Planning Workplace DEI Strategies for 2024

Rodney HessBy Rodney Hess
December 19th, 2023 • 5 Minutes

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This is the penultimate article in our seven part series about planning your 2024 recruitment marketing strategies. Download our comprehensive ebook about 2024 planning here.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are seeing dramatically increased investment and attention. The global DEI market reached an estimated $7.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to surpass $15 billion by 2026. This sharp upward trajectory signals the growing emphasis organizations now place on DEI as a critical component of business operations and success.

And yet continued shortfalls persist across DEI metrics globally. Though positive momentum exists, achieving true equity still remains a distant goal by some estimates. Closing economic gender gaps alone could take over 100 years at current rates of change. Accelerating progress is now a business-critical imperative.

In response, groups like the Global Parity Alliance have stepped up efforts to equip executives and organizational leaders with proven DEI strategies. The DEI Lighthouse Program spotlights high-impact initiatives that demonstrably move the needle on representation, equity, inclusion and business performance. The objective is to shift the focus to what works and propagate best practices faster for broader adoption.

Recent years have seen DEI rapidly transition from a niche specialization to a core business function. Watershed societal moments—from #MeToo to Black Lives Matter to Stop Asian Hate—have prompted overdue reflection that has permeated across sectors. DEI-related job postings swelled over 120% from just May to September 2020. What was once largely the domain of Human Resources now sits centrally within overall corporate strategy.

Research shows that companies ranking in the top of diversity reap higher returns. They also gain advantages attracting and retaining top talent. DEI has emerged both a moral and economic imperative—one that this article will delve into further and provide guidance for organizational planning. 

What is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

  • Diversity refers to demographic differences in race, gender, orientation, abilities and other attributes. 
  • Equity means fair treatment and access enabling all people to advance and thrive based on merit. 
  • Inclusion refers to actively engaging all groups in feeling welcomed, valued and that they belong.

The research shows consistently that diversity policies, particularly when focused on inclusion and equity, provide immense organizational benefits. Employees now consider inclusive environments non-negotiable. There are also strong correlations between diverse leadership and better financial results, as well as innovation gains thanks to diverse perspectives. 

What are the Phases of Developing a DEI Initiative Plan?

 Developing an impactful DEI strategy requires coordinated progression through four key phases:

  1. Assessment: Surveying the current DEI landscape through metrics analysis and employee listening provides crucial baseline insights to identify areas needing intervention.
  2. Strategy Development: Equipped with gap assessment intelligence, inclusive sessions can define specific, measurable goals aligned to mission and build strategic consensus amongst internal stakeholders.
  3. Implementation: With strategy set, branded launch events kickstart visible policies and programs while consistent DEI leadership meetings foster best practice sharing. Targeted education campaigns enrich workforce competencies.
  4. Tracking & Adjustment: Customized scorecards continually gauge quantitative progress against goals. Regular reviews ensure accountability and enable agility in addressing issues using both lead and lagging indicators while embedding inclusive behaviors into existing frameworks.

This systematic methodology enables evolving DEI from a static accessory to a dynamic, upgradeable capability responsive to internal shifts and external societal dialogues. Proper assessment illuminates needs while vigilant tracking ensures progress matches priorities.

Download our 2024 Recruitment Marketing Planning Ebook

Overcoming 2024 DEI Challenges

Looking ahead at 2024, organizations still struggle with inclusion training, equitable hiring and effectively supporting diversity. Inclusion training reaches only 50% of leaders presently, representing a vital opportunity despite past emphasis. 

Empowering managers and teams with inclusive behavior capabilities must take priority.  Additionally, most hiring funnels still cannot attract or objectively evaluate diverse candidates. Skills-first approaches, anonymization and removing biased touchpoints require attention to achieve representation that mirrors community demographics.  

What are the Top DEI Priorities for 2024?

Technology & Globalization For Accelerated DEI

Emergent technologies and increased globalization present intriguing opportunities to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives when managed effectively. These opportunities include:

  • AI and analytics help to mitigate hiring biases by flagging discriminatory job descriptions. 
  • Digital engagement platforms can assist DEI progress through employee surveys, diversity news and resources, anonymous feedback channels, and access to training. 
  • Some software can integrate with communication systems to catch insensitive language and suggest alternatives. 
  • Specialized software solutions are additionally emerging to benchmark diversity initiatives, generate anonymized diverse candidate lists, create egalitarian job posts, reveal pay disparities needing mediation, and enable unbiased hiring auditions.

To make DEI strategies effective globally, companies need to customize their approach for different regions. This involves engaging local leaders in developing behaviors that align with local culture and providing localized content for DEI learning. 

While core definitions of DEI may be the same, how they manifest in the local workplace differs from region to region. These programs strengthen connectivity within teams, foster cross-cultural collaboration and mutual understanding, and promote company-wide inclusion of employees from all regions of operation.

Adopting Intersectional Lenses

The term “intersectionality” was first coined by American law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It emerged as a framework for understanding how social identities—such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, ability and gender identity—overlap with one another and with systems of power that oppress and advantage people in different ways.

In the workplace, intersectionality manifests in various forms, including greater wage gaps and lower promotion rates for women, hiring inequities for women of racial minorities, and varied experiences of sexual harassment for LGBTQ+ individuals based on ethnicity or ability. 

To effectively incorporate intersectionality into DEI strategies, it is important to involve diverse voices and perspectives from the outset, and to conduct data analysis. While daunting, organizations have frameworks at their disposal offering practical steps suited to local contexts. 

Top recommendations include: 

  • Skills-based hiring
  • Voluntary learning opportunities
  • Employee journey mapping
  • Launching grassroots initiatives like mentorship for underrepresented groups
  • Measuring intervention efficacy through transparent outcome sharing amongst industry peers

Organizational Action

Organizations looking to start or enhance their DEI initiatives in 2024 can adopt several practical steps. The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) proposes a “REAL” framework which includes:

  • Revealing relevant opportunities
  • Elevating equity
  • Activating diversity
  • Leading inclusively 

This approach emphasizes the discovery of diversity within groups and the context in which DEI plays out. It also involves understanding equity as providing fair opportunities and resources for all to attain their full potential, recognizing and engaging diversity within the employee and customer base, and promoting full participation and a sense of belonging for every employee, customer and partner.

Bain & Company’s research identifies 10 specific tactics for advancing DEI in the workplace. These include: 

  1. Expressing C-suite commitment and formalizing accountability
  2. Adopting a skills-first approach to talent acquisition
  3. Diversifying talent pipelines through work-based experiences
  4. Providing family-sustaining wages and benefits
  5. Communicating skills-based career pathways
  6. Offering voluntary DEI training for all
  7. Listening to and learning from employees’ experiences
  8. Investing resources in cross-training and upskilling
  9. Creating mentoring and sponsorship programs
  10. Building a diverse supply chain

Fundamentally, achieving inclusive workforces for the future requires both structured organizational change and spontaneous individual responsibility. Formalizing DEI accountability through appointed leadership roles remains vital, with the realization change happens through ground-up collective, coalition action. 

This speaks to the deciding factors ultimately shaping successful DEI outcomes – empowering each employee to embrace personal allyship behaviors that dismantle biases and promote equity through everyday interpersonal interactions. Progress flows from cultural commitment alongside institutional policy. By internally addressing needs, a powerful formula for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion with authenticity takes shape.

For a comprehensive list of the top DEI for talent acquisition companies, as well as many other tools to help your recruitment marketing efforts, visit our marketplace now. Happy hiring!

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