How to Choose the Right DEI Partner
More than ever, organizations want to build diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Budget allocations for DEI support are increasing and with it a demand for DEI experts. The DEI industry is growing quickly and it’s hard to know how to weigh your options when it comes to choosing a partner.
We encourage you to consider each potential partner’s approach, the time to talk with them and consider how you feel about working with them.
While beliefs do not need to perfectly align with yours, there should be general synergy between you and your DEI partner. Any differences or challenges you experience should enhance your work progress.
What beliefs drive their work?
How do those beliefs influence their actions, approach and recommendations?
What is their philosophy about keeping people in or pushing people out?
Do they believe that there are individuals who don't belong in an organization, and why or why not?
Consider overall approach to organizational and staff development, especially as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.
What is their approach to staff support and development?
Who or what principles influence their work, understanding of, and approach to DEI?
What might a day of training look and feel like for your as a client?
Have they had success training individuals virtually?
What metrics do they use to measure impact and success?
How do they address strategy, learning, and outcomes in development?
You know you need additional expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion for change to happen. You should understand how your DEI partner will support you in that change and on what timeline. Listen for honest answers - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What is their approach to creating change?
What does the change process look like with organizations they support?
What timeline do they typically recommend to clients for an initial engagement?
How do they build in crisis support for leaders or organizations to their long-term work?
How do they support individual growth and change?
Who determines what the appropriate rate of change is?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion work should focus on changing mindsets through action. Those actions should lead to tangible, measurable results for your organization.
On what data do they base their recommendations?
What measurable changes can you expect to see in your organization?
Do they offer technology and data solutions that will help continue to monitor, push and celebrate our growth?
While it’s unlikely that any one DEI partner will have experience in every type of industry or organization, you want to ensure they can translate their experiences so that they work for you and your team. They should be able to confidently support executives, managers, and front-line staff and be nimble in adapting to your company’s unique dynamics and business.
When and why did they start doing DEI work?
What is their experience leading organizations or supporting executives?
What types of organizations have the leaders, facilitators, and coaches supported?
How does their experiences with other clients translate and inform their approach with your organization?
You will have feelings and gut reactions to potential DEI partners that shouldn’t be dismissed. Before moving forward with your partnership, check in with yourself on an emotional level.
Do you feel appropriate levels of challenge and comfort?
Will your leadership and your organization be enhanced by this partnership?
Did you feel the level of trust and care needed to be vulnerable and lay the foundation for your learning?
What does your gut say about vision and direction?
Do you believe they will be good guides?