The DEI landscape continuously changes. HR professionals must keep updated with the latest diversity, equity, and inclusion developments to ensure initiatives remain relevant and influential. With that said, here are 5 DEI trends to watch out for.
1. Remote and hybrid work setup
The pandemic and constant technological upgrades have made remote and hybrid work arrangements more prevalent today (and in the future). This means 100% offsite (for remote workers) or a combination of home and in-office working (hybrid).
According to Forbes Statistics Remote Work Statistics And Trends 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model. 16% of companies operate fully remote; by 2025, an estimated 32.6 million Americans will work remotely.
Working from home can be better for people with disabilities because regular offices might not have the tools they need. At home, they can use their own equipment like screen readers, big screens, special keyboards, and dictation software to do their work well. Remote work is also good for new parents and those taking care of others. So, it saves time and money, which can be used to care for children or older family members.
Employers also benefit from remote work arrangements through increased productivity and retention. 35% of remote employees feel more productive when working fully remotely, while 57% of workers would look for a new job if their current company didn’t allow remote work.
Tips to arrange remote and hybrid work:
- Let employees pick if they want to work at the office, from home, or a mix of both. If they work from home, give them money to set up a home office. Also, for those doing a mix, let them decide which days they work from home and which days they come to the office. So, for example, 2 days at the office and 3 at home. For those at the office, offer perks like free lunches or comfy spaces to relax during a busy day.
- Look at the outcomes. Instead of counting the days or hours someone works, check how well they get things done. So, look at the quality of their work and what they deliver that helps the company. This way, you don’t assume that people working from home are not doing much, while those in the office are seen as more productive.
- Make a communication policy for the company that includes all the different ways people work to avoid confusion that can mess up work. So, in your policy, talk about how you will communicate, like having daily talks between those working from home and those in the office. Also, mention keeping records of communication and using both real-time and other communication tools. Create a plan that shows how things work. For this, include the rules and tools for meetings with a mix of remote and in-office team members. Also, be sure to include when meeting face-to-face or having one-on-one talks.
- Host fun events for all employees regularly. This helps everyone feel connected, whether they work in the office or from home. And also it makes the company culture stronger.
2. Measuring DEI
It’s not enough to just plan and implement your DEI strategies. Most importantly, you must measure them to know their effectiveness.
Corey Williams, founder of Sair Collective, a DEI consulting firm, saw the continuous trend for measuring DEI:
“A strong focus on metrics. DEIB is about facts, not feelings. When environments are inclusive, engagement and performance improve. More and more, our clients (especially those focused on retention) are recognizing inclusion and belonging mean the engagement of ALL employees. And they are measuring progress.”
And, Archie Payne, president of Caltek Staffing, a manufacturing, IT, and engineering recruitment agency, is seeing an increase in data-driven DEI and will continue to see growth in this area:
“Today, companies are realizing that DEI is not something that will just appear on its own. Building an inclusive culture requires strategy and effort on the part of companies if they want these initiatives to produce results. Employers are also realizing that job seekers who care about diversity are fed up with companies that give it “lip service” and want to see real results and lived examples of that diversity in action. Having a data-driven strategy is one way to verify and demonstrate the efficacy of DEI initiatives, and this ability to provide proof of their commitment is another reason I think we’re seeing increased adoption and attention focused on data-driven strategies.”
A Workday study shows that only 20% of companies check how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) affects their business and how much it’s valued. So, to see if your efforts are really making a difference, look at the DEI data and compare it to your company’s mission and goals.
Tips to measure DEI:
- Harness analytics from your HR activities and platforms to know your current DEI status:
- Recruitment: How many diverse candidates are hired?
- Promotion: Is there diversity at every hierarchical level, from entry-level to leadership roles?
- Compensation and benefits: Do men and women of the same rank or job title receive equal pay and benefits?
- Retention: Are there too many diverse employees leaving the company? Are they leaving voluntarily or involuntarily?
- Do surveys with your employees to understand how they feel. Ask about things like their ethnicity, age, and gender. Also, get their thoughts on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plans to figure out what’s going well and what needs improvement.
- Use what employees say and the data you collect to figure out what’s going well and what needs to get better. Then, make changes based on this information.
- Make sure to tell the bosses and important people about the progress and results of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. This also helps get their approval and support.
3. Using technology to promote DEI
The number of HR tech tools that support DEI is growing.
In Redthread research, more than 100 solutions are in the market, and approximately, the DEI tech industry is worth more than $100m. These tools focus on finding good people to hire, helping employees grow, keeping them happy, and looking at the data. So, they give ideas or change how things are done to help the organization be more inclusive.
Keca Ward, HR Director of Infinite Blue, an enterprise software company, noted how technology acts as a DEI catalyst:
“Technology continues to play a pivotal role in advancing DEI initiatives. I have been involved in implementing AI-driven tools that help mitigate unconscious bias in hiring processes, leading to more diverse and equitable talent acquisition. The positive impact on organizational culture and employee engagement has been truly inspiring, signaling a promising trend for the future.”
Tips for using DEI tech tools:
- Make sure you know what your organization wants to achieve with DEI. So, pick tools that match these goals. Choose software that can also be changed to fit your organization’s needs and way of doing things. Making things personal can make people more interested and connected.
- Involve employees from underrepresented backgrounds to test and provide feedback on the tools’ usability and accessibility.
- Provide training and resources to employees on how to use the tech tools effectively for DEI purposes.
- Regularly review and audit algorithms used in tech tools to prevent them from perpetuating biases. Correct any discrimination that is identified.
- Create metrics to measure how tech tools affect your DEI plans. And keep checking to see if they’re making a difference and working well. In addition, change and make them better if needed, using feedback and information.
4. The importance of mental health
Mental health is crucial to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
According to the World Health Organization, poor working environments – including discrimination and inequality – pose a risk to mental health. And employees from underrepresented groups are the usual victims of workplace discrimination and bullying.
So, because of this, HR professionals should create an environment where everyone feels safe talking about their mental health. When people have good mental health, they can do their best work because they feel respected and listened to. And this makes them happy with their job.
Tips to support employees’ mental health:
- Give the option for flexible work hours and days off for mental health. This helps employees balance work and life better and have more control over their schedule.
- Include mental health services in your employee benefits, like check-ups, counseling, and therapies.
- Make rules at work that say no to discrimination and bullying. These rules should explain what counts as bullying or discrimination, how to tell someone about it, and what can happen if someone does it.
5. Multi-generational workforce
Having people from different generations working together is something to think about for Diversity. Even though there are a lot of millennials and Gen Z workers, there are still many Boomers working too.
Boomers are staying in the workforce longer because they’re living longer, healthcare costs are going up, they get Social Security benefits later, and sometimes their finances aren’t very stable. So, it’s common for companies to have staff from different generations like Boomers, millennials, and Gen Z all working together.
Diversity across generations has specific challenges like differences in:
- Communication style: Older workers often like talking in person, while younger ones find it easier to use emails and instant messaging.
- Work ethic: Younger people often want a good balance between work and personal life. While older folks still care a lot about job security and working hard.
- Resistance to change: Some older workers might not want to use new technologies or do things differently. They might see it as not needed or causing problems. On the other hand, younger workers might be more okay with changes. This can lead to disagreements about using new methods and tools.
Plus, generational stereotypes can still emerge, leading to age-related biases that affect hiring, promotion, and decision-making processes.
Tips to manage a multi-generational workforce:
- Encourage cross-generational teams to leverage the strengths and experiences of each generation. It will foster open communication and collaboration among employees of all ages.
- Implement mentorship and reverse-mentoring programs to enable knowledge transfer.
- Provide company-wide training on generational diversity and unconscious biases to address age-related biases.
- Develop inclusive company policies and employee benefits that accommodate the diverse needs of different age groups.
Why I wrote this:
DEI trends come and go. So, knowing the latest changes in diversity and inclusion could help you adjust your strategies to make the most significant impact in the workplace.
Ongig prides itself on supporting diversity by helping rHR pros write inclusive job descriptions. Book a demo to learn more.
- Remote Work Statistics And Trends In 2023 – Forbes Advisor
- Global report for belonging and diversity – Workday
- Mental health at work – World Health Organization
- Diversity & Inclusion Technology: The Rise of a Transformative Market – Redthread Research & Mercer