Importance of Affinity Groups Relayed to Managers in Message from Mike Peel

Friday, February 5, 2016

Vice President of HR, Mike Peel recently sent the below communication to all Yale managers describing the importance and relevance of Affinity Groups for employees. He encouraged managers to allow employees to attend events during business hours, as they benefit the entire University. We are extremely proud to have the support of Mike and HR in our goals to make Yale a better place to work, and look forward to increased flexibility by of managers in allowing their employees the ability to attend YAAA events that may overlap with their working time.

If your manager has any questions, be sure to direct her or him to Chief Diversity Officer Deborah Stanley-McAuley (

DATE: January 25, 2016

TO: All Yale Managers

FROM: Michael A. Peel, Vice President, Human Resources & Administration

SUBJECT: Staff Diversity and Inclusiveness Progress: Role of Yale’s Affinity Networks

Thanks to the efforts of all of you, Yale’s staff is significantly more diverse and inclusive than it has ever been.  Today, 66% of staff members are women and more than 30% are members of traditionally underrepresented minority groups.  The age range of our staff, which currently spans from 19 to 92, has never been wider.  We have many more colleagues who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  Our population of veterans and those with disabilities has also grown.  And, we know from our regular workplace surveys that Yale staff members not only notice but value this increasing inclusiveness.

In addition to the creation of a modern Diversity and Inclusiveness Department, the three largest drivers of the staff diversity progress that has occurred in the past decade have been 1) increased diversity in managerial and professional positions, 2) diversity and inclusiveness training, and 3) the development of our Affinity Groups.  Through outside hiring and internal promotion, our manager and professional positions have increased in minority representation from 13% in 2007 to 20% currently, adding to our already strong gender diversity.  Managers receive diversity and inclusiveness training in the “Managing at Yale” curriculum and through tailored programs delivered in our various schools and departments.  But, probably the single most important catalyst for our greater diversity and inclusiveness has been our Affinity Networks.

Seven affinity groups have been created in the past decade designed to provide support, development, and social connection to their members:

Before these networks existed, our turnover in these groups was higher than Yale norms and was inhibiting meaningful diversity progress.  These networks have been led by volunteers who dedicate significant amounts of their personal time to help the University recruit, develop, and retain the members of their network.  We owe the leaders of these networks, both past and current, our deep gratitude for all they have done to further evolve the Yale culture into one which brings out the very best in all.

Given the importance of our Affinity Networks, we encourage you, where operationally feasible, to allow your staff members to attend affinity network events which occur during business hours (many, if not most, events are during lunch or after hours).  While we realize this is an investment in a challenging budgetary environment, the University is benefiting from their involvement, as will your organization over time.

Our increasing diversity and inclusiveness is making us a stronger organization and a more attractive employer for current and future staff members.  While we are making important progress, we are still behind where we would like to be.  We still need more diverse leaders, mentors, and role models at the top of our organizations and to evolve our culture into one which consistently values the differences in backgrounds and life experiences we all bring to our work.  While new milestones await us, we appreciate the leadership and workplace flexibility you are contributing to this important goal!

Should you have questions regarding your department’s diversity progress, annual goals and objectives, please contact Deborah Stanley-McAulay, Chief Diversity Officer (

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