A well-oiled organization operates as a cohesive unit in which individuals fulfill vital roles. With the rise in demand for corporate culture to value diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), businesses are starting to realize the importance of effective diversity management. Hiring a director of diversity is fundamental to ensuring your company can stay on track implementing DEI best practices. But corporate DEI is a relatively new field, making it sometimes challenging to know what to look for in a diversity manager.
Let’s take a look at some of the qualifications and red flags to be aware of when selecting the right diversity manager for your organization.
The Role of a Diversity Manager in the Workplace
A diversity manager, often given the title of director of diversity or chief diversity officer, is responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards of cultural diversity in an office, business, agency, or school setting. This role is responsible for performing myriad tasks that support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. They often include:
- Creating workshops and training. Diversity directors promote a workplace culture that values tolerance and acceptance. Most workplaces today have diverse workforce populations. By ensuring that minority groups feel seen and heard and get the same opportunities as their non-minority peers, diversity managers can foster a sense of belonging, which contributes to employee morale and retention. Moreover, because diverse populations bring different perspectives and skillsets to the table, fostering a sense of inclusion can also boost organizational innovation. DEI training should promote emotional intelligence regarding race and ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender identity, sexuality, disability, and other socially ascribed characteristics.
- Ensuring your organization is meeting legal requirements. Diversity managers are also responsible for ensuring adherence to laws and regulations related to equity. This is important because organizations that fail to ensure fair treatment of their employees often end up in legal trouble, which can cost them many thousands of dollars, negative publicity, and lowered employee morale. Hence, your diversity manager should be well versed in federal civil rights laws and their implementing regulations, as well as any state laws dealing with workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Establishing a workforce that mirrors its community in terms of diversity. Recruiting, promoting, and retaining a staff of diverse individuals also can be part of the diversity manager’s duties. Diversity managers may be in charge of expanding or refining recruitment procedures to ensure a company’s workforce reflects the diverse demographics of its local population. Representation matters, both to members of the workforce and to a company’s customer base. A diverse work population effectively conveys that the company cares about diversity representation.
- Collecting data to measure and track progress. Diversity officers should devise ways of collecting data based on employee feedback that measures their organization’s DEI efforts and culture. Administering employee surveys can help diversity managers understand how work populations feel about DEI issues. Both quantitative and qualitative data provide valuable feedback when tracking and measuring an organization’s DEI initiatives. However, getting employees to participate in such questionnaires and then analyzing the data can be a daunting task for diversity managers who do not have a background in data science. Forward-thinking diversity managers can overcome this by implementing software solutions like Diversio’s that can make fast and easy work out of surveying employees and turning the resulting data into usable information.
Qualifications to Look for in a Diversity Officer
A good diversity manager will be able to strategically implement your organization’s DEI initiatives and best practices. Typically, their educational background will include a degree in human resources or a related field, with at least five years of experience in equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity programs.
A thorough understanding of federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity laws and regulations is also critical to their role. Beyond understanding diversity-related laws, they should also have a good grasp of DEI best practices, with experience implementing best-in-class DEI programs and initiatives.
They should also have strong research and communication skills, with the ability to devise, collect, and analyze data. Since they will be responsible for implementing empirically-backed DEI solutions, experience in curriculum development and change management are also useful.
Conflict resolution skills are also crucial to the role of a diversity manager. After all, even the most DEI-focused workplaces are likely to experience situations in which someone feels equity is not being served.
This list of qualifications represents a tall order. That’s why when evaluating prospective diversity managers, it’s paramount to look for someone with a growth mindset. Certification in DEI work is a clear indicator that a diversity professional cares about continuous improvement and has all the skills necessary to transform your organization into a DEI leader.
Overcoming Challenges Faced by Directors of Diversity
For larger organizations, scalability implementing DEI best practices can be a challenge. Collecting and analyzing DEI data can require a significant investment of time and energy, leaving little time for all the other aspects of a diversity manager’s role. Yet, this is a critical component for helping organizations understand where to focus their DEI efforts.
Implementing unique solutions to your organization’s DEI landscape can be like fitting together the pieces of an ever-changing puzzle. However, at the core of any DEI strategic plan should be data. Diversio’s AI-driven solution not only simplifies the collection and analysis of employee survey data. It also provides research-based recommendations based on your employees’ survey responses. This frees up diversity managers to get to work implementing strategies that are sure to pay off.
Additionally, if you already have a diversity manager in place, support their professional evolution by steering them to certification programs to help them hone their skills. Diversio’s professional certification for HR DEI pros can give your organization that competitive edge in the global arena. Our course is perfect for gaining confidence and expertise in analyzing, tracking, and improving the state of D&I in your workplace, as well as incorporating D&I best practices into your core HR/DEI programs.
Find out more about our online course, which covers a range of topics over three days. These include effective metrics measurement and gaining a better understanding of inclusive hiring practices. With the right tools and cutting-edge education, the right diversity manager can transform your organization into one that will attract and retain top talent.