How to Select Diversity & Inclusion Consultants and Consulting Firms for DEI projects?

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Picking or Finding the right diversity consultant, either for your company or for any D&I project, is a must if you have no resources or experience launching diversity and inclusion programs. Having one may spell the difference between success and failure in solving the problem. Finding the perfect one, therefore, is an important step in organizing a project, or solving issues about it in your company.

The diversity and inclusion problem is about the lack of equality and equity in work involving sectors that are underprivileged or marginalized due to their gender, age, race, ethnicity, or nationality. A workplace having this problem has a lack of proper diversity, equal opportunity, or representation from those mentioned. A diversity consultant will work on these issues.

Understand your Diversity and Inclusion Needs

Before looking for the right and proper diversity consultant, there are some things that you must accomplish. First, you must know the specific problems you have with regards to diversity and inclusion and must realize what are the needs of your project/company. It will go a long way in helping you find the most suitable consultant.

You must also know where to look for the right one. A lot of diversity consultants are available anywhere, but knowing where they came from, the background, and those who suggested them may save you a lot of time and trouble. You can ask experts or your peers for a recommendation. You can also look at directories for relevant information and personalities to consider for the post.

How to Select the right D&I Consultant or Expert?

Most of the DEI consultants that will apply or you will consider will have the necessary and proper credentials. It will not be surprising that, if only based on this, they are all qualified. You must, however, select, the most suitable one The diversity consultant must not only meet your qualifications but also have what it takes to solve the problems at hand.

Aside from qualifications, here are the things you must look at to know whether in looking for the right, perfect diversity consultant.

BTW, What diversity companies are hiring now?

Understanding the diversity and inclusion problems

The consultant you will hire must have great knowledge of the issue and problem of diversity and inclusion in all of its intricacies and complexities. Great knowledge and deep understanding of the issue is a must, for it is this problem that the consultant will tackle head-on. The consultant must be familiar with theories, generalities, and specific conditions associated with it.

The right diversity consultant must have a great theoretical understanding of the problem on the whole, as well as expertise in the specific diversity and inclusion problem that you have.

DEI Experience is more important than DEI Knowledge and Talks

Some people do have knowledge and expertise, but not necessarily a great fit for a project or company, or not that suitable to fix what needs solving. So aside from credentials, you must inquire whether the applicant has the necessary background, knowledge, and even technical know-how (use of systems and programs, for instance) to be able to work as a consultant.

In this case, the diversity consultant you are going to hire must be an expert in the specific problem of diversity and inclusion you have in mind. Whether working for a DEI project or working to solve particular problems and issues in a company or organization.

The diversity consulting firm or consultant must also have solutions that will truly fit the task at hand. In this, they must have a deep understanding of the problems or the issues the project will study, or bothers a company. Eventually, it must jibe with what you or the organization has in mind. The consultant must operate within the bounds of what you are planning or thinking for the project or company.

The ability to communicate to Diversity Stakeholders

As much as possible, the consultant must be a great D&I communicator. As an expert, a consultant may be familiar with terms, concepts, and jargon that laymen and other people, might have difficulties understanding or appropriating He must be able to relay and communicate things to people in a way that is understandable and easy to grasp.

Your candidate for the post must also be approachable and comfortable moving and talking with other people and laymen. The consultant itself must not be a barrier to communication, and thus, must be accommodating with regards to the clarifications and questions of other people. Especially so since the issue of diversity and inclusion requires rapport and communication to be addressed.

In cases where it is those people who are becoming barriers to having communication, the candidate consultant must have the confidence and ability to reach out to them. He/she must be the one to facilitate communication, talk to them, and solicit questions and answers from them. Communication always goes a long way in solving issues and problems.

Availability of DEI Consultants and Focuses

A consultant differs from ordinary staff or employees in the sense that most of them do not have fixed hours of working for a particular project, company, or organization. One thing that must be cleared to a candidate is his/her availability. You must clear to them the arrangement, and must clear to them whether they are fine with such an arrangement.

Background checking of the Diversity and Inclusion candidate is a must. Is the consultant always available? Does he/she finish the project on time? Does the consultant have time to check on what needs to be checked, do some site inspection, personnel interviews, or do some fieldwork if necessary? Those things might not be available on the curriculum vitae of the applicant, so you must check it yourself. One way to do it is to explore and review a diversity expert profile.

Awareness of Responsibility and clear Accountability

You inform the applicants of the boundaries, responsibilities, and what are the things expected of them as a diversity consultant. That is why it must be clear that you set the goals and have an understanding of what the project, your company, or organization needs, for the diversity consultant will operate according to the parameters you set.

It is the duty of the diversity consultant to be aware of those responsibilities, to recognize their boundaries, and to deliver the things that are expected. The right diversity consultant must have a clear idea of what he/she will be doing, its parameters, the possible restrictions, and boundaries. The consultant must deliver the goods. The diversity consultant must exhibit professionalism at all times.

Talk to them about the tasks and responsibilities they have in mind, whether it is doable given the magnitude of the project, the time, and the budget. Let them discuss those things, then evaluate what they said, and consider it in your overall assessment of candidates.

Pay structure

Consultation fees differ, according to the consultant, and also according to what a project, company, or organization offers. There are different pay structures of which a consultant could be paid. You must consider, then, whether the candidate is willing to accept the pay structure you are offering.

What you offer must be fair, and commensurate to the required time, DEI knowledge, skill, and expertise that the diversity consultant would be offering. Whether you are giving other perks and allowances aside from the salary, the bottom line is that you must offer something acceptable and fair according to the standards, if not better.

In evaluating applicants, then, you can also assess whether they are fair or not in their demands with regards to pay or structure. You can deny or accept the DEI RFI, DEI RFP, DEI applications, or negotiate, based on what they demand. Remember that you are operating on a budget.

Availability in the future

A consultant’s task or work ends once a project has been completed, problems eventually solved, or the contract was finished. There are times, however, when you need to communicate with the consultant for some clarifications. The right consultant must be more than willing to extend a helping hand, even when the tasks were done.

Benefits with regards to additional work and availability can either be discussed during the time of consultancy or after. What is important, however, is that the diversity consultant must commit and be available in the future, for some issues may arise and need to be clarified, or some problems specific to the project need to be resolved.

Great proposal and demonstrate care of your DEI Project

Aside from those mentioned, your would-be diversity consultant must have a great plan or proposal, to be submitted to you or your panel. It will allow you to assess the applicants with regards to their knowledge and competence, which might or might not be reflected in their curriculum vitae, or even in the interviews.

A written proposal will give you an account of their depth, their understanding of the problems or issues, as well as the viability of their solutions. It will give you knowledge about their way of thinking and insights into their approach to various problems. Most of all, it will immediately inform you of their solution.

Diversity Consultation Resources

Types of Diversity Consulting Services

Diversity and Inclusion is a big scope, it spans across multiple domains and diversity variety types. But in general, the most popular diversity and inclusion consulting services are below.

Best Diversity Consultant Videos

Glossary of DEI Consulting Services

Diversity Consultant Selection Guide

Susan Rice.

Diversity and Inclusion Consultation

By Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment. Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries. Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.

View all of Jess Man's posts.