A diversity and inclusion (D&I) consultant is a key strategic role to help the company figure out the best practices to be inclusive, have good relations with all employees, and have good practices towards minority groups in a company.
When a D&I consultant develops and implements anti-discriminatory and inclusive policies for different sexual orientation or race, prepare and deliver staff training and workshops on the subject, and deal with internal conflict and discrimination, employee loyalty and morale increase tenfold. It makes employees feel included and safe and trusts their leadership team and business leaders, which promotes a diverse workforce, great culture, harmony, and collaboration.
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Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Role
Diversity and inclusion consulting includes studying best practices across the field to highlight strategies and brainstorm creative solutions to create inclusion and diversity. You will follow the construction of the D&I language and its evolution over time. You need to be able to explain these words, concepts, and theories in practical, accessible ways.
So, you can help assess the entire organization, lay out a strategic diversity plan, guide your change management strategy, and mold the communication of your new plan. Moreover, you can alleviate the weight for the company, which would have put the DEI work on the shoulders of an employee for which he would not have been trained.
Types of Diversity and Inclusion Consultants
There are two types of D&I consultants that jobs require. Some want consultants with multiple years of experience due to their current needs, and some need newer consultants who are willing to learn and keep an open mind.
- The most common type is an experienced diversity and inclusion consultant who knows how to tackle serious issues in the company. They want someone who can scale their department and develop comprehensive resources for every organization.
- Other companies are more accepting of younger faces in the role, but they do look for someone with training experience and quickly integrate individuals who have a diversity certification.
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Responsibilities
A diversity and inclusion consultant, irrespective of its type, performs all these roles simultaneously:
- Diversity Programs Leader
- Policies Head
- Company Culture Curator
Let’s explore these roles and their responsibilities:
Diversity Programs Leader
Knowledge about the job is important for diversity and inclusion consultants, as they can help you to create and develop programs for the organization. These skills can also help you to guide organizations through the process of implementing new initiatives and programs.
Here are the responsibilities of a D&I program leader:
- Plan, prepare, and coordinate D&I events, workshops, presentations, meetings, and quality assurance training materials to ensure D&I compliance before delivery.
- Develop, adapt, and implement internal campaigns to raise awareness and influence leaders and employees in embedding D&I messaging across the division. Provide support in promoting a culture that supports and celebrates diversity across the operational environment.
- Provide DEI subject-matter expertise in implementing DEI initiatives, including but not limited to recruitment, training, and employee experience.
- Identify the need to revise DEI policies and programs to support organizational development and strategy.
- Support Employee Experience and Culture endeavors as needed by identifying and managing DEI opportunities.
As a D&I consultant, you can be called upon to help an organization find ways to improve its diversity and inclusion practices. This will involve conducting research, analyzing data, and making policies for improvement.
Here are the key responsibilities of a D&I policies head:
- Provide expert advice to develop and implement an action plan to prevent and address racism and ensure racial equity in the organization by identifying and addressing any bias and unconscious biases in the division.
- Provide technical input and contribute to draft policy documents and required briefs/documents/reports related to D&I.
- Maintain up-to-date knowledge of anti-discriminatory legislation
- Translate equality legislation into practice to ensure organizations meet statutory requirements.
- Write, implement and review the policy at the corporate and service level
Company Culture Curator
Cultural competency is understanding and interacting with people from different backgrounds. This is an important skill for diversity consultants because it lets them help their clients conjure inclusive environments.
The main responsibilities that cover this role are:
- Assess the organization’s culture and community needs and promote community cohesion.
- Promote changes within organizations and the wider community
- Develop structured systems for reporting any incidents of discrimination
- Provide diversity consulting, diversity intervention, and a DEI strategy
- Interact with people from various backgrounds
- Respond to issues and give information on options for complaints
Diversity and inclusion consultants research topics linked to advancing diversity initiatives and inclusion to help their clients understand the topic. For example, they can research the record of diversity and inclusion in the organization to help understand why it is important to have a diverse and inclusive workplace.
The main responsibilities under this role are:
- Conduct ongoing research on demographic trends and best practices, identifying and recommending strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Prepare analysis and determine metrics to drive progress in D&I, gender equality-related initiatives, and embedding inclusion values.
- Research the competitive advantage of D&I and how diverse workforces help to grow a company.
- Research a business strategy and figure out new programs to find out the latest insights.
- Provide regular updates and monitoring of gender parity progress, anti-racism initiatives, and other D&I work and disseminate information.
- Enhance DEI metrics reporting and processes to measure engagement and progress. A consultant who identifies, researches, and analyzes organizational trends to bring the best DEI solutions for the organization.
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Qualifications
The main qualifications required for a diversity and inclusion consultant are:
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion specialists typically hold a bachelor’s degree in a human resources-related field. A bachelor of science in BA or human resource management, for example, encompasses coursework like business management, accounting, psychology, industrial relations, and more.
- Passion for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work
- Preferably five years of experience working on workplace culture
- Excellent communication skills
- Respect for compliance and confidentiality
- Creativity and curiosity, with a solutions-based mentality
- Detail-oriented when ensuring compliance
- Ability to assess data and make recommendations
- Strong organizational skills
Best Tips for New Diversity and Inclusion Consultants
Working simultaneously for all four roles for new D&I consultants is difficult. At one extreme, you have to do program planning and execution for the organization, while at the other end, you have to research and make metrics ready for presentations. Such roles require serious planning.
If you have activated job alerts for the position of diversity and inclusion consultant, the following tips will help you start your career:
Do Some Intake
A skilled and competent D&I consultant will not simply do a training session if that’s what a company asks for. Instead, you will want to ask many thought-provoking questions, talk to key stakeholders, and perhaps review your existing data or documents.
If there is no contract in place yet, signing a non-disclosure agreement is alright before looking over confidential information. However, if the company does not share information, it hinders your ability to identify the root problem, assess fit with your style and expertise, and make appropriate recommendations.
Help the Company Define Their Goals
Every organization begins with some sense of its problem and what they want. Your competency as a D&I consultant will show if you figure out what the company needs. Next, define their concrete, mission-critical goals. Diversity is a means to an end that is already top of mind for the organization and its leaders.
An excellent consultant will help the company determine how to get results that already matter. Be prepared to ask questions like: What is your biggest pressing problem as an organization right now? What are your major pain points? What is keeping your senior management up at night? How do you want to transition from good to great? Having supervisors and top decision-makers involved in the intake process ensures you will get the most accurate answers.
You need to help tie D&I work to those goals and pain points to give a return on time, talent, and budget.
Explain to the company how you plan to demonstrate results and ROI. You need to have a good understanding of quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods and how to apply them. Make sure to see that your contract has goals, deliverables, and evaluation of results included.
Have Expertise Outside of D&I
The best D&I practitioners have a background in organization development and D&I. Many have first-hand leadership or industry experience, while others are skilled at designing and delivering training. Some are certified or credentialed coaches, while others hold certificates in specialty models, assessment tools, or communication techniques. Ensure that you possess a robust yet relevant skillset that adds depth and value to your work.
Run an Effective Business
Be reliable and professional whether you are hired as an external or internal consultant. Communicate, be reasonably available, respond to messages, keep your word, honor deadlines, and avoid starting work without a clear and thorough written contract.
Set boundaries to make sure you stay within your arrangement and don’t give too much of your time and expertise for free. You need to handle invoicing and financial transactions smoothly, use technology effectively, provide any tax or insurance documents, and answer their concerns with a customer service-oriented attitude.
Leverage Your Expertise
Your role is to set the company up for success by providing sound advice and analysis and to see what they can’t seem to do. Ask questions or push back if the company makes an inaccurate interpretation or ineffective decision. Listen well and answer all their questions, but direct them if they need direction. Explain your research or best practices to back up what you are recommending or to explain what informs your opinions.
Being a D&I consultant is a difficult role due to two reasons.
First, it isn’t easy to effectively switch between different roles daily. For example, you are presenting program details; the other day, you are resolving a personal conflict between two employees.
Second, aligning everyone in the organization over the same plan is tough. But once you get used to it, you will love your job. A diversity and inclusion consultant’s value in the current job environment is indisputable.
If you are new to Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy and are looking to break into the role, we recommend taking our D&I certificate, where you will learn how to build your skillset in consultancy, build your network, and create a successful job search strategy.