What will workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) look like in 2023? We polled our WorkTango executive leaders (CEO Patrick Manzo, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Rob Catalano, and Chief Operating Officer Monique McDonough) about their key predictions.
This is the first in a 4-part blog series.
Here’s what they had to say about the future of DE&I:
1) What are your top three predictions/upcoming trends for DE&I in 2023?
In 2023, people-first organizations will also identify whether an organization’s DE&I strategy actually has an impact on an employee’s sense of Belonging.
Additionally, although there will be a continued focus on attracting and retaining more diverse workforces, in 2023 diversity hiring at the leadership level will take center stage. Lastly, DE&I execution will be focused on front-line managers who execute programs that remove bias from day-to-day work.
This is a durable trend. Not much changes here. That said, the priority questions HR leaders need to deal with are:
- How does my organization attract diverse candidates?
- What alternate credentials can we use to evaluate potential?
- How do we truly include folks regardless of background?
Firstly, we can expect to see increased alignment through measurement of representation, but more importantly employee sentiment on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Layering DEI data onto other data sets (i.e. engagement between underrepresented groups) will be more prevalent to unearth actionable insights. Secondly, organizational training approaches will shift from one- and-done to more continuous discussion training, building muscle memory in the process. And thirdly, employee resource groups (ERGs) will take on a higher level of relevance within DE&I programs.
2) How can business and HR leaders bring these important DE&I conversations to the forefront of the workplace and the employee experience?
DE&I needs to shift from a set of programs that focus on the value of diversity to a threaded set of work where DE&I is embedded in everything related to the employee experience. This includes measuring and evaluating diversity and representation across all levels of the organization, leveraging competency frameworks and other approaches to reduce bias in talent development and promotion, and coaching front-line managers on how to ensure team meetings and collaborative sessions are led in a way that encourages all voices to be heard and valued equally.
To bring DE&I conversations to the forefront, research on the benefits of having a more diverse workforce will need to have greater influence and impact on business decisions. In tandem there needs to be an empathetic view on why this matters on a human level and to embrace differences. DE&I initiatives need to be purposeful and people-first, NOT ONLY designed for business results.
From WorkTango’s perspective, our DE&I focus group discussions have been fantastic and we encourage others to do the same. Well-executed ERGs are another fundamental tool to move attention beyond identifying problems, and toward more emphasis on how to achieve better inclusion.
3) What can businesses do better or differently in 2023 to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace?
Focus on education and appreciation of differences. At WorkTango, we create safe spaces for listening and understanding through our “Voices” webinar series. Professionals from different populations can share their experiences, and educate colleagues on what it’s like to identify as part of a diverse group. Awareness of the struggles and obstacles for marginalized groups is a critical component to moving forward with a more inclusive workforce.
To elevate DE&I in the workplace organizations need to recruit differently-qualified candidates, examine process bias, and set interview – not hiring – targets.
Implementing everything covered off in question #1 above will enhance a more diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment.