Can You Make A DEI Focused Benchmark Profile?

Can You Make A DEI Focused Benchmark Profile?

Building a DEI focused benchmark profile for use in an executive search effort that is consistent with EEO guidelines should consider the involvement of a team of stakeholders who can effectively represent the diversity of the company, thus lessening the potential for bias and adverse impact when developing the profile and developing an executive search process.

Developing a benchmark profile consistent with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives requires forethought into how members in a company can participate in a manner that enables the stakeholder group to represent the company’s diversity.

Developing The Stakeholder Group For A DEI Focused Benchmark Profile

Group size should be between seven to nine people as it is a manageable size, although this will vary, depending on the company. Members should comprise those who have direct and indirect interactions with the executive position, for instance a direct and indirect supervisor, and a direct and indirect report.  Consideration could also be given to a customer and/or vendor with whom the executive will have regular interactions.  Facilitation of the benchmark profile discussion should be performed by someone skilled in understanding the various elements and factors that are contained in a profile.  The stakeholder group should be balanced to include diversity of gender, sexual preference, race, disability, LGBTQ, and other protected groups.

Developing a diverse group with members who each have a different perspective on an executive’s decision-making, behavioral preferences, and motivators helps the company to develop a balance to the benchmark profile as it evaluates an executive candidate’s fit for the executive position. A diverse group will relect these differing perspectives.

Facilitating The Group Effort For A DEI Focused Benchmark Profile

The facilitation process needs to guard against subjective input, raw opinions, and bad data. Certainly, group participants will have their own unique perspective not only on the role of the executive but also on the characteristics of the previous executive. These perspectives and opinions, while important and valuable to the process of developing an effective benchmark profile, need to be incorporated into a moderated discussion that can become reflected in the use of as much objective data as possible.

It is quite possible and probable that members of the group have not had an opportunity to meet previously, nor have members had the opportunity to develop a benchmark profile.  Given these factors, the facilitator’s role will need first to be educational and informative so that group members can learn how they can provide valued and objective opinions and data as much as possible.

Thereafter, the facilitator will need to ensure each group member has a regular opportunity to provide input and opinion. Different facilitation tools to assist in this process can used. Brainstorming, for instance, can be an effective discussion tool to enable each group member to contribute effectively without enabling one or several group members overtaking the discussion with their opinions.

The objective of this facilitated process is to assure that the benchmark profile can achieve a balance in its description of the factors used to assess executive position candidates as well as the environmental and cultural factors considered in the candidate screening and interviewing process.

Other Profile Factors To Consider

  • What will the executive be responsible for?
  • What knowledge, skills, and abilities will the executive need?
  • What levels of judgment and complexity will the executive exercise?
  • What environmental factors will the executive regularly be exposed to?

As the answers to these questions are discussed in the profile’s development, the profile develops a more comprehensive picture of the executive’s decision-making, behavioral, and values requirements and preferences.

What’s In a DEI Focused Benchmark Profile?

Yep, the detail. When I develop a benchmark profile I use a system developed by Innermetrix.  I use a combination of behavioral, values, and decision-making attributes that reflect the consensus arrived on by the facilitated group. For the behavioral segment of the profile I use a DISC Index survey for the stakeholder group. I use the Values Index in a similar manner with the stakeholders, requesting their input on the top values they see required by the executive. Last, I use the Attribute Index to benchmark what we consider the executive’s master decision and exernal bias patterns.

Confused? It’s not intentional, but that is why you need a skilled facilitator and Certified Innermetrix Consultant who is knowledgeable about the benchmark profiling process who can then guide the stakeholder group objectively.


It’s important to develop an accurate benchmark profile for an executive position while ensuring that the company’s diversity and equity efforts are incorporated into the development of the benchmark profile.  The stakeholder group’s importance in advancing diversity and equity initiatives through the selection of an executive, while not the only factor in the search and selection process, can assist the company in developing and advancing its diversity and equity initiatives throughout the company while it undergoes an executive search.

In small ways we can advance DEI initiatives by paying attention to, and addressing, what may appear to be small things.  But think about the positive impact that an effective DEI Focused Benchmark Profile process can have on improving diversity and equity in a company that uses this process.

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