Before a consultant can get started helping an organization implement an effective diversity management strategy, its important to know what kind of culture surrounds diversity within a company. In other words, the consultant needs to know the default way diversity is understood by an organizations employees. Only once this is clear, can the consultant properly assess a company’s readiness for change and begin to devise a plan of execution. In order to do this, a CultureScan™ must be conducted.
A CultureScan™ consists of a deep dive into the organization’s way of doing things using history, interviews, and an employee team of 12-15 people to validate findings. This allows any diversity consultant to accomplish three things at once.
1. Take the Company’s Temperature
Conducting a CultureScan™ gives a sense of the way in which diversity is currently thought about at the company. Most often, issues lie in the fact that the organization as a whole has an out of date way of thinking about diversity. It is usually thought of as a social issue, that, although must be considered for moral reasons, has little to do with adding value to a company. The majority of people think that increasing diversity within a company is something that should be pursued for social benefits, but ultimately won’t affect how business is done.
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2. Present a New Approach
Next, an alternative way of thinking about diversity must be presented to all employees, working at all levels of an organization. By reframing the way they view and approach diversity, people begin to update their way of thinking and with new understanding, get on board with what will come next.
Rather than thinking about diversity as a noble pursuit that does not effect the nuts and bolts operations of an organization, diversity can be used to improve the quality of employees work-life, while at the same time increasing productivity and innovation across the board. In reality, diversity management is not simply a moral crusade, it also has direct and tangible benefits for businesses if it is carried out correctly.
3. Respond to Objections and Get Them on Board
This way of thinking is not always met with open arms. The objection heard most often from clients goes something like this: “I don’t have a problem with the things you are saying, but you are ignoring the larger, social issue.” For experienced diversity management consultants, the reply to this is simple: If we can demonstrate that better results can be arrived at by treating diversity as a useful tool that can add value to a business, then businesses will go out and look for more diversity. Therefore, we ultimately make more social progress if we approach diversity as a business issue. A remedy to the social issues we are concerned with can emerge simultaneously with a more productive, profitable and innovative business.
By performing these three functions, a CultureScan™ guides the effective implementation of a new diversity strategy. It allows consultants to get an idea of the existing culture that permeates different levels of the company, while at the same time kick-starting the process of change by introducing a platform for advancing new ways to think.