Q: What is a Business and Diversity Council?
are challenged with complex and very diverse business challenges. Being competitive requires that organizations create an environment that draws very diverse employees together to focus, discuss,
create solutions, communicate, and provide broad-based feedback to their managers and leaders. The primary intention of the Council is to "leverage" the diversity of skills, ideas, experience, vantage
points, and functional knowledge of the people on the Council to make a positive impact on the business.
A Business and Diversity Council is a team of employees who are given a "charter" to be integrally involved in a
wide range of business issues, from internal organizational issues, to customer and vendor issues, to corporate culture and people issues, just to name a few. They may focus on one specific objective or several
A Business and Diversity Council can help to bring life to the concept of "valuing diversity".
Q: Who participates on the Business and Diversity Council?
A: A representative group of employees from across the organization. During the
initial start-up of your Council, it is advisable to select employees from all levels who are viewed as highly credible in the work stature.
Q: Who is the leader of the Council?
A: It is a good idea that the most senior level officer be the
"sponsor" of this Council. That person may not attend the work sessions of the council. But he/she must be willing to be accessible to Council members at any time they feel they need to interface with their
sponsor. The Council will operate with either a rotating Council Chairperson, or with shared or rotating Chairpersons.
Q: How will the Council be governed?
A: The Council will create an initial "working agreement" that spells out their operating guidelines, roles and
responsibilities, how decisions will be managed, a work plan and objectives, and the methods and context for communicating among themselves, with the Sponsor, and with the organization at large.
Q: How long to members serve on the Council?
A: Not less than 6 months and not more than 14
months. Membership rotation is important in terms of reinforcing the importance of participation, empowerment, and employee involvement at all levels of the organization. The Council working agreement
provides for determination on the timeframe for member rotation on and off the Council, and for the means for selecting and orienting new members. The emphasis is on leveraging, growing and developing the
diversity within the business and creating a culture that welcomes diversity of all types in the business culture and mainstream business activities.
Q: What are some of the factors that make these types of Council's successful?
A: Leadership vision, and management buy-in.
B. Support from the managers of those employees who are serving on the Council.
C. Commitment of those employees who serve as Council members.
D. Willingness to take responsibility and make participation a priority.
E. Sincerity on the part of the Sponsor to delegate important business issues to the Council for them to consider, work through,
F. Rewarding Council participants as they create success and complete their assignments as members.
Q: What are some of the positive outcomes that can result by having a Business and Diverstiy Council?
- A deeper understanding of how diversity can make a difference in creating better solutions for your company.
- Larger understanding of just what diversity is and how to benefit by it.
- A more vibrant corporate culture that doesn't just talk about diversity, but walks the talk by linking it's true value to core business activities.
- Council member employees who become role models for others.
- Stronger working relationships between leaders and line employees throughout the organization.
- Significantly improved communication up, down, and across the organization because Council members spread the word about how diversity benefits the business.
- Improved employee morale and confidence in leadership.
- A business diversity initiative that is viable and on-going and is not just a "flavor of the month program."