While almost all (98 percent) of The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity have senior-executive sponsors for their resource groups, DiversityInc has found that there is often very little formal training provided, and executives are expected to be successful in this role based on the leadership skills they have developed over the course of their careers. Many DiversityInc corporate partners have asked for a guide to being an effective executive resource-group sponsor.
Synopsis: A Guide to Effective Resource-Group Executive Sponsorship
Written by DiversityInc Vice President of Consulting Debby Scheinholtz, the Guide to Effective Resource-Group Executive Sponsorship is a comprehensive report that features DiversityInc data as well as interviews with chief diversity officers from six companies that excel at managing effective resource groups. Featured companies include:
- MasterCard Worldwide, No. 15 in the DiversityInc Top 50
- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), No. 19
- Target, No. 30
- Northrop Grumman, No. 42
- Rockwell Collins, No. 43
- Comcast Corporation, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies
You can read an excerpt from the 1,663-word article below. The Guide to Effective Resource-Group Executive Sponsorship article is available at BestPractices.DiversityInc.com.
What’s an Executive Resource-Group Sponsor?
Executive resource-group sponsors—usually direct reports to the CEO or members of the senior-leadership team—give resource groups business influence within their companies.
- Who is Eligible for Executive Sponsorship?
Executive resource-group sponsors are usually at the highest level of the company—most often direct reports to the CEO.
- How Are Executive Sponsors Selected?
The chief diversity officer often selects sponsors from among the senior-leadership team. Alternatively, resource groups may request a particular sponsor or a potential sponsor may request a specific group.
- Do Executive Sponsors Serve for a Defined Term?
Some companies allow executive sponsors to serve indefinitely. In cases where terms are limited, they usually last a minimum of two years to allow for a ramping-up period and time to produce results.
- What Qualities Do Chief Diversity Officers Look for in Executive Sponsors?
The people we interviewed tell us that along with a senior-leadership role, executive sponsors should help the resource group align its goals with business objectives and strategies, help members navigate the corporate culture, and introduce group members to the right contacts to help them achieve their goals. Having emotional intelligence is also important.
- What Type of Training Should Executive Sponsors Receive?
DiversityInc’s white paper on resource groups found that 89 percent of companies surveyed train their executive sponsors in advance. The most prevalent type of diversity training is cultural-competency training, but some companies offer leadership training as well.
- Are Sponsors Always Cross-Cultural?
It is highly recommended that executive resource-group sponsors be cross-cultural, based on data analysis of results (promotions, engagement) and anecdotal evidence.
- Are Executive Sponsors Compensated or Rewarded for their Roles?
At the six companies whose CDOs we interviewed, executive sponsors receive no additional compensation for their role. The performance goal is tied to assessment and overall performance rating, but other activities can also satisfy this goal.
Read The Guide to Effective Resource-Group Executive Sponsorship article at BestPractices.DiversityInc.com and get practical, takeaway examples from MasterCard Worldwide, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), Target, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins and Comcast Corporation.