Updated: May 6, 2020
Diversity consultancy supports a business to grow and develop in the area of inclusion.
It includes building awareness around diversity and developing systems and processes to embed inclusive processes.
Diversity and inclusion is a core organisational development goal for many organisations. By using a diversity consultancy, you can substantially increase the impact of diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
Diversity consultancy is a service provision that supports your employees and leaders to foster and ember diversity and inclusion, right across the business. Diversity consultants are professionals who have gained a vast amount of experience in the areas of diversity and inclusion.
By engaging the expertise held within a consulting business, you can build diversity and inclusion into the heart of your business and secure real business benefits.
Diversity consulting helps your business in a variety of ways. These can include, for example:
Education and training
Strategic planning and development
Establishing authority around Diversity and inclusion agenda
Mentoring and coaching
There are, however, a number of things to consider when choosing a diversity consultancy, to make sure that it is right for your business.
What to look for in a Diversity Consultancy business?
In this modern age, a serious business will have an internet and social media presence. Evaluate the website and make sure that it has a contact address and telephone number. It is a legal requirement for a registered company to display this information on its website. It must also display a VAT number, if it is registered for VAT.
Other points to consider....
Is there an opportunity to discuss your business needs or does the company website just give you a list of services and a price list?
Does the consultancy website provide you with enough information about the work that the consultancy delivers?
Very often, consultancies provide little detail about their services or service benefits to potential clients. Rather, they have lots of pictures and a content form!
It is also important not to be swayed by lots of client logos on a website.
Many consultancies use logos to try to influence potential clients. Never fall for this trick.
Often, these logos are simply 'copied and pasted' from elsewhere on the internet! Also, most companies, especially large brands, will not allow the use of their logo external to their own website, so look out for this one!
Those that do, will have strict provisions around the use of their logo, including time limits, which usually have to be renewed on an annual basis.
If a consultancy proudly displays the logo of a prominent company on their website, ask them about the work they did for the company.
Expertise and Experience
Call the consultancy and ask questions about the variety of work that the consulting business is experienced in undertaking. It is always useful to write down a list of questions before you call.
A good track record of delivery, supported by testimonials, videos etc can always be verified.
Has the consultancy been publicly recommended, or have they won or been nominated for any awards?
Is the consultancy positioned as thought leaders in diversity and inclusion? This can be a good indication of expertise and experience. Always look for expertise and experience. This is the only way to receive added value on your project.
Does the consultancy have an active presence on LinkedIn, the professional social network? Does the consultancy make regular posts and do they publish articles on the platform which establish them as though leaders?
Most credible consultancies will have a company page on LinkedIn platform.
Social media is important. It can say a lot about a diversity consultancy.
Check to see how long the individual consultant or Director of the consultancy has been involved in specialist diversity and inclusion work.
A good consultancy will have an active presence across social media and will post engaging and informative content.
There are many consultants and consultancies that cannot be found anywhere on the internet, apart from their own website!
Search the internet for activity across social media platforms. This can be a sign of a good consultancy, and adds some credibility. At least you will know that the business is actively engaging publicly.
Last, but not least, how long the individual or company has been involved in specialist diversity and inclusion work.
You need to establish that the diversity consultancy is legitimate and experienced.
Pricing can be a good indicator of a good diversity consultancy.... but not always!
Very often, good consultancies will offer introductory pricing to new clients. They may offer discounts to repeat clients.
When you have conversations about pricing with the consultancy, consider if their pricing in line with that of a specialist, professional service.
If a consultant offers to deliver services or projects for a very low price, it is probably too good to be true!
Beware of overly cheap consultancy, with a very quick turnaround. Remember the old caveat.... you get what you pay for!
All professionals, no matter the subject area, charge in line with their level of expertise and years of experience. They may offer a discount but will rarely, if ever, give away their expertise for free. Makes sense really!
Does the consultancy or individual have professional indemnity and liability insurance?
This question is extremely important, and one that you should demand an answer to and evidence of, before engaging a consulting business.
If the consultancy / consultant gives you advice that you rely on, and later find it to be incomplete or erroneous, you will have little recourse under the law.
It is very important that you protect your business by ensuring that the company you choose is insured.
Some companies / consultants operate without insurance. If a consultancy provides advice, services or strategies that are erroneous, you could be out of pocket!
Insurance is important. Always make sure that your chosen consultant / consultancy has insurance and check that it is up to date and covers the duration of your project.
If they give bad advice or a service that leads you to make bad decisions, what would be your course of action, if they are not covered?
Can the Consultancy provide Examples of Projects?
Looks can be deceiving! Be sure that the consultants have broad experience in the field.
Delivering a few sessions of diversity training, does not necessarily qualify a ‘consultant’ with the knowledge and experience to deliver effectively on your project.
Be aware that there are many people on the internet who have very little knowledge and experience in the area of diversity and inclusion consultancy!
Some have a generalist Human Resources background and do not necessarily have the professional experience in diversity and inclusion to deliver project based, diversity consulting.
Ask questions about the delivery team! Again, check for the level of experience of those who will be delivering your project. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Do they have the necessary experience and/or qualifications to deliver best practice results.
Do they have practical skills to be able support your team onsite?
Knowledge is always useful, but be sure to check that they have the necessary management skills to manage the project and provide an end to end service.
Imparting knowledge is good but upskilling your employees is better! This that will enable your staff teams to continue the work, long after the consultancy has left the business with a paycheck! Think about it!
This will ensure that you are not left in the lurch and sufficient knowledge and skills are left in your business, as a value add.
Never let a professional image cloud your judgement. There are a lot of sharks operating in this space! Many have neither experience or expertise!