Diversity People DEI Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Workday has published findings from a global survey of 2,600 global business leaders about DEI. Conducted by Sapio Research the survey found that 78% of respondents say that DEI priority has increased over the last year. In the UK, that number rises to 85%. Possibly the most important statistic highlighted, though, is the increase in the number of organisations measuring the impact and perceived value of DEI. On average, 67% of organisations are now measuring DEI, compared to only 20% in 2022. The Global Blueprint for Belonging and Diversity can be downloaded (Registration required).

The report also highlighted why organisations are investing in DEI, with 85% now having a budget. The top three drivers for the investment were:

  • Attract and recruit a diverse workforce – 43% (UK 52%)
  • Improve staff well-being – 41% (44%)
  • Attract and Develop talent – 41% (41%)

In the US (49%) and UK (46%) also said that the key driver was to positively impact business success and results through investing in DEI. These were the highest scores globally. However, what isn’t clear is how respondents from finance and HR varied their answers to this question.

Daniela Porr, principal solutions marketing lead, Workday
Daniela Porr, Principal Solutions Marketing Lead, Workday

Daniela Porr, Principal Solutions Marketing Lead, Workday, said, “The results of the survey are encouraging for DEI efforts in 2024. However, if UKI businesses are to develop a more mature approach, there is still work to be done in forming nuanced DEI strategies and recognising the impact of AI on these goals.”

The report goes on to look at the impact of leadership and technology on DEI within organisations. It finishes with a look ahead to 2024. There is a  short section with advice on how to make DEI part of the company culture. There is also a very brief look at the Workday technology that helps organisations.

What is in the report

The twenty-page report contains a mix of analysis and data points from the survey, sometimes presented as data visualisations. There are also a few comparisons to a similar report in 2022. Which illustrates the increase in importance and recognition of DEI over the last year.

There is no table of contents within the report. The report begins with a foreword by Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer, People and Purpose, Workday. She notes that, “When an organization sets clear, measurable DEI objectives that mobilize people toward action, there is a readiness to thrive, and people want to bring the best of themselves to their work and to one another.”

After a short introduction, which also revealed the survey. Participants came from the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The report has several sections:

  • DEI is an organizational priority, with a budget to back it up.
  • What drives DEI in your country?
  • DEI support is intrinsically motivated.
  • Diversity and equity initiatives are already in place at most organizations.
  • Why shared ownership and leadership matter.
  • Strategic approach: industry and regional highlights.
  • How organizations use technology to support DEI.
  • Success sustains a positive feedback loop.
  • Looking ahead to DEI in 2024.
  • Making DEI part of the company culture.

The report breaks down some of the questions by industry and country, with some interesting variances. Most notably, improving employer brand is not seen as a driver across all industries or regions. With only the UK (41%) and Hong Kong (40%) scoring above 40%.

Diverse Leadership matters

The report notes that without diversity within the leadership, DEI is harmed. 52% of respondents believe that the current leadership makeup has a negative impact on diversity. 38% see that leadership and commitment from the top are cited as the prime need for moving to the next stage in relation to DEI. The results from both different nations and industries show that there is a long road ahead, though. Canada (26%), Mexico (32%) and the US (26%) are making good progress in relation to their strategic approach. With the UK fourth (23%) however, the numbers are still low.

Taylor noted, “At Workday, we believe in building a great place to work for all, which means being intentional about our commitment to Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (VIBE) and creating a workplace where all of our employees are valued for their unique perspectives, respected as equal and integral, and are given fair access to opportunity.

“The research reveals the continued need for organisations to invest in DEI initiatives to attract top talent and demonstrates that having DEI data available to them is key to enabling better decision making and, ultimately, improved outcomes.”

Get the right technology

Having the right technology stack is important and can play a critical role in enabling DEI. Workday solutions, including VIBE Index and VIBE Central, enable organisations to better measure DEI metrics. However, other technologies, such as employee engagement tools, are growing in importance. Employee engagement and retention tools saw the biggest increase in usage over the last year (5%). But all other tools rose in usage.

Workday believes that there is a correlation between this increase in tools, notably AI and ML tools. Investment in AI and ML is most common in DEI applications. Including performance development (41%), hiring (37%), and sentiment surveys (37%). The impact is also positive, with 86% believing that AI has a positive impact on performance development.

Daniel Pell, Vice President and Country Manager, UKI, Workday (image credit - LinkedIn)
Daniel Pell, Vice President and Country Manager, UKI, Workday

Daniel Pell, Vice President and Country Manager, UKI, Workday, noted, “At Workday, we’re seeing positive uptake of Workday Skills Cloud, a solution which enables businesses to understand the skills and capabilities of their entire workforce. By using this data, organisations can build even better people strategies and identify gaps and opportunities to upskill, re-skill and even hire new talent with ease.”

Michael Houlihan, CEO, Generation UK&I. “Wider adoption of skills-based hiring can play a big role in addressing the digital skills gap that the UK faces. There are large numbers of people intrinsically well suited for digital roles who are being overlooked. The combination of skills-based hiring, and rapid skilling initiatives such as skills bootcamps, could help fill hundreds of thousands of hard-to-recruit for roles across the UK, whilst also improving diversity and widening access.

“AI tools can play a big role here, both to improve and accelerate peoples’ learning journey, as well as helping employers roll out skills-based hiring in a coherent, impactful, and business-improving way.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

As usual with Workday reports, this is a solid read with some interesting findings from the data that Sapio Research uncovered. Within the text, there are a few customer comments. That note how the Workday HCM solutions, PeakOn employee engagement, have assisted organisations with their DEI strategy.

However, besides the general interest information, of which there is a lot, there are few flagged takeouts from the research. These tend to be buried in the text, which means it is worth reading. But there is no easy way to scan the report to get the easy takeouts. This report could have been improved with a more obvious structure. With a list of questions or actions for the readers to consider as they reflect on their own DEI initiatives.


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