By Barbara Frankel
1. Decide which one or two groups are most important to your business needs.
- Most companies start with women and Blacks because those employees are most readily identifiable.
- Avoid having a “multicultural” or “people of color” group because different racial/ethnic demographics have different needs.
2. Create a charter template that will be consistent across all current & future groups.
- Include relevance to your company’s business needs (recruitment, engagement, retention, promotion, marketplace/sales).
- Ensure that charters include annual goals and metrics to assess success.
3. Call your groups “resource groups,” not affinity groups or networks.
- Make sure their titles connect them to being part of business solutions.
- Titles should be inclusive (“LGBT and allies”) so anyone feels comfortable joining.
4. Find executive sponsors.
- Sponsors should come from the highest level of the company (usually CEO’s direct reports) to ensure that groups have credibility and that senior management is aware of activities.
- Sponsors should be cross-cultural whenever possible and should undergo cultural-competence training.
5. Find group leaders.
- Look for talented people who are not already identified as high-potentials.
- Give them leadership and cultural-competence training and let them use the experience to develop new skills/areas of responsibility.
6. Present group business plan to senior executives/D&I council.
- Set up realistic goals that dovetail with business priorities (recruitment, engagement, cultural competence).
- Establish schedule for group leaders to meet regularly with senior executives.
7. Establish internal communications plan to attract members.
- Make sure messaging of top-leadership support and inclusivity is clear.
- Organize virtual and off-shift meetings so hourly and remote workers can join.
8. Set up consistent rules for all groups.
- Allow them to meet during the workday.
- Create funding mechanisms (diversity department, executive sponsor, fund-raising).
9. Be clear on time commitments.
- Meet with group leaders’ supervisors to ensure that they are on board.
- Establish membership and leadership criteria.
10. Evaluate progress with metrics.
- Set up quarterly and annual goals and review with group leaders.
- Report back to senior leadership on progress.