Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How did the idea for the DRC come about? During Diversity Leadership Initiative programs, Riley Institute staff noted a recurring theme and concern from participants: the challenge of recruiting broadly diverse talented professionals to the state of South Carolina due to negative impressions that the state is not inclusive or progressive. Through many discussions, the idea evolved that a collective group of organizations would be more effective at presenting a fair picture of lifestyle in the state than that which is possible with any single organization. Hence, an effort was launched to bring together organizations to better explore this idea and attempt to formalize it into programs, initiatives and actions.
2. How were the Founding Member Organizations selected? The Founding Member Organizations were not selected. Rather, these are the organizations that responded to a broad and open call to action from the Riley Institute and invested seed capital to launch an exploratory process. Due to their financial investment, these organizations have representatives that now serve as a decision-making body which guides the focus and nature of programs and activities. In addition, the DRC has recognized the visionary CEOs of these organizations through the creation of the DRC’s honorary CEO Council.
3. Is it still possible to become a Founding Member Organization? The DRC Founding Members have considered this question and determined that if other organizations wish to become Founding Members, they would be welcome provided they meet the same investment requirements as the original members: $2,500.
4. Is there a cost to join the DRC as a regular Member Organization? Membership in the DRC is free of charge for general member organizations. However, to remain a member in good standing, member organizations and individuals are expected to participate in at least one DRC activity during each calendar year. Following are the requirements for membership:
1. . Complete a short membership application. In addition to contact information, the application will require a statement of interest regarding how you and/or your organization can support the objectives of the DRC.
2. Participate in at least one DRC event in each calendar year.
3. Absorb the cost of you and/or your employees’ participation in DRC events (e.g., lunch, receptions, barbecues, etc.).
4. Agree to designate ambassadors from your organization to participate in the program after successful completion of DRC Ambassador Training.
5. Is DRC membership open to educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and individuals? DRC membership is open to all who wish to participate in DRC programs and activities and support its mission of helping attract and retain broadly diverse talent to South Carolina.
6. If membership is free to all, how are DRC programs and activities funded? The DRC uses a “pay-as-you-go” model. If an organization wishes to have its employees participate in a DRC program or activity, it is simply required to absorb the cost associated with its employees. For example, if there is a DRC recruitment luncheon, and the cost is $15 per person, the organization is responsible for underwriting each of its employees’ $15 lunch tabs.
7. Is scholarship funding or other support available to underwrite the cost of nonprofit members’ participation in DRC activities? There is no cost for nonprofit organizations or individuals to become members. However, all activities are based on a pay-as-you-go model. Therefore, the investment required to participate in any activity is modest. There are no funds available to underwrite participation of nonprofit members. If a nonprofit member participates in an event at the request of a for-profit business partner (e.g., lunch or dinner) the business partner is free to pick up the tab for their nonprofit colleague.
8. What are the primary benefits of becoming a DRC Member Organization or individual member? DRC Member Organizations have access to special designated programs that leverage the critical mass of participating organizations to support the success of each Member’s recruitment and retention efforts. In addition to the designated programs, DRC members will have access to a database of ambassador volunteers to support recruitment and retention through ad hoc activities such as taking candidates to lunch, dinner, on community tours, or simply having a cup of coffee and answering a candidate’s questions. (See ad hoc events examples below).
9. What are some examples of designated programs and are there other benefits? At upcoming launch events this Spring in the Upstate and Midlands, the DRC will announce dates for four designated programs:
1. DRC Ambassadors Reception – This event will bring together volunteer ambassadors from the various member organizations to build relationships, socialize, network, and share ideas on how the DRC can be a lever for their organization’s recruitment and retention efforts.DRC ambassadors will be required to complete a two-hour orientation and training session which defines expectations and boundaries as well as processes and methodologies for serving as an ambassador.
2. The South Carolina Employee Resource Group Forum – This event is an educational workshop for members of employee resource groups / affinity / networking groups of member organizations. The event has two objectives: first, to provide best practice suggestions on how to make employee resource groups more value-added in organizations; second, to facilitate cross-organizational networking and best practice support. Traditional groups in member organizations, such as a “women’s network” or a Latino ERG, will be able to connect with similar and non-similar groups in other organizations. In addition, consistent with the DRC’s approach to diversity, non-traditional groups, such as community service groups, healthy eating groups, etc. are also welcome. The DRC believes this Forum will be a catalyst to meaningful and lasting relationships and support across member organizations.
3. The DRC Member Organizations Intern Barbecue – This event will provide an opportunity for interns of the various member organizations to meet and get to know their peers in other organizations. The underlying hypothesis is that as these interns consider whether South Carolina is a good place to start their careers, having friends in similar situations, career-wise, and with similar interest, can be a draw that motivates them to accept full-time job offers. In addition, they’ll build relationships to support the remainder of their internships, as well as simply have some fun.
4. The Graduate Schools Engagement Reception – This series of events will include visits to graduate schools in the state with a simple message to the talented near-professionals already here: “we want you to stay in the state of South Carolina for your professional career.” The DRC believes it’s a simple, yet powerful message that is highly under-utilized. While working through the Ambassadors program to attract talent to the state, the DRC also wants to make sure we don’t overlook the talent that’s already here.
5. Adhoc Events – A key and valuable aspect of the DRC is the access to a broadly diverse network of professionals that have volunteered to help attract and retain talent in member organizations. The Ambassadors network will include an online resource providing access to names and areas of interest that any member organization can utilize in its recruitment efforts. This includes activities as simple as lunches and dinners, to more involved efforts such as community tours. The number and type of such events is expected to be broad and dynamic. Following are examples of ad hoc activities that could occur through the DRC:
a. A law firm is recruiting an attorney who happens to be an Orthodox Jew and self identifies as such. She expresses concerns that she knows little about the availability of Orthodox synagogues and communities of practitioners in the region. Although the firm has no Orthodox Jews on staff that it is aware of, it is a member of the DRC. The firm can tap into this database of support and potentially find some ambassadors with an express interest in supporting the recruitment of Orthodox Jews. The ambassadors can close the information gap for the firm and raise the potential of a successful recruitment effort.
b. A manufacturing company is recruiting an engineer who self identifies as a single dad. He hints that one of the reasons he’s reluctant to leave his current employee and location is the availability of high quality and flexible day care options. Again, this company now has access to a network of talented ambassadors who can provide information on managing a successful professional career as a single dad.
c. An institution of higher education is recruiting a highly regarded professor of ethics who is strongly connected to community service opportunities in his home state: Habitat for Humanity; United Way, etc. He inquires during interviews about programs this institute supports. Although the school does not have any forma employee volunteer efforts, it connects the candidate to ambassadors in the DRC who are very involved in community service activities.
d. In short, any instance where a candidate wants or needs additional information regarding the potential lifestyle opportunities in the state that cannot be completely addressed by the recruiting organization, is a potential opportunity to leverage membership in the DRC.
10. Are the programs and activities of the DRC limited to women and minorities? Not at all. Consistent with the DLI’s approach to diversity, everyone, regardless of their race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental abilities, geographic origin, etc. brings diversity to groups. All DRC programs and activities are open to all regardless of demographic attribute. At its inception, DRC Founding Members expressed particular interest in innovative ways to attract more under-represented professionals to the state. However, there has always been, and will always be, inclusiveness across all demographic attributes.
11. What role are the Greenville Chamber, the State Chamber, and the State Chamber’s Diversity Committee playing? These organizations are Founding Members and have dedicated substantial time and resources to help bring the DRC concept to life. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce serves as the primary facilitator of DRC programs and activities, along with the State Chamber of Commerce and its Diversity Committee, which provided seed resources to launch critical programs. Nika White, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, is the lead facilitator of programmatic activities; in partnership with Cliff Bourke, chairman of the State Chamber’s Diversity Committee and President of the South Carolina Diversity Council Foundation. Through the State Chamber, it is anticipated that other Chambers will grow participation in DRC programs over time.
12. How can I get more information about the DRC and how can I and my organization join and get involved? Please click here to join. After your membership is confirmed, you will receive information on designated activities and learn more about how your organization can leverage its membership in the DRC.