Chris Jones, CEO and co-founder, Spectra DiversityChris Jones, CEO and co-founder
Headquartered in Blaine, MN, Spectra Diversity is driven by the mission to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in small to mediumsized businesses and equip individuals and employers with all the necessary data sets. “Starting as a diversity firm, we have gradually grown into a technology company that addresses all the DEIrelated challenges using data,” mentions Chris Jones, CEO and co-founder, Spectra Diversity.

In an interview with Manage HR, Jones shares insights into their DEI expertise, the mission and vision of the company, its clients, and future objectives.

In your interactions with leading companies, what sense do you get of the challenges they face now in the Diversity and Inclusion space?

Our Change Partners have been very busy since the murder of George Floyd and the summer of BLM protests. They were acting in this same capacity before that date – but requests have escalated since then. As we’ve conducted more assessments since that date, we’ve added more reporting features to respond to requests of the small and medium-sized businesses we serve.

One challenge is that some small businesses published “Black Lives Matter” on their websites – and then did nothing about it. We measure the initial attitudes and perceptions– and then again – to see what changes have taken place in the one or two years between assessments. DEI is more of a journey than a goal to be reached.

Please shed some light on the Diversity and Inclusion solutions on the basis of its methodology, features, and benefits involved?

Our main product is the Spectra Assessment, and everything else just supports it. The solution is administered through a custom-built online survey software platform that presents email invitations to staff within organizations. Needless to say, all individual responses are kept confidential. Clients are not given access to raw data from individual respondents, but survey respondents are provided with an individual report of their responses.

Our assessment is the only one that measures both the individual and the organization. So, the individual gets a ranking on a five-stage maturity model and also on their interpersonal skills and individual beliefs related to diversity and inclusion. The organization gets their own report which measures how Management, Culture, and the 3Ps (Policies, Practices, and Procedures) is perceived by all assessment takers (the entire company). If there are 100 or more employees in an organization, the company also benefits from demographic breakdowns of race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and veteran status.

Spectra Diversity currently caters to two different types of clients.
First, we have Change Partners (like a distributor) who are DEI consultants and re-sellers of the assessment. Secondly, Enterprise Partners are companies that can use the assessment for their own purposes only.

What are the strategies employed by Spectra Diversity to thwart the market competition?

Our relationship with our change partners is the key. They are the “boots on the ground,” and they let us know on a monthly basis how their clients are doing and the challenges that they are facing. Our monthly discussions usually have a topic of interest plus open time to check in with each other.

What does the future hold for your organization? Any footprint expansion plans or platform enhancement strategies that you can shed light upon?

We have one ancillary product dubbed the Powering Inclusive Cultures Facilitation Kit. It is a one-day in-person training kit and a six-hour virtual training kit in five modules. It is innovative and focused on skill-building. Training is not a one-off idea and must be sustained in some manner. Our next product will be a DEI sustainability app that can be delivered four times per month for one year of learning and skill-building.

Large companies have a chief Diversity Officer and a team of people working on diversity equity and inclusion issues. However, a small or medium-sized company may have one HR person charged with the task. Spectra Diversity is available for those small and medium-sized businesses to make changes so they can compete with the large companies for talent acquisition and retention.
  • Starting as a diversity firm, we have gradually grown into a technology company that addresses all the DEI-related challenges using data

Many of our change partners will only contract with a client if the client agrees to do an assessment first. If you don’t do an assessment – you don’t know where you stand except by anecdotes and “gut checks.” It’s important to do an assessment, so you understand the actual issues you are facing. Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured gets managed.” I’d change that to, “what gets measured gets improved.”

Over time, we’ve seen proof that some employee demographic groups are left out or dissatisfied. We’d like to see that change, and at Spectra Diversity, we’re doing our small part to move the needle. We begin our monthly meetings with a statement of gratitude. As CEO, I’m grateful to be able to work in this field and do my small part to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in small and medium-sized businesses.