When seeking a diversity and inclusion trainer to deliver sessions for your company, you need to make sure the individual measures up.  In most cases, the HR personnel or someone in the training department requests a firm that specializes in diversity to facilitate the delivery of workshops or seminars to their employees.

But how do you know the person who presents themselves in person (or virtually) is an expert on this subject? There is no formal schooling for such a unique topic that I am aware of, except for a few institutions offering some basic courses on-line.  So what criteria can be used to determine whether or not that the person is proficient and qualified to deliver sessions on D/I?

Here are some questions the HR or the training department should keep in mind when requesting a diversity trainer to deliver sessions for their corporation.

  • What are the qualifications of a diversity trainer?
  • Did this person’s career involve dealing with multicultural issues in the past and if so, for how long?
  • What type of training has this person delivered? (Seminars, workshops, keynote talks?)
  • Besides social media, does this person have any type of profile in the mainstream media such as radio, television, or even print?
  • Who were some of the clients this person worked for?
  • Are there any testimonials?

An accomplished diversity trainer is like a mountain climber who has actually experienced the real rough terrains and intense challenges facing a climber.  Without this training and firsthand experience, it can be very difficult for the mountaineer to effectively deliver quality sessions on such activities.

You don’t want to bring in someone who has minimal knowledge and has done little more than simply read books on this important topic. When delivering sessions, whether it is a workshop, a seminar or keynote talk, it has to come from the heart. Ensure you select someone who has firsthand experienced and has dealt directly with D/I issues, otherwise, anyone can call themselves a diversity trainer.

Prior to COVID-19, I attended an event where a person mentioned to me that she was also a diversity trainer. After some time, I asked what her qualifications were, and she responded by stating that last year she visited three countries in Africa for a month. In my personal opinion,  that does not qualify you to be a diversity trainer.

The other mistake many organizations tend to make is when they appoint a person of color to be their diversity ambassador just because they are of color. The fact that a person is of Chinese or South Asian descent does not mean they are qualified to be a diversity trainer.  There is so much more in-depth knowledge and experience required.

A competent trainer not only has to be a great listener but also needs to be able to move the participants emotionally and then motivate them to take action to make a positive change in the workforce.