How The Future of DE&I Will Impact Leaders: Five Key Takeaways

Global Diversity Practice CEO Farrah Qureshi recently gave a very well-received Keynote presentation to New Street Consulting Group. The presentation talked about future workplace trends, where DE&I is heading and how it will affect leaders. This prompted attendees to think about their company’s current DE&I efforts and how they’ll make positive changes in light of present and upcoming trends.

Following the presentation and subsequent discussion, five key takeaways include:

Employee wellbeing and sense of belonging are key to talent retention

Several future workplace trends point to hybrid working being the norm, Gen Z wanting to continue connections in person, shorter work weeks being part of an attractive EVP and a sense of belonging being essential to productivity, inclusion and retention. This indicates that taking care of employee wellbeing and monitoring it effectively over time is vital to attracting and retaining talent.

DEI outcomes could worsen due to hybrid and remote working

76% of managers say office-based employees are more likely than remote workers to be promoted. Considering that women and employees from underrepresented groups are more likely to want to leverage flexible work, proximity bias becomes a recipe for inequity. To support all employees in a hybrid future, leaders must mitigate bias in performance and recruiting and support underrepresented talent.

Managers need to take a more human-centric approach

As hybrid and remote working becomes more prominent, there is less opportunity for unplanned conversations between colleagues. Therefore, managers need to be more intentional in building relationships with their employees. The manager-employee relationship is critical in shaping the employee experience and connection to the organisation and this needs to be led by humanity and empathy.

DE&I education is not just for leaders

Unconscious bias training isn’t new but the way that it’s delivered needs to be changed. An hour training session with a DE&I consultant isn’t enough to make real change. Switching gears from just managers and leaders to include all employees (because we all have biases!) through continuous, engaging internal communication campaigns is vital to fostering a work culture that embraces DE&I.

Everyone must know how DE&I fits into the company’s mission and values

Many workers are now looking for purpose in their jobs and want to work for a company whose mission and values they can get behind. Generation Alpha (born between 2010-2024) will be the next generation to enter the workforce and they are set to be the most socially conscious generation yet. Leaders need to ensure that their company’s mission and values are visible and that it’s clear how the business makes a positive impact on society, in order to stay ahead of the game when it comes to attracting fresh talent and retaining socially conscious employees.

The future of DE&I is firmly within our grasp and it’s up to business leaders to be proactive in ensuring that their organisation is a safe and happy place for all of its employees.

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