Why Partnering with DEI Consultants Can Drive Meaningful Change in Your Organization

Regardless of size, many organizations struggle to implement effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This challenge can be incredibly daunting for smaller organizations that may not have a dedicated HR department or the necessary expertise in this area. Working with DEI consultants can help these organizations overcome these obstacles.

DEI consultants have specialized knowledge and experience in a wide range of areas, particularly in talent acquisition, training and development, policy creation, and culture change. By leveraging their expertise, organizations get guidance in creating and implementing DEI initiatives that will help them reach their goals.

However, organizations need not be DEI experts to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Rather than trying to navigate this complex and ever-evolving field independently, organizations can serve as a conduit for DEI expertise to enter their workplace by utilizing consultants.

On this episode of The New Mainstreet podcast, Ali Sheehan Mignone, Head of People, Diversity, and Inclusion at Theatre Projects, discuss how outsourcing DEI can help small teams improve their workplace culture and diversity initiatives.

we demistify diverse communities through research technology

Request a quote

Breaking Down Barriers: Creating Inclusive Workplaces Through Behavioral Change

Companies prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion often experience higher rates of productivity and increased profits. That diversity goes beyond racial and ethnic differences, however. Diversity of thought is equally important, which drives innovation and creative problem-solving.

From a talent management perspective, fostering an inclusive workplace is essential to attracting and retaining talent and developing talent, particularly for marginalized and underrepresented groups. The process begins with acknowledging that these groups require programs specifically designed to build equity within an organization. While people generally have a shared humanity, understanding that systemic “isms” have moved the finish line for marginalized communities is essential to advancing equity.

DE&I initiatives existed before 2020, but post-George Floyd, many organizations have stepped up their commitments, partly because it's the right thing to do but also in fear of public backlash. An increasing percentage of consumers want to shop with brands that prioritize DE&I. Similarly, a growing number of consumers are willing to stop frequenting a store that does not publicly and consistently support diversity and inclusion. It is not just consumers unwilling to support a brand that does not meet DE&I expectations. Prospective and current employees within an organization are hyper-aware of this, and they use it to decide whether to take a job or not or stay or leave their current jobs.

Ultimately, an organization's culture is not inclusive if people are invited into a space unwilling to change. People need a sense of belonging to feel included and authentically accepted for who they are. But creating that environment in an organization is challenging because it is not easy to change hearts and minds. People have deeply ingrained values and beliefs, which make behavioral change difficult.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Tanya Diaz-Goldsmith, Director of Talent Development & Diversity for Related Companies, shares how DE&I programs focusing on behavioral changes can foster inclusive workplace environments and increase employee retention.

Meet Tanya:

Tanya Diaz-Goldsmith is the Director of Talent Development & Diversity for Related Companies. She leads Related’s diversity efforts, working to embed best in class diversity and inclusion practices into all facets of the business in order support the company’s commitment to advancing equity. Since joining Related, Tanya has developed robust strategies to promote diversity that prioritize a holistic, people centric approach and makes use of her decades of experience in real estate and nonprofit. She continues to leverage her background to build an organizational culture that inspires and supports ideation, innovation and inclusion. An enthusiastic and passionate advocate for DE&I, Tanya is known for her commitment to increasing diversity within the real estate industry.

we demistify diverse communities through research technology

Request a quote

Market Researchers: Empathy Activists Dismantling Untruths

Dynamic storytelling is a powerful way to inspire others to take a desired action. For companies and brands, this could mean purchasing a product, attending an event, or signing up for a subscription service. Consumers, who share their perspectives with researchers on what they want and need, play an influential role in shaping these narratives.

By leveraging quantitative and qualitative research, researchers get a 360-degree view of the consumer, which fosters cognitive empathy. In a sense, researchers are empathy activists entrusted with sharing knowledge about consumers to help brands make better marketing decisions that drive engagement.

Cognitive empathy works to dismantle judgments and biases. Researchers engage people through surveys, focus groups, and other data collection methodologies and offer insights that reveal stereotypes, biases and untruths. Marketers must act on those insights and deliver relevant marketing campaigns based on truth.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Rob Volpe, CEO of Ignite 360 and author of Tell Me More About That: Solving the Empathy Crisis One Conversation at a Time, shares how cognitive empathy can foster diversity and inclusion in the insights industry.

we demistify diverse communities through research technology

Request a quote

Diversity In Market Research, Attracting the Next Gen

Attracting young, diverse talent to the market research industry is essential to its longevity. But this task has proven difficult to date, and it may be a matter of timing. Engaging younger generations in college could lead to greater interest in careers in insights. But that requires intentionality on the part of research companies.

Engagement is just half of the story, however. America’s youth are increasingly diverse. Gen Z is the first majority-minority generation. As they come of age and enter the workforce, they look to work for organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion. Recent findings show that 68% of Gen Z define diversity and inclusion as racial equality, followed closely by gender equality at 67%, with differently-abled equality rounding out the top three, at 48%. Among Millennials, 69% define diversity and inclusion as racial equality, but fewer define it as gender equality (58%). Differently-abled equality and LGBTQIA equality are tied for third.

Why is this important? If the market research industry hopes to attract younger generations, it must adopt a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Young multicultural adults must see themselves reflected in leadership, so they have something to aspire to. Ultimately, the industry's culture must support diversity and inclusion in principle and practice by creating equitable and inclusive workspaces were people from all backgrounds have a sense of belonging.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Misty Wilson, Director of Marketing at Greenbook, shares perspectives from her journey as a woman of color in market research and what the industry needs to do to attract diverse talent.

we demistify diverse communities through research technology

Request a quote

Gen Z Demands Diversity & Inclusion, Upvotes Brands That Level Up

America’s youth, the first multicultural majority generation in U.S. history, is growing rapidly, adding over 2.3 million consumers (about twice the population of New Hampshire) to the population each year, making them a significant force to be reckoned with. These "mini-millennials” challenge brands to address societal stereotypes, particularly around gender identity, and use their influence to support or disapprove of brands’ diversity and inclusion efforts.

In our first report on diversity and inclusion last year, we analyzed consumer reactions to companies' public declarations of support for social justice in 2020. In our latest wave of ThinkNow Diversity & Inclusion: Brands and Consumer Purchase Intent, we find differences in perceptions and expectations among key demographic groups compared to last year’s report.

Download the report here:

Diversity & Inclusion Means Racial Equality

As in 2021, most U.S. consumers equate diversity and inclusion with ‘racial equality.’ Among LGBTQIA consumers, however, 70% consider ‘LGBTQIA equality’ a stronger representation of D&I. Youth are more likely to see ‘gender equality’ as an example of diversity and inclusion.

Multicultural Consumers Support Inclusive Brands

African American and Hispanic respondents are the most likely to support a company that makes a public commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, which differs significantly from non-Hispanic Whites. This metric has held steady over the past twelve months as black and brown audiences, galvanized by the events of 2020, seek out brands that “understand the assignment.”

Consumers who support inclusive brands do so in various ways, but the extent to which they do it has shifted. Overall, we’ve seen a slip in the percentage of consumers willing to share their support on social media. The polarity of the platforms is likely driving this drop. However, there’s been an increase in those willing to spend more money at these stores or go out of their way to shop there – even if they’ve never done so in the past.

We did see a dip in the percentage of consumers willing to break up with their favorite brands if they don’t step up.

At the micro-level, non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to say that they would share their support on social media. Compared to a year ago, fewer Hispanics would share on social media, but more would go out of their way to support a store they had never frequented.

The number of African Americans willing to spend more money at a store that publicly supports diversity and inclusion significantly increased from 2021 to 2022. In 2022, this segment is more likely than other segments to be willing to spend at least 50% more at these stores.

While Millennials have become less likely to spend at least 50% more at stores that show a commitment to diversity and inclusion, Gen Z, on the other hand, has become more likely.

It Just Makes Cents

While it may not be making headlines or spilling out into the streets, consumer expectations for more diverse and inclusive brands are holding steady, driven by America’s youth. From race to ability, sexual orientation to gender, consumers want to see themselves represented authentically and sincerely by companies and brands.

A brand’s ability to do that impacts consumer sentiment and purchase behavior. Brands unwilling to step up run the risk of alienating consumer groups and the spending power at their disposal.

To see additional insights, download the 2022 ThinkNow Diversity & Inclusion: Brands and Consumer Purchase Intent Report today.

we demistify diverse communities through research technology

Request a quote