Shruti Swaroop's Embrace Consultancy: Navigating DEI Triumphs in Services

Shruti Swaroop's Embrace Consultancy: Navigating DEI Triumphs in Services
Shruti Swaroop, Founder of Embrace Consultancy
StartupTalky presents Recap'23, a series of in-depth interviews where we engage with founders and industry leaders to explore their growth in 2023 and their predictions for the future.

DEI consultancy specializes in helping organizations create diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. Consultants assess current practices, offer tailored strategies, and provide training to promote equality and foster an environment where everyone feels valued. Embracing DEI principles aligns with social responsibility and enhances innovation by leveraging diverse perspectives and talents within the workforce.

As minority groups approach majority status by 2045, the pivotal role of DEI Consultancy becomes evident. Companies prioritizing diversity enjoy 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee, and those with diverse management witness a 19 percent revenue boost. DEI Consultancy emerges as a key ally in navigating demographic shifts, unlocking financial advantages, and fostering an inclusive culture for sustained success.

In a recent Recap'23 interview, we at StartupTalky had the privilege of connecting with Shruti Swaroop, Founder of Embrace Consultancy. We delved into their strategies and gained insights into Embrace Consultancy's distinctive approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the corporate landscape.

StartupTalky: What service does Embrace Consultancy provide? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?

Shruti Swaroop: My entrepreneurial journey was accidental. It was a series of happy accidents that led to the inception of Embrace Consultancy, specialising in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consulting. The journey began serendipitously in 2019, evolving from a freelancing endeavour into a legacy-driven consultancy. 

With over two decades of Human Resources experience across various geographies, I founded EMBRACE with the intent of enabling organisations to become more inclusive. As an Executive Coach and Diversity Consultant, my primary objective is to help organisations foster inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and ensure equity for all individuals. 

Born into a defense family, I took diversity and inclusion for granted until I experienced how my gender became both my privilege and my handicap.

So, the initial motivation transformed into a desire to champion inclusivity, particularly focusing on gender diversity in the workplace. The vision extends beyond business success, aiming to create a lasting impact on individuals and society.

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StartupTalky: What new services have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of Embrace Consultancy?

Shruti Swaroop: Embrace Consultancy has expanded its offerings to include comprehensive services like Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership Development, Coaching, Learning Programs, and HR Advisory. The unique selling points lie in the impeccable quality of work, unparalleled responsiveness, and extensive networking. My experience and global interactions with ambassadors contribute to the company's strength, ensuring it stays at the forefront of DEI best practices. Our diverse range of clients includes corporations, nonprofits, educational institutions, government agencies, and individuals seeking personal growth in the context of DEI. Some of the clients in our portfolio are BAIN & Company, Union Bank of India, ETG, IBM, Google, Cambridge University Press, FICCI, etc. Our core values are Respect, Acceptance, Integrity and Trust. 

StartupTalky: How has the DEI industry changed in recent years, and how has Embrace Consultancy adapted to these changes?

Shruti Swaroop: The DEI consultancy landscape has evolved significantly in recent years, with a heightened global focus on inclusive work environments. Embrace Consultancy has always believed that inclusion is about respecting and accepting people for who they are and working towards a common goal. We have been at the forefront of DEI consultancy and adapted by expanding services beyond gender diversity to encompass neurodiversity, abilities, and diverse educational backgrounds. 

We emphasise the importance of mindset in inclusion, challenging stereotypes, and advocating for talent beyond top-tier institutes. Our global operations in India, Brazil, Canada, the USA, and China demonstrate our adaptability to diverse market behaviors. We not only respond to industry changes but actively shape them.

Shruti Swaroop: Networking extensively, I engage with global ambassadors, staying informed about best practices worldwide. This approach ensures Embrace remains at the forefront of DEI trends. Regular interactions with leaders, coupled with a commitment to quality, keep us agile and responsive to industry dynamics.

StratupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check Embrace Consultancy's growth and performance?

Shruti Swaroop: Embrace tracks growth through diverse metrics, including revenue, client satisfaction, and the number of successful coaching interventions. The impressive journey from 2019's 15 lakh top line to this year's two crore underscores the exponential growth, largely fuelled by word of mouth and repeat clients.

StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges Embrace Consultancy has faced in the past year, and how did you overcome them?

Shruti Swaroop: Navigating the challenges of a small team has been a humbling journey for me. Facing the setback of losing my entire team to KPMG felt like the end of the world, but we rebuilt, reaching a point where I could be on vacation while things ran smoothly in auto mode. Attracting talent to a compact firm proved challenging, prompting me to offer mentorship and growth opportunities. Direct engagement with leaders has become integral to our recruitment strategy.

Financial hurdles emerged, with delayed dues and skepticism from potential clients due to our status as newcomers. To counter this, our focus shifted towards establishing credibility through unwavering commitment to quality. The continuous effort has been directed towards ensuring and reinforcing quality and credibility.

Additionally, the five years away from the country posed another hurdle, requiring me to establish a network from scratch. A mentor played a pivotal role, guiding me to connect with people, hone my selling skills, and overcome the challenges of being perceived as a newcomer.

StartupTalky: Good service is something everyone is talking about in the service industry. How do you ensure that Embrace Cosultancy's clients are happy?

Shruti Swaroop: Client satisfaction is Embrace's top priority. The company excels in two crucial aspects: unwavering commitment to quality work and unmatched responsiveness. My personal dedication, always being available for clients, and quick turnaround times contribute to a positive client experience. This approach, coupled with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, ensures not only client success but also societal impact.

StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack that you pulled off.

Shruti Swaroop: Our marketing strategy revolves around word of mouth. Our clients are our biggest supporters, and we are lucky that we get to leverage our positive track record and client satisfaction. There is no growth hack. We ensure that we are committed to our work. Our extensive network, built over the years, not only contributes to the growth but also positions us as a leader in DEI consultancy.

StartupTalky: Foreign clients - this is what most service-based companies are looking for. What has been your experience?

Shruti Swaroop: Our success extends globally, with a network of over 1300 international coaches and facilitators. Operating in Brazil, Canada, the USA, China, and India, our global footprint is a testament to our effectiveness. The demand for DEI services is universal, and our adaptability and relevance on the international stage have helped us grow our network.

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DEI stands for Diverse, Equity and Inclusion. It is a framework that promotes fair treatment & equal participation of people in the organization.

StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?

Shruti Swaroop: We operate seamlessly with a lean team of six, utilising networking and mentorship for internal diversity work. Internationally, the company employs a robust network of over 6000 facilitators and coaches. This strategy, coupled with a focus on quality and responsiveness, forms the backbone of our smooth business operations.

StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in the DEI industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behaviour have you seen between India and the world?

Shruti Swaroop: We envision continued growth in India and globally, capitalising on the increasing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The difference in market behaviour lies in India's specific focus on gender diversity, challenging stereotypes, and fostering inclusivity. Embrace's unique approach aligns with both India's nuances and global DEI trends.

StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year, and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?

Shruti Swaroop: The past year taught us the value of resilience and adaptability. Overcoming team challenges, financial hurdles, and global disruptions reinforced the importance of quality, credibility, and an unwavering commitment to client satisfaction. These lessons will shape our future plans, ensuring sustained growth and societal impact.

StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the customers, service offerings, and team base in the future?

Shruti Swaroop: We envision organic growth through our proven approach to quality, responsiveness, and inclusivity. We plan to expand our client base through continued client satisfaction and word of mouth. Service offerings will evolve organically to address emerging DEI needs, and team growth will focus on attracting diverse talent through mentoring and growth initiatives.

StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with another Service company founder?

Shruti Swaroop: Focus on building a brand known for unwavering quality and responsiveness. In the service industry, client satisfaction is paramount, and a strong network contributes significantly to growth. Embrace the power of diversity, not just in service offerings but also in building and nurturing your team. The journey may be challenging, but resilience, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to making a positive impact will pave the way for long-term success.

StartupTalky extends its gratitude to Ms. Shruti Swaroop for dedicating her valuable time and generously sharing her insights with all of us.

Explore more Recap'23 Interviews here.

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