A DEI Consultant: How to Find the Right One in 3 Easy Steps

A man in professional attire stands in front of a mind map outlining the roles of a DEI Consultant: strategy, execution, solution, result, success.

For businesses looking to successfully implement inclusion strategies, it is imperative to hire experienced and professional partners. But when it comes to hiring a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant, where does one start? 

If you aren’t sure how to get started in the process of hiring DEI consultants, we’re here to break it down for you. Whether your workplace inclusivity project is a proactive approach or in response to discrimination in the workplace, here are the three steps to take when shopping for DEI consulting. 

Step 1: Assess your DEI needs

When it comes to any kind of project or hiring endeavour, it is imperative to start with goals. DEI strategy is no exception! Get started by conducting an internal assessment to identify gaps and areas for improvement. For example, solicit feedback from clients on how they could be served better by your business; or provide staff with the opportunity to confidentially provide their insight on ways that their superiors could improve their experience working for the company. 

From here, it will be easier to determine specific DEI goals and objectives, which align with your organization’s mission and values. This also ensures that you will be able to make changes that are relevant to your business or organization, and have a direct impact on its overall longevity. 

Common challenge: Often, organizations struggle to clearly articulate their DEI goals and objectives during their consultant search. This leads to confusion during the selection process and can affect the effectiveness of the consultant’s work. 

The MTCG Approach: MT Consulting Group are experts at conducting comprehensive DEI assessments and audits. So if your goal is to, well, figure out your goals, we can do that! Through workshops and consultations, we can help you clarify your business’ specific needs and DEI priorities, and develop tailored strategies for achieving them. 

“MT Consulting are great strategic planning strategists. The workbook they shared as part of the process was clear and thoughtful and helped us move through the day in collaboration and action.”

Step 2:  Research and Identify Potential DEI Consultants

Use what you have at your disposal: online networking platforms, your professional networks, and other referrals can yield you a long list of potential DEI consultants. You can even start by simply searching “DEI consultant” plus the name of your city or area to see who you can look into, locally.

You may be surprised to find that there is a great diversity of expertise and approaches that DEI professionals can take! Using your list of preliminary equity goals, evaluate service providers based on their expertise, experience, track record, and approach to DEI initiatives. Some facilitators and consultants will be better suited to working with organisations of a particular size, or have specialisations in specific areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Common Challenge: Options, options, options! It can be challenging to navigate the vast pool of DEI consultants out there, to find the one who fits your values and needs in the right way.

The MTCG Approach: MT Consulting Group was founded by experts. With our decades of expertise, we have developed a rigorous vetting process to be able to identify and recommend the best DEI consultants to address the unique needs of each of our clients. We recommend consultants from our extensive network with proven track records of success and a deep understanding of diverse industries and organizational cultures.

Step Three: Conduct Initial Interviews

When you have narrowed down your options to a reasonable number, contact and schedule introductory calls with your chosen consultants to discuss your needs, and determine compatibility.

Some consultants may charge a fee for an initial goals consultation; others may not. Either way, everyone’s time is valuable, so it is important to be prepared. Before any of your interviews, prepare to talk about:

Your tangible problems or goals: consultants can’t fix the whole world and can’t read your mind. While they can help you refine your goals after contracts are signed and work begins, it will be impossible to know whether the consultant is the right fit for your goals if they don’t even know what those goals are to begin with!

Your budget: DEI work isn’t free – expertise and strategic direction comes at a cost. Resources will be required to make meaningful progress. Many consultants can offer a variety of services to suit many kinds of clients and budgets.

Your values: Assess how well the consultant’s approach aligns with your organization’s mission, values, and DEI goals. Look for consultants who prioritize inclusivity, collaboration, and sustainability in their methodologies.

Preparing this information beforehand, such as in an executive report or a summary document you can refer back to (or even provide to your interviewees during the meeting) can help keep the conversation focused and help everyone start to assess compatibility.

“We have never been so unified in our mission and vision, and we have never understood our organization and roles within it more clearly. I can’t recommend the MT Experience enough!”

Additional factors to consider during your initial interview meetings include:

Customization and Flexibility: How much can the consultant tailor DEI solutions to meet your organization’s unique needs and challenges? Do they offer services that will realistically fit your budget?

Continuous Improvement: Ask about their commitment to ongoing learning and evolution in response to emerging DEI trends and best practices. What is their approach to feedback? Do they regularly engage in learning opportunities to keep their practice fresh and relevant? How do they bring their learnings into their facilitation and development?

Finally, and most importantly, bring the decision maker(s) for your organisation to these interview meetings. Often, key details are lost when conveying information through multiple layers of management or committees. By having the individual(s) who will ultimately decide whom to contract to the interviews, they will have the best indication of which consultants to hire, and get the work started sooner rather than later. 

Common Challenge: It’s normal to struggle with determining the metrics for success when it comes to DEI initiatives, or measuring the impact of the changes you will implement to make your organization more inclusive. 

The MTCG Approach: At MT Consulting Group, we work collaboratively with our clients to outline and develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress over time.

Through ongoing monitoring and evaluation, we help organizations quantify the impact of DEI efforts and make data-driven decisions to drive continuous improvement. 

Ready to get started on your DEI journey? Book your FREE consultation meeting, to learn more about our approaches and our team today! 

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