Blog Post

Revisiting 5 Predictions DEI Experts Are Making for 2024

By Stefani Murray
June 18, 2024

Six months ago, Seramount’s top advisors were asked to make predictions on what they are hearing in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space. Armed with the knowledge that 2024 was going to be a tumultuous year and Seramount’s research on Volatile Times, the advisors gave their predictions based on what was most top of mind for Seramount partner organizations. Now, halfway through 2024, this year is proving to be a roller coaster of emotions, policy changes, and looking to the future. As the next six months unfold in the DEI and Talent landscape, we’ll hurtle toward the most decisive national election yet. Navigating this dynamic landscape will demand unparalleled agility, creativity, resilience—and above all a steadfast commitment to building a more inclusive future for all.

Read on to see what our advisors are saying has changed, stayed the same, or shifted since January 2024.

1. AI Impact on DEI: Risks and Opportunities

Six months ago: The pervasive influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on DEI is a central theme in 2024, introducing both risks and opportunities for organizations. AI’s integration into recruitment processes has become a focal point. While there is a legitimate fear of biased AI training perpetuating inequalities, there is an opportunity for organizations to proactively address these concerns. Beyond recruitment, there is growing curiosity about AI’s potential in managing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Now: Nicole Johnson, Senior Director, Seramount Advisory, noted that AI can and should be leveraged by all DEI practitioners. Many are working with limited resources, and AI can help to fill in resource gaps. In addition, the more DEI professionals interact with AI, the smarter it will become around the topics of DEI, belonging, psychological safety, and other related areas of interest. According to new research from Seramount, most CDOs aren’t comfortable with generative AI (GAI) and don’t understand how it can benefit their company’s efforts to recruit and promote talent from historically excluded groups. Our research will continue to evolve with the knowledge of GAI and its impact on DEI and the workforce in 2025. The initial findings for the newest insight paper, “Leveraging Generative Artificial Intelligence to Diversify Talent,” which speaks to how GAI can be used in DEI and Talent settings, is being released exclusively to CDO Collaborative members this June at the CDO Convening, with the final report being released in October.

2. CDO Role Expansion: Guiding Talent Amid Societal Shifts

Six months ago: Our advisors predicted that the role of CDOs was expected to be expanded, with a focus on providing guidance on societal issues rather than just company-specific concerns. CDOs will navigate the changing landscape by reframing messaging and becoming adept negotiators. They might take on additional responsibilities related to holistic learning and employee engagement.

Now: CDOs will have to become more adept at setting boundaries and prioritizing. The events of this year will elevate expectations of the role of the CDO, who will need to be able to respond to societal shifts. Many CDOs are not appropriately equipped by leadership to play that role, and they should push back against the expectation that they are the sole owner of any single solution. Megan Pierouchakos, Senior Director, Seramount Advisory, stated that CDOs will be required to collaborate more across the organization, proactively establishing a decision tree and pursuing their own upskilling. They are also being increasingly leaned on to address religion and politics in the workplace, as well as other more nuanced and once taboo topics, and they are also now associated with belonging and civility.

3. Balancing Employee Expectations and DEI Pushback

Six months ago: Successfully navigating the complex landscape of employee expectations and DEI pushback will require organizations to leverage ERGs, prioritize transparency, and take decisive actions based on employee feedback to foster a workplace that is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Now: Despite numerous legislative changes behind closed doors, typically with little public input, the fight against DEI pushback continues. Businesses have been able to prove the positive impact DEI initiatives have had on the bottom line, and many companies have continued to enact DEI initiatives. However, DEI communications will be crucial in organizations for the rest of the year, as Nicole Johnson notes. Information needs to be provided proactively, consistently, transparently, and in a timely manner so that employees don’t have space for assumptions.

4. The Evolution of ERGs: Restructuring and Global Expansion

Six months ago: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are experiencing rapid growth, outpacing the capacity of DEI teams. Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will play a crucial role in showcasing ERG impact, with a focus on job mobility and talent connection. New ERGs, particularly religious ones, are emerging, and the trend of ERGs being transformed to Business Resource Groups (BRGs) continues. Global expansion is another key theme for ERGs, with a focus on interconnectivity across different locations.

Now: An additional lens on restructuring that has recently emerged is the need for ERG leaders to more actively engage their members with the operational work of the group and not consider them only as passive participants, according to Kamina Young, Senior Director, Seramount Advisory. Organizations experiencing layoffs have lost ERG leadership talent, and delegating work to others is more important than ever before. In the face of such disruption, understanding when to pivot or narrow scope to focus more on member needs and less on company needs is key to remain in touch with employee concerns.

5. Shifting Focus: Redefining Diversity Metrics and Accountability

Six months ago: The redefinition of diversity metrics involves moving beyond simplistic, quantitative measurements that predominantly focus on financial outcomes. Organizations are recognizing that true diversity encompasses a spectrum of experiences, identities, and perspectives. This shift prompts a reevaluation of the language used and the motivators employed to foster a more comprehensive and inclusive DEI strategy. In the United States, the accountability landscape surrounding DEI-related bonuses is undergoing a significant reexamination.

Now:  Nicole Johnson noted that organizations are now asking “how to better measure success” or “how to increase engagement.” The answers to these critical questions go beyond typical DEI metrics and are more aligned with culture. These questions can’t always be answered with an engagement survey but need to be followed up with real action taken by senior leaders. CDOs in the United States are also preparing for a potential administration change by reexamining their self-ID campaigns and categories. Megan Pierouchakos stated that in the human resources terrain, new requirements by the EEOC to add Middle East and North African (MENA) to the list of racial/ethnic identity descriptors has prompted organizations to rethink expanding definitions of diversity and capturing them both from a required and voluntary standpoint.

Key Takeaway

The work in the DEI and Talent landscape is rapidly changing to keep up with the needs of employees of a broad range of backgrounds. Revisiting these predictions enables us to continue to adapt and plan for optimal success. Taking the time to reflect on the changes happening in society halfway through the year will empower your organization to consider the evolving needs of those around you. As we enter the second half of the year, look to these predictions and updates as a guide for your organization’s DEI strategy needs.

If you’d like to learn more about Seramount’s work and how we can support your organization’s DEI and Talent strategy, contact us.

About the Author

Headshot Stefani Murray
Stefani Murray
Marketing Specialist