When To Use a Cultural Audit Versus a DEI Assessment

As the CEO and Principal Consultant of Inclusive Leaders Group (ILG), one of my key responsibilities is to meet our prospective clients where they are. I had an interesting meeting last week helping a CHRO of a medium-sized manufacturing firm fully understand the importance of their current state of DEI and how to maximize their efforts toward the achievement of strategic organizational goals.  The experienced HR executive’s quote was:

CHRO’s Quote:

“We want to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization but don’t know where to start. We see the need to do so to grow. Where do we begin?”

Following asking performance consulting questions to gain valuable insight, I advised that we use our culture audits and DEI assessments to help leaders understand their current state of DEI and how to maximize their efforts toward the achievement of strategic organizational goals.  As usually is the case, the prospective client expressed awareness of both tactics but confusion over which evaluation approach was appropriate for her organization.

When To Use a Cultural Audit Versus a DEI Assessment?

  • What is a culture audit?

 In culture audits, we examine your current practices, policies, and procedures. Our process creates a safe space for your employees and other stakeholders to share their experiences without fear of retaliation.

  • Definition Of Workplace Culture

OK, but what exactly is workplace culture? Well, one of the inherent problems with corporate culture is that it means different things to different people. It’s a vague, loosely defined term. Though corporate culture encompasses all aspects of a company’s operating environment, and it includes the following elements:

  • Company-values-and-vision
  • Leadership style
  • Company’s vision and values
  • Employee values and behaviors
  • Workplace procedures and policies
  • Communication styles
  • Workplace environment
  • Reward and recognition programs
  • Company stories and interactions, including language and symbols 
  • What is a culture audit used for?

Culture audits provide critical insights for developing strategic DEI solutions – helping you achieve your organizational goals. In culture audits, we start by uncovering organizational practices, policies, and procedures that hinder diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. We then identify opportunities to update and re-align practices, policies, and procedures according to best practices, emerging needs, and priorities, with an emphasis on inclusive design. As a tangible outcome, you’ll receive our recommendations and implementation plan.

  • What is a DEI assessment?

In DEI assessments, we meet you where you are. We help you establish your DEI baseline and uncover your organizational DEI expectations, philosophy, values, and experiences.

  • What are the Dimensions of Diversity?

Examples of these dimensions are represented below.

  • What is a DEI assessment used for?

In DEI assessments, we determine opportunities for organizational growth in accordance with best practices, DEI benchmarking and research. As a tangible outcome, you’ll receive a report with your individual and organizational results, and recommendations for immediate next steps to advance your DEI efforts.

What Are the Next Steps?

Following a cultural audit or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) assessment, any gaps uncovered should be prioritized and addressed promptly. Once an action plan is developed, it is essential to communicate the improvements you are making and why you are making them to your employees and follow through with any commitments you make. Keep in mind that cultural audits and DEI assessments are not a one-and-done endeavor. Conducting regular organizational assessments ensures the ongoing health of your DEI strategy and initiatives while enabling your leaders and managers to address vulnerabilities that may develop before they become a problem.

Don’t know where to start? We can help.

Interested in elevating your DEI as a business strategy in your organization?

Whether you’re starting from nothing or needing a boost, we can help. Our cultural audits and DEI assessments are about transformation, creating an inclusive workplace, and a true sense of belonging for all.  We build on the current state of your organization to create a relevant starting point for growth. Considering learning at both an individual and team level, we map opportunities across the entire employee experience and build customized solutions.

Using data discovery, workshops, leadership development, conversation cohorts, and applied learning tools, we ensure our work is immersive, actionable, and will resonate beyond any one session or interaction to truly transform diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within your organization.

As CEO and Principal Consultant of Inclusive Leaders Group, LLC, Charlotte Hughes MS, CDP, SHRBP, CPLP brings a diverse background as an accomplished Workforce and Organizational Development and Diversity & Inclusion global thought leader and practitioner for major Fortune 100 companies and one of the largest health systems in the U.S.  Charlotte helps organizations develop their DEI strategy and provides DEI education for talent and organizational development. Schedule a discovery discussion with Charlotte about conducting a DEI assessment and developing your DEI strategic plan. Schedule a 30-minute Consult on Calendly  or complete this Contact Form.


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