Can technology unleash the power of diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace?

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Executive Summary

Why all the worldwide effort?
What’s the global status of diversity, equity and inclusion?
Who’s responsible for DEI strategy?
Technology : DEI enabler in the workplace
Your 7-step plan to DEI strategy success

In the new people-centric workplace, a huge emphasis is now being placed on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), will billions of dollars being spent worldwide on supporting it.

Workplace leaders across a range of functions from facilities to HR to IT are working hard to create strategies that promote the representation and participation of the widest range of people.

Why all the worldwide effort?

Partly it’s because organizations nowadays are keen to have a reputation for doing the right thing. And partly it’s because of the shift to more human-centric workplaces and holistic management styles. 

This has been driven by the global scarcity of talent and by savvy employees who simply go and work elsewhere if your working environment does not suit them.

But whatever the reason, creating and deploying a sound DEI strategy is well worth the effort.

Gartner research shows organizations with sustainable DEI initiatives see a 20% increase in inclusion, corresponding to greater on-the-job effort and intent to stay, as well as high employee performance. 

Ania Krasniewska, Group Vice President at Gartner, says: “Belonging is a key component of inclusion. When employees are truly included, they perceive that the organization cares for them as individuals — their authentic selves. HR helps make that happen.

 “It’s good for employees — and ultimately improves business performance.”

What’s the global status of diversity, equity and inclusion?

Despite many good intentions, DEI in the workplace is still a mixed landscape. Plenty of money is being spent on DEI-related efforts such as employee resource groups (ERGs), estimated at $7.5 billion and projected to more than double to $15.4 billion by 2026.

A study by SHRM and Boston College suggests many organizations are fostering a climate of inclusion, especially during recruitment, hiring, orientation and onboarding. But 62 percent of companies indicated that no resources or limited resources have been devoted to DEI. 

Furthermore, 20 percent of HR professionals say their organization’s overall policies and practices are not at all fair or are only somewhat fair.

Some warn there’s a risk that hybrid working itself can result in compounded bias and inequity because:

  • Underrepresented employees are more likely to choose remote over in-office work.
  •  Managers and senior leaders are prone to make talent decisions favoring employees they see in the office.

Early indicators suggest these barriers of poor visibility and biased performance evaluation could become even more formidable if not addressed: 

  • 64% of managers believe on-site employees are higher performers,
  • 76% say on-site employees are more likely to be promoted.1 

So despite excellent efforts and plenty of funding, there’s still much to be done to create healthy and prosperous workplaces.

Who’s responsible for DEI strategy?

Top-down DEI support increasingly includes a DEI leader, or a team, reporting to the CEO or the CHRO as the main functional stakeholder for HCM and DW leaders. 

By 2022, while nearly 75% of S&P 500-listed firms had a chief diversity officer (CDO), several high-profile leaders hired at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement have left their posts. 

The average tenure of CDOs at big firms is now less than two years, having shrunk from around three before the pandemic and social unrest of 2020. Worryingly, CDOs have one of the shortest average tenures of C-suite executives. 

The most successful organizations implementing hybrid working, however, are often those applying cross-functional thinking to creating people-centric working conditions. Facilities, HR and IT now all have seats at the boardroom table.

Cross-functional management: read why HR is now at the board table

Technology : DEI enabler in the workplace

Like any human-centric initiative, DEI can be hampered by compounded bias and inequity in the workplace, and it’s up to workplace leaders to tackle the topic through a coherent DEI technology strategy.

At the moment, though, technology focus is very low across DEI leaders, with only 10% considering it a priority.

This looks like the wrong approach. Across the globe, organizations are dealing with a double whammy. Talent is in short supply, and employees have become consumers of the workplace, willing to move jobs if they do not like conditions.

Remote and flexible working remains hugely popular, and companies are still struggling to get workers to come to the office, despite the benefits in collaboration, mentoring and social interaction.

The younger digital native workforce is particularly mobile and app-savvy. Gen Z and the millennials are extremely sensitive on the need for a friendly, enabled workplace. 

Organizations and management focusing on holistic management realise that success rests on flexibility, inclusivity, the free exchange of ideas and collaboration without any hindrances because of race, caste, creed, colour or gender biases. 

Technology today offers a range of solutions to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion. These solutions aim at maximizing data-driven decision-making and specific value drivers — such as transparency, accountability, and efficiency — across people, processes and daily work.

While DEI digital solutions can produce amazing results as well as saving time in making your company more diverse and inclusive, it’s important to remember that creating a DEI strategy that works for everyone is not a ‘quick fix’ solution.

A successful DEI plan needs to be based on real data, which requires technology and time to acquire, and there must be genuine empathy and a desire to learn within the workforce.

Your 7-step plan to DEI strategy success

  1. Start with a candid assessment of where you are
  2. Identify best practice and goals
  3. Identify the workplace technology you need to support your efforts
  4. Prepare a sound business case 
  5.  Implement your strategy, deploy your technology and use your DEI guidelines to recruit a diverse workforce 
  6. Communicate continuously with your workers and managers to encourage adherence to the guidelines
  7. Follow up – ask an external expert opinion to assess the effectiveness of your strategy, and update constantly.


Organizations must be agile, productive and technology-enabled to win and be successful – but it’s people and policies that drive this success. 

Recruiting and retaining a talent pool is driven by the “social contract” between employee and employer. It’s a DEI contract that transcends all barriers of caste, creed, color, gender, and other biases.

Organizations are setting DEI goals and strategies with executive leadership sponsorship and frequently communicating progress with employees. The most forward-thinking are including the deployment of technology as an essential support for their efforts.

Employees benefit hugely from a workplace where digital inclusion and equality make sure everyone can maximize their opportunities, of course. But for organizations, the stakes could not be higher. 

Employees are no longer willing to stand for inequities, and will leave if they feel their company does not care sufficiently about their wellbeing. Every loss costs dearly in recruitment, training and business continuity.

Getting it right means talent retention, great staff wellbeing, and the creation of a seamless and supportive working environment that engenders collaboration, innovation and good productivity.

In 2023 and beyond, equality really counts.  And nowhere does it have more tangible benefits than in your workplace.