Compatibility and your DEI Consultant: 3 Key Considerations for Your Organization

A ruler lined notebook sits open to a crossword puzzle showing the words Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. An announcement for a blog post: Compatibility and your DEI Consultant

It can be challenging to find the right fit when it comes to any new hire or contractor. With DEI Consultants, because their work can affect your business or organization in a wide variety of ways, compatibility is even more important. Whether your goals are to prevent discrimination in the workplace, or implement DEI training as a standard practice at your new business, the success of these goals will depend on the right fit of the professionals you engage to get them started. 

Shopping around for a DEI consultant will include assessing compatibility and the consultant’s ability to understand and address your unique challenges. Compatibility might look like:

Know What your Inclusive Workplace Priorities Are

There are countless ways to approach equity, diversity, and inclusion — so customization and flexibility are always an option! Based on your priorities, evaluate the consultant’s ability to tailor DEI solutions to meet your organization’s unique needs and challenges. 

Are you looking for leadership or management training for your most senior staff, or something more holistic for the entire organization? Will you be more interested in group facilitation, or development of asynchronous training resources? 

Consultants who demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in designing interventions will generally have more success: every learner and company will resonate with different approaches in a variety of ways. Details like these, as well as the length of time you want to engage the consultant, and your budget can factor in, as well. If you aren’t sure about where your priorities need to be, consider starting with an initial consultation (often free or low-cost), and use that to inform your next steps. 

Match Your Values with Your DEI Consultant of Choice 

The nature of DEI work makes it highly influenced by a facilitator’s professional, and sometimes even personal, values. So when it comes to choosing the right consulting team, you need to make sure there is some matchup! For example, if your organization is hoping to improve inclusivity initiatives and policies related to antiracism, it would be prudent to work with a consultant with antiracism as part of their core practice. In another case, if your highest priority is to make your business profitable, a consultant who specializes in inclusive for-profit business practices will suit better. 

While interviewing or meeting with potential DEI consultants, assess how well the consultant’s approach aligns with your organization’s mission and values. For those just starting out, a leadership program or some coaching from a professional can also help you narrow down your core values, to make this even easier. 

Is your DEI Consultant Committed to Continuous Improvement? 

Working with a consultant who is committed to ongoing learning will make them that much more likely to be able to fit your needs. With sensitive topics like discrimination and inclusion practices developing quickly, it will be in your best interest to work with someone committed to staying abreast of trends and emerging challenges.

This kind of leadership and growth-mindset will also mean that they are more likely to be adaptable when faced with unexpected challenges or resistance to change. An effective consultant team will have storied participation in industry conferences, and contributions to scholarly publications or research in the field. Use these as criteria to narrow down your list of consultants to interview. 

For even more tips, see our earlier post on three easy steps to finding the right one for your organization. Or, if you’re ready to get started already, you can book a FREE consultation with MT Consulting Group right away! We specialize in education based in decolonization, antiracism, and lived experiences. 

Kristin Michelle is a small-fat, feminist, freelance writer. She can be found reading, writing, and fibercrafting at [at]ramblereader on Instagram

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