By Nsim Team
If you want to become a diversity consultant, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a diversity consultant:
• You are sensitive to differences in gender, ethnicity, age, physical and mental ability, and religion
• You enjoy taking responsibility for projects, and have tact and professionalism
• You have an interest in helping organizations create culturally diverse and inclusive workplaces
• You have the confidence to coach and counsel the employees and executive management of an organization
• You are interested in designing and implementing diversity education strategies
A diversity consultant (also known as a cultural diversity consultant, diversity specialist, diversity trainer or diversity advisor) is a professional with specialized knowledge of cultural diversity, specifically as it relates to various applications in the workplace. They may have a professional or academic background in human resources, management, labour relations, or a variety of other fields.
A diversity consultant is responsible for helping the executive management of an organization remove cultural barriers within that organization. Cultural barriers have many negative impacts on organizations, including productivity shortfalls, costly lawsuits, and the creation of a poor public image. Common types of cultural barriers that impact organizations include:
• The underutilization of workers from minority groups*
• Communication problems among different cultural groups
• Conducting business across cultures
Diversity consultants help remove underutilization barriers by helping management with both determining parity within their workforce, and developing the competencies needed to lead, manage, onboard, and train workers across cultures in order to remedy existing parity.
Diversity consultants help remove communication barriers by demonstrate to the employees and the leadership of the organization ways in which they can alter communication methods (such as body language and other techniques) in order to make people feel understood and respected.
Diversity consultants may help management gain the competence necessary to conduct business across cultures by teaching them about important business acumen that exists within different cultures.
The educational requirements for becoming a diversity consultant can vary, and are directly related to the amount of relevant work experience you have.
For example, you may only need a bachelor’s degree to become a diversity consultant if you have a few, or several years of work experience in a human resources management or labour relations management capacity. Some employers however, may require that you have a master's degree in one of the following fields if you want to become a diversity consultant:
• Social work
• Instructional technology and training
• Human resource management
• Organizational development
In order to become effective in a career as a diversity consultant, and help organizations create an inclusive workplace culture, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Able to teach communication techniques to management, such as terminology and body language, that help employees feel respected
• Able to design and implement methods to measure the inclusion, engagement and well-being of various diversity groups within an organization
• Able to diagnose organizational diversity-related competence gaps with an organization
• Able to teach organizations how attract the most talented recruits across cultures
• Able to design, develop and implement diversity education strategies
• Able to teach others to mediate conflicts between employees that stem from cultural differences
Diversity consultants may be employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by virtually any type of organization, including:
• Small, medium and large private and public businesses across all industries
• Non-profit and not-for profit organizations
• Businesses and organizations that operate internationally
• The Armed Forces
• Colleges and universities
• Public and private schools
• Municipal, state/provincial and federal government departments
• Diversity consultancies
• Management consultancies
• Self-employment (working as a freelance consultant)