selecting a diversity consultant

Eight Factors to Consider & Eight Questions To Ask

If diversity training is not already a part of your employee development offerings it probably will be soon. If you send out a Request For Proposals (RFP) for diversity training you will get a variety of responses with costs ranging from $500/day to $15,000/hr.

How do you decide? How do you select from the many people available and get the best return on your investment?

Key Factors to Consider

  • Consultant Experience. Research the consultant's experience in your industry or with organizations similar to yours.

  • Consultant's Philosophy. There are many possible approaches to diversity training. Be sure the consultant's philosophy is similar to your organization's so that all materials developed and all messages shared will be supportive of your organization's goals.

  • Alignment. Find out if the consultant is involved in community and personal activities which are in alignment with the message they are presenting about diversity. This will increase credibility and provide a deeper resource of information to enhance the training.

  • Consultant Skills. Assess the consultant or trainer's experience with curriculum design, facilitation of sensitive subjects and ability to think fast and adapt to unexpected situations.

  • Referrals and References. Don't skip the reference checking process. Ask previous clients for feedback on the consultant's effectiveness.

  • Participant Feedback. It is reasonable to ask for samples of feedback from participants. When possible ask to see copies of a complete set of feedback forms from one or more seminars or projects completed. This will tell you more than reviewing an edited compilation of the best comments.

  • Your Targeted Audience. Determine if the consultant is a good match with your targeted audience. Or, if the same consultant will work with a variety of employees, be sure to select a consultant who has worked in different industries and with different types of participants.

  • Culture. Don't forget to factor in your organization's culture and style. You could hire a great consulting team but set them up for failure if their style or material does not reflect your industry and/or culture.

Eight Great Questions

In addition to the standard questions you would ask any potential vendor or employee, you might ask one or more of the following questions.

  1. How would you describe your philosophy regarding diversity training?

  2. Why did you decide to design (or deliver) diversity training?

  3. If I were to interview 100 people who had attended programs you led in the past year, what would be the 2 or 3 most consistent pieces of feedback I would hear about you?

  4. Give me 3 examples of ways you apply your skills related to valuing diversity in the community.

  5. What would be the primary factors you would consider when designing a seminar (or a keynote) for our organization?

  6. How do you keep your material fresh and relevant?

  7. What do you do to work through your own biases and your personal issues related to diversity?

  8. Describe a situation which came up in a diversity program that caught you completely off-guard and then tell me how you handled it. What did you learn from that situation?

Selecting a diversity trainer can be a challenge. But selecting one who will help your organization achieve your goals will be easier with these questions.


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