Charlotte F. Hughes, CEO and Principal Consultant, INCLUSIVE LEADERS GROUP (ILG)Charlotte F. Hughes, CEO and Principal Consultant
Boardrooms across the globe are abuzz with talks of continuous innovation and business improvement strategies. To this end, it’s critical to foster a diversified and inclusive workplace. As a leader in the workforce development consulting space, Inclusive Leaders Group (ILG) has been at the forefront of helping businesses build and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for more than two years.

At the core, ILG is a black woman-owned talent and organizational development consulting expert specializing in DEI, and belonging strategies that align well with clients’ business imperatives. The company serves corporations, nonprofits, higher education, government, and healthcare at all stages of their DEI journey, helping improve organizational DEI performance with the current transformational change underway globally.

In an interview with Manage HR, Charlotte F. Hughes, the CEO and Principal Consultant at ILG, shares her insights on how the company leverages its expertise to provide exceptional workforce development solutions to clients.

In your interactions with clients, what sense do you get of the challenges they face in the DEI space, and how does ILG address these issues effectively?

Challenges in the DEI space are typically two-fold. First, organizations at their initial stages of DEI implementation usually feel frustrated and challenged as they are uncertain about what to do first. Oftentimes, businesses begin their DEI journey with unconscious bias training and establish an employee resource group (ERG) to have a sense that they are up with something about DEI. But, these initiatives are insufficient and rarely effective for sustainable impact without a well-crafted strategy that aligns with their business goals.

On the other hand, several organizations are seeking to gain experiences to address advanced issues like race equity, allyship, belonging, and inclusive workplace well-being. These initiatives are focused on improving employee productivity, performance, engagement, and retention while reducing health costs as well as absenteeism. This is precisely where we find our niche at ILG.

We adopt a unique customer-first approach to help clients mitigate these challenges. To this end, our team collaborates with customers to understand their needs and build tailored, targeted, timely, and relevant solutions to meet their unique requirements. ILG’s highly disciplined approach helps provide practical and smart solutions that improve talent performance based on real-world scenarios and action planning with measured progress. We serve businesses that are new to DEI and provide them with strategic plans that align with their goals, objectives, and metrics. We also work with progressive and high-performing DEI organizations seeking to build a race equity culture.

Could you shed some light on ILG’s services?

We specialize in building workplaces where all employees collaborate effectively, foster a sense of belonging, develop themselves as inclusive leaders, and contribute to business goals with our unique DEI roadmap that encompasses six key steps. To begin with, team ILG works with business leaders to get them committed to DEI-first initiatives.

We then gain a holistic view of their current DEI status by assessing organizational data to define improvement opportunities. This is followed by the establishment of a leadership committee to determine their vision statement. Team ILG engages with the working committee to develop a strategic action plan that addresses the challenges of fostering a DEI culture in tune with their business goals. Finally, we support their execution endeavors.

ILG is also remarkably adept at client engagement owing to our “performance consulting” approach that traces its roots back to my extensive experience in learning and development. We work with clients even after the implementation, evaluating their progress in DEI and continuously modifying their strategies for sustainable improvement.

We partner, assess, implement, and measure to easily find the gaps and root causes, develop meaningful solutions, and provide meaningful post-implementation support. This is a proven methodology.
What are the strategies employed by ILG to thwart market competition?

As a leader in the DEI space, we believe in a strategic approach that aligns well with DEI solutions centered on education and training. This is critical when it comes to inclusive talent management. A strategic approach also allows us to provide solutions for addressing clients’ goals around attracting, developing, advancing, and retaining talents.
To do this, we propose a strategic planning partnership, where strategy development focused on inclusive talent management tops the list. Team ILG trains clients on inclusive leadership, strategy, and talent management, and shares podcasts to support their endeavors on-demand. We also have industry-leading resources and people to provide continuous post-implementation support.

ILG educates clients on the significance of a strategy-first approach. We then assess their talent lifecycle to understand their needs and provide a holistic solution that meets employer requirements and employee expectations in terms of experiences, productivity, and innovation.

Could you comment on some of the key factors that make ILG different?

We can identify new opportunities and quickly align with the changing tides. ILG’s inclusive workplace wellness initiative that focuses on improving health equity and ensuring the quality of work-life balance is an excellent example of our agility and responsiveness. We build a healthy workplace that allows employees to thrive and improve organizations’ bottom line by reducing costs associated with underutilized services.

We embrace a unique six-step process that encourages clients to view wellness programs through a different lens. It begins with formulating employee wellness values and a cultural mindset within the organization that goes beyond just physical health. This is followed by providing clients with an opportunity to develop employee skills that lead to better health through individual and personalized assessments. Team ILG offers personalized guidance and awareness, helping employees learn that their life includes not just physical but spiritual, financial, and social wellness.

ILG establishes a committee encompassing a diverse team from HR, business, and marketing departments that primarily focuses on wellness, collaboration, and improvement. It is a meaningful platform where they can collectively make decisions on organizational goals based on assessments and information they receive. Having a collaborative effort like this enables clients to be more efficient in decision-making while creating a healthier environment and workforce. This makes their wellness programs more strategic rather than being just an event that is often an extra burden for most business leaders.

Finally, we foster an inclusive and belonging organizational culture so that employees and organizations can thrive. Our extensive experience and the ability to identify opportunities for helping organizations increase their value from an employer, employee, and investment perspective differentiate us from the competition.
  • As a leader in the DEI space, we believe in a strategic approach that aligns well with DEI solutions centered on awareness, education, and training

Aspiring to serve as our client’s most trusted partner, we always compete with ourselves and enhance our capabilities to provide unrivaled services to clients, helping address their current and future needs.