IBIS Consulting Group is one of the major sponsors of the sold out event 2018 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shilpa Sherwani, CEO and Principal. She was one of the speakers last year. Shilpa started as an intern at IBIS when she came to the US to further her education. She is an Organizational Psychologist by training and pursued a master’s in Organizational Development.
GT: What inspired you to specialize in Diversity and Inclusion?
SP: As an immigrant and a woman of color, I wanted to help organizations build inclusive environments and address systemic disparities. I wanted to apply the principles of organizational development to address the issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I believe that to help organizations and communities move the needle, the focus needs to be on both individual behaviors/skills as well as systems.
GT: What are some of things that give you an edge over the competition?
SP: We created the IBIS Inclusive Organizational Framework Tool that looks for systemic bias in 14 key organizational areas. This diagnostic tool assesses how well Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices are embedded in the policies, procedures, and programs of an organization. Our trainings also help organizations keep their focus on individuals and systems, so they can see sustainable changes in behavior. We provide various training modalities: instructor led, e-learning, and interactive theater. The scenarios are client specific and represent real-life opportunities and challenges.
Click here for more details: IOF Diagnostic Tool
GT: The past several years, hiring managers/recruiters were taught that hiring for “culture fit” is better for retention. How do you help organizations unlearn the practice of hiring for “culture fit”?
SP: Looking for “right fit” or “culture fit” is often rooted in unconscious bias. Fit means like everyone else, fit could be what you don’t have. Look for what’s missing on your team – if you primarily have baby boomers, consider diversifying by adding millennials. Think of sales leads you may be missing because your team is made up of members of only one part of your community. Don’t hire people from the same educational institutions. By analyzing what’s missing and what you need, you widen your search to all potential candidates, not just the ones who fit an earlier prototype.
GT: What are companies getting wrong about diversity and inclusion?
SP: Many organizations don’t align their diversity efforts with their business strategy. For sustainable efforts, it is critical to hold leaders accountable and focus on metrics and measurement. There are no quick fixes, and diversity training should not be seen as a “check the box” or standalone solution. Organizations need to move beyond diversity and recognize that providing equitable opportunities to disadvantaged groups will help address imbalances in the workplace.
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