The Future of DEI for Consulting Firms
From management and operations to financial advisory, there are several types of consulting firms. Depending on what they specialize in, these firms have different hiring processes, company cultures, and retention strategies.
However, they all have something in common: they struggle with DEI.
Out of the 499,861 consultants who are currently employed in the US, 68.4 percent of them are white. The industry also has a long way to go when it comes to gender–with only 41.6 percent of employees being women (who earn 96 percent of what their male colleagues do).
Looking ahead, consulting firms will have to make a shift and focus more on building diverse and inclusive workforces. So where should they even start?
Let’s take a look.
Understanding the Importance of DEI
Before reevaluating their DEI efforts, consulting firms need to understand the importance behind them. According to Glassdoor’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Survey, 76 percent of job seekers believe that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies. About 1 in 3 job seekers would not apply for a role at a company that lacks diversity. By improving diversity recruiting at your firm, you will be more likely to attract and retain top talent.
From an employer perspective, consulting firms that have culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams are also 33 percent more likely to see better-than-average profit. Companies that have an equal number of men and women produce up to 41 percent higher revenue.
Integrating DEI into Company Culture
To attract, nurture, and retain diverse talent, consulting firms must commit to creating workplace environments that foster belonging and psychological safety. They must have policies and practices in place to welcome individuals with varied backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and thoughts. Elements of inclusivity should be deeply integrated with hiring processes, employee engagement programs, educational resources, and leadership training—making it a core part of company culture.
Getting Leadership Involved
It’s crucial for leaders and HR professionals at consulting firms to model the behavior they want employees to emulate, and take action to live out their company values with respect to diversity and inclusion. Practice using inclusive vocabulary, supporting employee activism, and sharing updates about what is being done to address the diversity issues affecting employees. Executive sponsorship and commitment to DEI can create enthusiasm around strategies and sustain the momentum needed to drive lasting change.
Implementing New Strategies
When it comes to company-specific DEI goals, consider setting ones for unconscious bias training, inclusive benefits, and your Employee Resource Groups. You can target specific issues around gender diversity by designing a women’s leadership development program with tailored curriculums. Understanding how to incorporate these foundational practices will set your organization up for measurable success with DEI in the long run.
Using DEI metrics can help you assess how effective your initiatives are and where improvements need to be made. Implementing employee engagement surveys and hosting fireside chats, feedback sessions, or focus groups can help you leverage employee data to continually improve your DEI efforts. Keep in mind that systemic changes will take time and that holding yourself accountable to quantifiable goals will increase your chances of success.
How else can consulting firms take their DEI efforts to the next level? Find out in our eBook.
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