Making the commitment to being a workplace that embraces Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is the first important step in bringing about the change you would like to see in your organization. Improving DEI at a company can be a complex issue, but the first and easy step is to start by creating a DEI committee (also historically known as D&I committee). Below is an outline of steps & best practice tips to ensure that your committee is successful, productive, and most importantly, achieves its mission. 


A DEI committee is most successful when the leadership team is on board with the initiative.   Any role can start a DEI committee as long as there is support and buy-in from leadership. We recommend that at least one company leader or senior team member “champions” the initiative.

We recommend that you do not develop this strategy alone. Even if you are the lone person

in your organization who is ultimately responsible to build and implement this plan, we recommend you seek input from others within your organization. There are multiple ways to get others involved.

1. Gather your diversity champions and strike a committee specifically for developing your

DEI strategy. Ask each person to take one section of the strategy development. Set a

timeline for completion of different sections and completion of the entire strategy.

2. Don’t create your strategy in a bubble. Seek input, feedback, or advice from different people in the organization – from different departments, functions, or lines of business.

3. Seek input from both supporters and detractors of diversity and inclusion. It may

seem counterintuitive or discouraging to seek input from detractors, but if you identify ahead of time what their objections may be, you can incorporate approaches to mitigate the problems or roadblocks your DEI efforts may encounter.

Identify Committee Members

When creating a committee, keep in mind that it should ideally include members across levels and teams, and be representative of the diversity within the organization. Engage with team members and explain your new DEI committee and invite participation. We highly recommend that you do not select team members, but rather allow for voluntary participation. However, if you find your DEI committee is then “tilted” in one way or another that doesn’t reflect your team’s diversity, consider requiring one participant from every department or team. You might also want to consider providing a simple incentive, such as offering free coffee or lunch during the committee meetings (food always works!). Make sure to set regular committee meetings which are built into the team’s work plans, so this effort isn’t considered subsidiary to each committee member’s work responsibilities.


From there, you will want to pull together educational materials for the committee and leadership team so they can be educated on the topic and set up for success. Make sure that the educational materials come from reliable sources and are diverse in format (i.e. this time shouldn’t turn into a movie club). Case studies on successful DEI committees at other organizations can be especially useful, and we also highly recommend looking for guidance from well-known HR organizations like SHRM.

Set Goals & Boundaries

After the team is up to speed and informed, it will be key to create a framework for the initiative that includes a vision and mission statement, goals that can be measured, and benchmark data for comparison at regular intervals. Without data or benchmarks, the DEI committee cannot be impactful to the organization and can be too centered around qualitative topics. 

Note: An HR team member or consultant should provide guidance on how to compile this data safely and effectively while preserving individual confidentiality. All identification measures need to be voluntary.

When creating your committee’s vision and mission statements, be sure to take into account your organization’s current overall mission and vision. It is best to align your DEI mission and vision with your organization’s overarching mission and vision. To do this, you may consider how your DEI strategy can build on, support, or enhance the organization’s mission and vision. 

Your vision statement should

  • Be concise and high level

  • Be forward looking

  • Avoid jargon

  • Indicate who it covers and impacts (stakeholders, employees, clients/service users, community, government, shareholders, etc.)

  • Include strategic goals and priorities

  • Capture the essence of your organization

  • Resonate with everyone in the organization

In crafting your mission statement, look at what you want to do and how you will get there. Here are some suggestions around the purpose of a DEI strategy that could be incorporated into your mission statement. 

  • Increase social image, reputation in community

  • Improve productivity and achieve business goals through increased engagement

  • Represent the community you serve to attract and retain top talent

  • Foster innovation and creativity through encouraging diversity of thought

  • Create an inclusive culture that fosters productivity, comfortability, and creativity

Address Policies Affecting Diversity

The committee will need to reevaluate the company’s current policies and make adjustments as needed. Consider how the overall company culture, internal referral programs, interpersonal dynamics, hiring practices, and representation in each department plays a role in the initiative’s overall goals. 

Some examples of areas for innovation:

  1. Benefits: Think beyond health, dental, and vision. To attract diverse candidates, you need to consider childcare reimbursement (could be an FSA), parental leave that is inclusive of adoption & LGBTQ, etc.

  2. Company Events: Happy hours are as synonymous as lunches at many workplaces. However, to be truly inclusive, company events should be appealing to all team members or have diversity in programming. Think in-office yoga or fitness classes, a cooking/recipe club, a book club,….etc

  3. Employee Resource Groups: Employee Resource Groups are a great way to foster innovation and diversity within the workplace, and can take many different forms including interest groups, business network groups, etc. These groups help create a platform where employees can be heard while also helping new employees socialize during the onboarding process.


Setting both short and long term goals can help measure the success of the initiative. Keep the committee accountable by regularly reviewing the progress made in correlation with the mission and goals by having them present their progress and issues to company leadership on a quarterly basis. Allow the committee to present feedback that is both complementary and critical to the organization, and consider how to then go to the next steps (i.e. managerial training is a common finding from a DEI committee).

Still Unsure?

While this information is helpful for getting started on a DEI initiative, this process can still feel like an intimidating task to tackle. If you have any questions or need help creating your organization’s DEI initiatives, feel free to email us at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you within 2 business days.


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