The focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is growing. And hiring a DEI consultant for your company can go a long way when it comes to attracting diverse talent and making your organization a great place to work.
What is a DEI consultant?
DEI consultants help companies build and manage a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce. Specifically, they help co.s create DEI goals, implement DEI initiatives, and assess their DEI efforts.
So, to become a DEI consultant, you must know diversity and equity theories. You must also have a solid track record of using DEI best practices to help organizations create a more inclusive workplace.
Why should you hire a DEI consultant?
So, why should you hire a DEI consultant?
DEI Consultants Help you Achieve your DEI goals
- 62% of workers surveyed say Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) programs aren’t effective
- 9 out of 10 respondents report that their companies have DEI programs, yet not everyone knows how to get the support they need
Emulating other companies’ diversity efforts is not enough. Each organization is unique, so your DEI goals should be based on your structure, goals, and needs.
A DEI consultant can guide your HR team, line managers, and top executives to understand what DEI objectives to aspire for and align that with your company’s overall business goals.
For example, having more women leaders in an organization could create a more diverse problem-solving approach and increase company collaboration. It can also boost employee engagement and improve financial performance.
With Prism International, Verizon launched the Women at Work: Being an Advocate for Your Own. Success program. It offered skill-building and personal development opportunities for women and culturally diverse groups across the organization. So, the program’s success led to industry recognition and awards.
DEI Consultants Foster a More Inclusive Work Environment
Along with reaching your diversity objectives, a DEI consultant can help inject “diversity” into your company culture. So, this means understanding where you are with your DEI landscape, and what your employees think about diversity in your organization.
In addition, DEI consultants dig deeper by reviewing your recruitment procedures, employee engagement practices, and workplace policies to discover DEI challenges (and opportunities).
For instance, if your company has problems with representation, a DEI consultant can guide you to create a more inclusive culture by measuring gender diversity across leadership levels.
They could also help you conduct DEI employee surveys to discover missing or inadequate specific groups, from entry-level to management positions.
What does a DEI Consultant do?
Here’s a snapshot of what DEI pros focus on:
- Perform audits of an organization’s current state of DEI — so, this covers employee demographics, work policies, and procedures
- Consult with top management to create a shared understanding of DEI, why its essential, and what it means for the organization
- Create DEI objectives that are aligned with overall business goals
- Design and execute tailored DEI plans to increase diversity and inclusion in an organization — based on specific needs identified during a DEI audit/analysis
- Monitor DEI efforts to measure effectiveness and find ways to address bottlenecks
- Work with other DEI practitioners to build a comprehensive approach to organizational change
- Study the latest trends and developments in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
DEI Consultant Job Description “Responsibilities”
Wondering what a common day is like for a DEI consultant?
Below is a list of 10 responsibilities you can use if you are creating a job description “Roles & Responsibilities” section for a DEI consultant.
Note: If you copy/paste these, try to pick a top 7. Listing too many might overwhelm candidates.
- Design and deploy diversity training programs to create organization-wide knowledge of DEI
- Create an inclusive workplace culture through training on workplace diversity, managing unconscious biases, micro-aggressions, cultural and religious consideration, equity literacy, and trust-building
- Develop and deploy DEI policies and practices involving recruiting, managing and developing employees
- Re-write job descriptions to make them more inclusive
- Create and enforce anti-harassment and anti-bullying regulations to set standards for behavior in the workplace
- Initiate a pay audit to find out if the company practices an equitable approach to employee compensation
- Perform research to ensure equal representation of people from different segments in the organization
- Verify if all employees have equal access to opportunities in learning, development, promotion, and internal mobility
- Organize difficult conversations around race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other forms of diversity
- Train managers to interact with and manage a diverse workforce
- Monitor compliance with anti-discrimination laws and regulations
- Establish ERGs (employee resource groups) to enhance employee engagement and better reflect the customers and communities the company serves
- Launch mentorship programs to boost cross-cultural engagement
DEI consultant salary
So, how much should you pay DEI consultants?
According to Glassdoor, DEI consultants get an estimated annual salary of $81,040 in the U.S.
And, ZipRecruiter says the average salary of DEI consultants in the U.S. is $82,396 per year.
The top 3 cities that offer the highest paying salary for DEI consultants are all based in California: Santa Clara occupying the top spot, followed by San Francisco, and then Fremont.
DEI consultant interview questions
If you don’t have the resources to employ a full-time diversity pro, hiring a DEI consultant is the next best step to help meet your goals.
To get you started, here are some interview questions to ask a DEI consultant, plus a brief description of what kind of answers to look for from them:
- What are your DEI qualifications?
This question can help you learn more about the background of your potential consultant and how it relates to DEI. So, ask if they have certifications to show their diversity and inclusion expertise. Also, look for specific skills or experiences they have and how they can benefit your organization.
- Can you explain how you help organizations implement a new diversity and inclusion policy?
This question helps you understand the consultant’s competence in planning and implementing diversity and inclusion policies. Ask if they can provide testimonials of how they did it with their previous employers/clients.
- What are some of the most common challenges you see in the workplace related to diversity and inclusion?
This question helps better understand the consultant’s expertise and experience in the diversity and inclusion field. So, ask for examples from their previous work of how they have helped companies address these challenges.
- How do you identify an organization’s diversity and inclusion needs when working with them?
This question helps you understand the consultant’s methodology and the approach they’ll use to determine if there is a mutual fit. Ask for examples from past work to check their abilities in analyzing an organization’s unique circumstances, and the strategies they’ve used to meet their objectives.
A Short List of DEI Consultants
There are loads of companies and independent DEI consultants for hire online. But, here’s a short list of consultants you might try (to meet your objective of becoming a more inclusive employer):
Agatha Agbanobi is an experienced strategy consultant and corporate trainer/coach who has spent 12+ years driving equity-based reforms in international development, education, nonprofit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies. Her clients include Amazon, Johnson Matthey, CareerPlug, Society for Research on Child Development, Jounce Partners, Texas Campaign, TLAC – Uncommon Schools, Empyrean, Recruitment Events & Co.
So, Agbanobi provides DEI strategy and implementation consultation, training and development, executive coaching, and DEI assessments and reviews.
Connect with Agatha Agbanobi.
Janice Gassam Asare, Ph.D.
As an anti-racism educator, DEI consultant, speaker, trainer, workshop facilitator, and writer, Janice helps businesses and institutions develop interventions to increase workplace equity. Therefore, she focuses on anti-racism and anti-Blackness, how these manifest in and out of the workplace, and strategies to remove systemic barriers that perpetuate harm.
Janice is a PhD-trained Industrial Organizational psychologist and was recognized as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Racial Equity.
Connect with Janice Gassam Asare, Ph.D.
A relatable inclusion, diversity, and equity-focused consultant, Amber Cabral helped leaders become inclusive and cultivate diverse and equitable cultures for Fortune 500 Organizations with as much as $50B in sales and small 5-person organizations. She also offers DEI services to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.
So, Cabral specializes in Diversity and Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, and Intersectionality.
Connect with Amber Cabral.
Brian McComak, MSM, LGBTQ
Brian works in the spaces of DEI, company culture, and employee experience through his LGTBQ+-owned consulting firm, Hummingbird Humanity. McComak is passionate about purpose, focuses on helping others, and believes that levity, in life and work, is essential.
Brian’s first book centered around ‘humanity in the workplace’ is set to launch in spring 2023.
Connect with Brian McComak, MSM, LGBTQ.
Dr. Nika White
A fearless advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Nika White has worked with over 200 companies across business, government, non-profit, and educational sectors to break barriers and integrate diversity into their business frameworks. Forbes cited her as a Top 10 D & I Trailblazer. She has published two books, Inclusion Uncomplicated and The Intentional Inclusionist.
Dr. White specializes in DEI Strategy (Research through strategic planning), DEI Instructional Design & Learning & Development Experiences (including customization), Inclusive Leadership Coaching, and Marketing for DEI
Connect with Dr. Nika White.
Lily helps leaders achieve DEI as real and measurable outcomes. Their clients “are organizations and leaders of organizations looking for approaches grounded in data of all kinds, rooted in outcomes and effectiveness, and informed by a systemic approach to organizational problem-solving.”
Lily is the author of DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing it Right (November 2022), The Ethical Sellout, and Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace.
They were also named a LinkedIn Top Voice on Racial Equity in 2022.
Connect with Lily Zheng.
For even more DEI consultants and firms, here are 2 resources you might find useful:
- 10 Diversity And Inclusion Trailblazers You Need To Get Familiar With
- 20 Top DEI Consultants and Advisors to Book in 2023
What are the most common challenges regarding DEI?
Embarking on a journey towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is an admirable pursuit, but it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges that often come with it. Therefore, taking the right steps can lead to positive changes. But, being aware of potential roadblocks can better prepare your team for the DEI journey.
Understanding the Challenges
1. Resistance to Change:
One of the first challenges in DEI work is overcoming resistance to change. So, some team members may be used to the status quo. Thus, introducing new concepts like inclusive cultures may be met with skepticism.
Tip: Start with small, manageable steps to build momentum. So, encourage an open mind among team members and showcase the benefits of an inclusive environment.
2. Lack of Leadership Support:
Without the backing of senior leadership, DEI efforts may struggle to gain traction. Therefore, it’s crucial to have the support of the leadership team for real change to occur.
Tip: Engage senior leadership early on, emphasizing the importance of DEI in organizational development. So, showcasing the business case for diversity and inclusion can be a powerful motivator.
3. Unclear Scope of Work:
Defining the scope of DEI work can be challenging. Thus, without a clear understanding of the key areas to focus on, your efforts may lack direction and impact.
Tip: Conduct preliminary internal work to identify the unique needs of your organization. This can also help tailor the scope of work to address specific challenges and opportunities.
4. Finding the Right Consultant:
Choosing the right consultant is a crucial step; not all DEI experts are the same. So, selecting a consultant who aligns with your organizational values and goals is essential.
Tip: Take the time to vet prospective DEI consultants. So, look for years of experience, expertise in the areas relevant to your organization. Also, look for a track record of positive changes in similar environments.
5. Resistance to Behavioral Change:
Achieving an inclusive environment requires behavioral change. Therefore, overcoming ingrained habits and addressing systemic racism may pose challenges.
Tip: Include DEI training sessions that focus on behavior change. So, ensure that the training is ongoing and integrated into professional development and career advancement opportunities.
Taking the Next Steps
Identifying these challenges is the first step toward creating a more equitable workplace. So, by acknowledging the obstacles and addressing them head-on, you set the stage for positive and lasting change. But remember that DEI is a journey. So, with the right consultant partners, an open mind, and a commitment to inclusivity, your organization can foster a more diverse and inclusive environment.
How do you become a DEI consultant?
Becoming a DEI consultant is a rewarding journey that involves a mix of education, experience, and a genuine commitment to fostering positive change in organizations. So, if you’re passionate about creating inclusive cultures and driving real change, here are the key steps you might consider:
1. Education and DEI Training:
The first step on your DEI journey is gaining a solid understanding of the principles and practices involved. So, consider pursuing formal education, workshops, or certifications in DEI work. Also, look for programs that cover a broad range of topics, from organizational development to inclusion efforts.
2. Years of Experience and Deep Expertise:
Building expertise takes time. So, gain hands-on experience in areas such as human resources, organizational leadership, or professional development. Also, work with diverse teams to understand the nuances of different organizational cultures.
3. Networking and Building Relationships:
Connect with DEI experts and professionals in the field. Also, attend conferences, join online communities, and engage with like-minded individuals. In addition, networking can open doors to valuable opportunities and mentorship.
4. Identifying Your Niche and Specialization:
DEI work is broad, and finding your niche can set you apart. So, identify key areas of interest such as gender identity, underrepresented talent, or leadership development. Also, tailor your expertise to address the unique needs of organizations.
5. Continuous Professional Development:
Stay informed about the latest trends, research, and best practices in DEI. So, engage in continuous professional development to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date. This will also ensure you remain a good fit for the ever-evolving landscape of DEI work.
6. Working with a Diverse Range of Clients:
Gain experience by working with a variety of clients. So, this could include different industries, organizational sizes, and geographical locations. Also, consider factors like veteran status, national origin, and communities of color.
7. Building a Strong Portfolio:
Showcase your work through a comprehensive portfolio. Therefore, highlight successful DEI projects, positive changes you’ve facilitated, and the impact on the entire organization. This portfolio will also be crucial when connecting with prospective clients.
8. Effective Communication and Change Management:
As a DEI consultant, communication is key. So, you must develop strong communication skills to convey your ideas, especially when working with senior leadership or acting as a single point of contact for DEI initiatives.
9. Engaging in the Selection Process:
When pursuing opportunities, be selective. So, choose organizations that align with your core values and where you believe you can make the most impact. Also, ensure that the selection process is a good time for both you and the client.
10. Remaining Open-Minded and Adaptable:
DEI work is dynamic, and being open-minded is crucial. So, stay adaptable and be willing to adjust your approach based on the unique needs of each organization.
Remember, becoming a DEI consultant is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, you must approach it with dedication, an open mind, and a commitment to creating a more equitable workplace.
Business Impact of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
1. Enhanced Creativity and Innovation:
Diverse Teams Spark Innovation
Diverse teams bring together people with different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. So, this mix of ideas fuels creativity and innovation. It also pushes your organization to think in fresh and exciting ways.
2. Better Problem Solving:
Different Perspectives Lead to Better Solutions
Inclusive environments encourage open-mindedness and respect for unique needs. So, when diverse voices contribute to problem-solving, your team can address challenges from various angles, leading to more effective solutions.
3. Attracting Top Talent:
A Magnet for Qualified Applicants
Organizations that prioritize DEI become magnets for top talent. Therefore, talented individuals seek workplaces that value diversity and offer career development opportunities. Thus, making your organization a good fit for the best and brightest.
4. Increased Employee Engagement:
Investing in Employee Well-being
Inclusive environments promote a sense of belonging, boosting employee morale and engagement. When team members feel valued, they are more likely to contribute their best work.
5. Positive Changes in Organizational Culture:
A Shift Towards Equality and Equity
DEI work initiates positive changes in organizational cultures. So, it transforms workplaces into more intentional and equitable environments. Thus, fostering a sense of belonging for everyone, regardless of their background.
6. Risk Mitigation:
Identifying Red Flags Early
A good DEI consultant can help your organization identify potential red flags related to systemic racism, discrimination, or unconscious bias. So, this proactive approach mitigates risks, ensuring a healthy work environment.
7. Compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity:
Meeting Legal Requirements
Embracing DEI is not only beneficial but also aligns with legal requirements. So, creating an equitable workplace helps your organization comply with Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Thus, reducing the risk of legal issues.
8. Customer Relations and Community Support:
Building a Positive Reputation
Demonstrating a commitment to DEI positively impacts your organization’s reputation. So, business leaders who champion inclusion efforts gain community support and strengthen customer relations.
9. Financial Benefits:
A More Diverse Workforce Boosts the Bottom Line
Studies show that organizations with more diverse teams tend to outperform their counterparts. Therefore, embracing DEI can lead to a more diverse workforce, positively impacting your organization’s financial success.
10. Supplier Diversity and Community Partnerships:
DEI extends beyond internal practices
Supporting supplier diversity and building partnerships with communities strengthen your organization’s ties to a wider network. Thus, fostering positive relationships.
How to Put DEI into Practice at Work?
So, to foster inclusive cultures and drive real change in your workplace, follow these concise steps:
- Assess Your Current State:
Firstly, identify your organization’s unique needs and assess existing cultures.
- Leadership Commitment:
Secondly, secure senior leadership support for DEI initiatives.
- Define Scope of Work:
Thirdly, clearly outline key areas such as talent management and career development.
- Bring in the Right Consultant:
Fourthly, hire a DEI consultant with experience and values aligned with your organization.
- Training and Development:
Next, conduct behavior-focused DEI training sessions for all team members.
- Create a DEI Team:
Then, establish a dedicated team to manage DEI projects and facilitate communication.
- Change Management:
Also, implement strategies to address resistance and encourage an open mind.
- Promote Inclusion Efforts:
You must also showcase positive changes and encourage team member participation.
- Leadership Development:
Then, prioritize DEI in leadership development to create a more inclusive leadership team.
- Supplier Diversity and Partnerships:
Finally, extend DEI beyond by exploring supplier diversity and building community partnerships.
Why I wrote this:
At Ongig, we believe hiring DEI consultants can help you meet your diversity goals and create a more inclusive work environment. And our software supports these efforts by helping you write more inclusive job descriptions. Please request a demo to learn more.
- Why Your Program May Be Failing Employees (WebMD Health Services)
- Case Study: Verizon Wireless & Developing Women Leaders (Prism International)
- Diversion and Inclusion Consultant (Glassdoor)
- DEI Consultant Salary (ZipRecruiter)
- 10 Diversity And Inclusion Trailblazers You Need To Get Familiar With (Forbes)
- 20 Top DEI Consultants and Advisors to Book in 2023 (teambuilding.com)