- Diversity councils are leadership groups who design and oversee a company’s diversity and inclusion strategy
- They often work hand-in-hand with employee resources groups, which are employee-led groups championing a range of diversity objectives
- In larger companies, multiple diversity councils are often established
- In companies with mature diversity and inclusion efforts, the diversity council has evolved from being a separate council to the responsibility of the entire senior leadership group
Without the discipline that a diversity council of senior leaders provides, it’s easy for diversity and inclusion efforts to go astray or lose momentum. Diversity councils are an effective mechanism to set and progress diversity strategic objectives in companies. These high-level steering committees typically oversee the design, implementation and tracking of long-term cultural change programs required to achieve diversity objectives.
Many leading companies in Australia set up diversity councils over the past decade as evidence emerged of the importance of senior executive visibility and accountability and of aligning diversity efforts with commercial priorities. CEOs at a number of firms have played a leading role in diversity councils. EY, Telstra, ANZ, NAB, IBM, HP, Suncorp, Maddocks and Origin Energy all have had high level executive committees accountable for the diversity strategy for some time.