversity committees and ERGs should be chaired by individuals who have a personal passion and commitment to the group’s mission, as well as strong leadership and interpersonal skills. However, just because an individual is passionate about her DEI doesn’t mean they know how to lead a diversity council or align the ERG’s mission with important business goals. Their interest in service must be supported and amplified by appropriate training and professional development. In particular, diversity advocates need to understand how to build buy-in across the organization, what data needs to be collected to prove results, and how to identify and achieve strategic goals. A formal workshop, course, or certification for the Diversity Committee and her ERG leaders would be ideal, but group members can also educate themselves.
If your diversity committee or ERG is in flux without feeling focused or stagnant, or if you haven’t launched these groups yet, act now to reap the many benefits they offer. wake up Both help organizations lead, manage and improve the measurable impact of his DEI initiatives. They are an essential force for integrating his DEI values across the organization, developing and enhancing a culture of inclusivity, ensuring a diverse pipeline of talent, and adapting to changing market demographics. .
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