Icarus Consulting-The Next Evolution in Diversity Consulting

Icarus Consulting-The Evolution In Diversity Consulting | Dr. Shelton Goode | The Enterprise World

In today’s world, diversity and inclusion is an essential parts of any workplace. Having people from different cultures and backgrounds makes for a more creative and innovative workplace. The chances of a diverse company outshining its competition have grown significantly over the last few years.

There are numerous benefits a diverse & inclusive company gets over its peers.

Diverse and inclusive companies are trusted more by their employees, and customers, communities.

Companies get Higher Revenue Growth.

Employees have more willingness to innovate.

Featuring The Enterprise World’s this issue of Most Trusted Diversity and Inclusion Companies is Icarus Consulting, LLC, a company bringing about the next evolution in diversity consulting. 

The Company:

Icarus Consulting’s mission is to help people and organizations by unleashing their true potential. To do that, Icarus ensures employees at every level are valued, respected, and engaged. They do this by helping companies develop strategies that attract, develop, and retain highly skilled talent from emerging diverse workforces, along with helping the companies enhance their current employees’ skills, engagement, and knowledge. Icarus Consulting’s experts help companies create a workplace where the employees no longer feel pressured to downplay their identities to thrive and contribute to fuelling the organization’s bottom-line growth.

“We help clients improve and accelerate their organizational performance.”

The firm’s unique advisory helps its clients to overcome their toughest strategic challenges by clarifying strategic choices, improving organizational culture, creating more inclusive work environments, recognizing overlooked talent, strengthening leadership, guiding organizational culture development, and navigating change.

They have an extensive portfolio of delighted customers ranging from Fortune 1000 companies to government agencies to non-profits.

The Founder & CEO, Dr. Shelton Goode, is one of the top experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Forbes recognized him as one of the Top 10 D&I Trailblazers in the country. He is often quoted in numerous journals and magazines expressing his thoughts on next-generation diversity and inclusion practices.

At Icarus Consulting, consultants address real-world issues, not just theories, and apply battle-tested techniques and tools. In this way, their clients have a strategic business partner that helps the company take important steps to create a diverse and inclusive organization. 

“Whether working with a small non-profit or a big enterprise, we have the same mission-Helping organizations develop and sustain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.”

What Makes Icarus Unique:

Icarus Consulting specializes in helping companies become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. The firm ensures that its clients understand where they stand in their DEI journey and the gap between where they are and where they want to be. What makes Icarus Consulting unique is the ability to help clients recruit diverse talent while retaining their top performers, helping them be successful and profitable. Icarus believe that if a company is successful, everybody associated with it will benefit from it, be it employees,  customers, vendors, or shareholders. 

Overcoming the Challenges-

One of the toughest challenges Icarus Consulting has faced is helping companies deal with multiple crises impacting employee engagement. The firm has focused on helping company leaders understand the importance of asking themselves the “tough questions” about the organization’s diversity and inclusion performance, commitment, and involvement. Icarus’ goal was to help leaders develop leadership skills and behaviors needed to create alignment and agreement to advance the company’s efforts regarding diversity and inclusion by fostering open and candid dialogue.

Trigger Point of Growth:

Before 2020, many people thought diversity, inclusion, and equity were just buzzwords. But those days are over. In June 2020, businesses across the globe got a revelation. One of the biggest lessons learned since the summer of 2020 is that workplaces need to reflect on the chasm between their DEI Intention and reality. 

Business leaders in every industry have been re-evaluating their DEI strategy and re-assessing workplace culture in the wake of unprecedented global shifts.

As global unrest over social justice and racial equality continue to rise, corporate leaders scramble to demonstrate their pledges and promise to promote more inclusive environments by hiring DEI practitioners and anti-racism educators.

“We offer tailored resources to empower & improve organizations’ business leadership, diversity, and inclusion goals.”

The Many Accolades of Icarus’ Journey-

As one of the top DE&I firms in the country, Icarus Consulting is most proud that for several of their clients, they have implemented DE&I performance dashboards that provided critical data, which improved productivity and turned around several poor-performing departments. On several occasions, Icarus Consulting conducted strategic DE&I analysis, which helped them increase revenue, efficiency, and client relationships. Icarus has earned a reputation for collaborating with clients and identifying opportunities for improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency, supplier diversity spending, and diversity in senior leadership ranks.

In one of their consultations, a client contemplated reducing costs without laying off employees. The company initially contemplated a pay cut of 20% for all employees. The Icarus Consulting team suggested it was not a good idea because it was not equitable. After all, front-line employees would be disproportionately impacted.  

For example, employees at the lower end of the organizational hierarchy will not be able to afford the same. Icarus Consulting challenged the company and asked them, “what about a customer service rep who is on the phone nine hours a day, taking 200 phone calls and making less than $15 an hour? What if that person is a single parent and a woman of color, and she barely has enough as is for daycare or childcare? Would you still cut her salary by 20%?”

Realizing the point, the client decided to limit the pay cut to only senior executives. All of this helped the client achieve their objective and ensured every employee on an hourly wage was spared from the pay cut. Icarus Consulting helps its clients see and delve into aspects they otherwise overlook.

“We ask our clients tough questions nobody asks; that’s why people come to us.”

Products & Services:

Icarus Consulting is an HR firm specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion and offering several services. They help companies deal with several employee-related issues. For organizations looking to get their employees more involved, Icarus supports them by setting up a diversity and inclusion council-a group of employees that helps the company with its DEI strategies.

Icarus offers diversity and inclusion training for companies that need to train their employees, managers, and supervisors. In some cases where the organization is unsure about what they want to do, Icarus conducts a Diversity & Inclusion Assessment to help the organization identify areas for improving its culture and work environment. Once the assessment is completed, they work with the organization to develop a DEI strategy that is measurable and sustainable. 

They also offer customized diversity and inclusion dashboards that help companies monitor their DEI journey’s progress. It can measure various methods like the number of women and people of color hired and the rate at which they are hired. The dashboard can capture every detail of an employee’s life cycle from when they were recruited until they leave the organization.

One aspect often overlooked is the amount of money companies invest in small businesses. If the company is genuinely interested in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, it should spend more on businesses owned by minorities, veterans, or disabled people. Icarus calls this component “Economic Inclusion” on their dashboard. The dashboard also measures an employee’s opinion of their own company, captured on a scale of 1 to 10 on the DE&I index.

Leadership at Icarus:

Dr. Shelton Goode | CEO and President

Dr. Shelton Goode is the president and chief executive officer of Icarus Consulting. This veteran-owned consulting firm specializes in helping organizations create a culture that leverages diversity and inclusion for competitive advantage.

Dr. Goode is a business executive with over 20 years of diversity, inclusion, executive coaching, HR, and higher education experience. He has held executive positions for companies ranging in size from $300M to $18B+.

Dr. Goode is the author of several award-winning books, including Beyond Inclusion: Reimagining the Future of Work, Workers, and the Workplace, Diversity Managers: Angels of Mercy or Barbarians at the Gate, Winter in America: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Diversity in Companies, Communities, and the Country, and Crisis as a Platform for Social Change from Strawberry Mansion to Silicon Valley.

He learned the value of diversity and inclusion firsthand by rolling up his sleeves and providing CEOs and senior executives with counsel, insight, resources, tools, and innovative ideas that helped advance their companies’ strategic business goals. He has leveraged seasoned leadership and consulting skills for the last ten years to help companies implement diversity management initiatives, enhancing their talent acquisition, retention, and engagement strategies.

Because of his passion for education, Dr. Goode has used his knowledge and experience to teach and mentor others. Dr. Goode taught thousands of students in the school’s master’s in the public administration program. His teaching excellence was recognized when he received the school’s prestigious Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2005.

As a highly decorated Air Force veteran, Dr. Goode has served the country during times of war. He defended the country during the Panama conflict, the Bosnian War, Dessert Shield, and Dessert Storm. Although his role and job during these conflicts remain classified, Dr. Goode’s singularly distinctive accomplishments earned him five meritorious service medals and numerous commendations.

Dr. Goode is a graduate of the prestigious Diversity Leadership Academy. He is certified as a senior diversity practitioner by the American Institute for Managing Diversity. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and his master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University. He obtained his Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Alabama. Dr. Shelton Goode lives and works in the Atlanta area.

The Road Ahead-

“We have helped our clients exchange ideas, make higher-quality decisions, and act on those decisions with unity and commitment.”

After the death of George Floyd, the team’s efforts initially focused on increasing diversity and inclusion awareness, but in late 2020 the efforts turned to skill-building and action-planning activities. Because of their work, the clients now understand the following:

  • How Icarus’ lenses, layers, legacies, and cultural identity shape its communications and impact decision-making, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
  • Barriers to healthy conversations and how they play out at work when discussing sensitive issues.
  • Best practices for conducting healthy and productive conversations and a skill-based methodology to discuss sensitive issues.

Because of their past performance, 2023 looks good for Icarus Consulting. There is no shortage of companies that want Icarus to help them build a culture of respect and trust. They look forward to helping their future clients leverage their workforce to accomplish organizational goals and establish a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Icarus anticipates that organizations will want to partner with them because they can partner with them to develop an effective DE&I strategy and processes.

One thing Icarus wishes people understood better about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

While there are a lot of misconceptions about DEI, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s no longer enough for companies to care about DEI and hope for a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse culture. 2020 was an inflection point that shifted the focus from saying DEI is important and just “checking a box” to working intentionally to actively listen, learn and drive actions as individuals and as a collective to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world for everyone. This leads to more honest dialogue that allows for better recognition and appreciation of our differences to create more innovative and effective solutions, thus, a more inclusive workplace.

It’s important to note that DEI is often seen as an initiative that sits within one function or area of an organization, and that’s not the case. DEI is a business imperative that touches every individual and facet of an organization, reaching into critical business areas in addition to Human Resources to include supply chain, procurement, brand reputation, and marketing strategies. 

“We must all work together and acknowledge the role we play as individuals and organizations to advance the work of DEI and be the change we want to see in the workplace, our communities, and society.”

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