Blog Post

Top 5 DEI Trends for 2024

By Michael Nicholson
April 3, 2024

Navigating a Shifting DEI Landscape

The conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is louder than ever, but for Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs), the path forward is anything but clear.

2024: The Year of Inclusion

Against this backdrop, inclusion is taking center stage. While there’s no silver bullet, the journey begins with building trust, fostering open dialogue, embracing innovation, and committing to research-backed best practices.

2024 DEI and Talent Priorities Survey

To understand the top priorities of DEI and Talent leaders today, from November 7, 2023, to January 7, 2024, we surveyed 68 global leaders at leading companies collectively representing more than 800,000 employees.

The Five Most Pressing Priorities for DEI and Talent Leaders

  1. Converging Worlds: The Future of DEI and Talent
  2. DEI in the Age of AI: Bias or Opportunity?
  3. The Business Value of DEI: Global and Industry-Specific Strategies
  4. DEI Communications: The Secret Weapon of Crisis-Proof Leaders
  5. Beyond Backlash: Charting the Next Frontier of Inclusion

Agile DEI: The Key to Success

As 2024 unfolds, CDOs and CHROs must be prepared to adapt and redefine what it means to do DEI in the workplace and marketplace. New opportunities to advance inclusive leadership are emerging, but capitalizing upon them demands agility like never before.

1. Converging Worlds: The Future of DEI and Talent

The workplace is evolving faster than ever, and the lines between DEI and Talent are blurring, earning DEI and Talent partnerships the top spot (#1) in this year’s poll.

Here’s why:

Shifting Sands

Workforce instability is the new normal, and therefore critical DEI and Talent investments are being subjected to heightened scrutiny. Companies are rethinking existing structures, with roles converging across functions. CDOs are stepping into people leadership roles, CHROs are being called upon to lead DEI teams, and business executives are embracing new DEI responsibilities.

New Faces, New Journeys

Seventy percent of CDOs are navigating uncharted territory, leading DEI for the first time. While excitement abounds, significant challenges remain. High turnover and burnout rates and an average CDO tenure of only 30 months in the S&P 500 highlight the need for support, partnership, and development.

Culture Counts

Recent Seramount research demonstrates that the magic happens when leaders champion employee engagement, satisfaction, and DEI priorities. On the flip side, unhealthy company culture is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting employee turnover.

Building Bridges

To combat the “disengagement tax,” DEI and Talent leaders are joining forces to build an inclusive talent lifecycle. Think recruitment with an eye toward diversity and weaving DEI into the very fabric of HR practices, not just siloed teams or bolt-on programs.

“As we think about recruitment, as we think about advancement, as we think about learning and development, we shouldn’t have…our policies and practices for recruitment and then some bolt-on things that we do for diversity; we should have a policy and practice for recruitment that has an eye toward diversity.”

Sandy Torchia, Vice Chair, Talent and Culture, KPMG

2. DEI in the Age of AI: Bias or Opportunity?

Our survey reveals rising leadership concern about the impact of AI on DEI (ranked #2 overall). CDOs and CHROs at top-performing global organizations are waking up to the critical truth that today’s inequities in AI adoption could shape an unfair future of work tomorrow.

The data is clear: equitable AI adoption is fast becoming a cornerstone of inclusive DEI and Talent strategies. Studies show a generational divide in anxieties around AI, with Millennial and Gen Z employees being more apprehensive about its potential impact on their careers than those in older generations. These findings signal a pressing need for proactive measures to ensure existing AI adoption gaps don’t exacerbate long-standing workplace inequalities.

Why this matters:

  • Unmitigated bias in AI algorithms can perpetuate and amplify existing inequities, widening the inclusion gap for underrepresented groups.
  • Unequal access to AI-powered opportunities and training can further disadvantage historically excluded talent, hindering professional development and career advancement.
  • Building workplace trust in AI requires transparency, inclusive development, and   clear communication about responsible use of the technology.

“Why is it essential that DEI be part of the AI conversation? Without advocates for diverse experiences and perspectives, we’ll never achieve inclusive AI data sets. As DEI leaders, we must guide ethical AI practices the way we’ve always advocated for ethical policies in hiring, from bias mitigation to freedom from discrimination.”

Katie Oertli Mooney, Managing Director, Seramount

3. The Business Value of DEI: Global and Industry-Specific Strategies

Whether broad or targeted, global or granular, CDOs and CHROs are increasingly showcasing DEI’s tangible impact on performance, market reach, and employee well-being, emphasizing inclusion’s core significance to the broader business. The world’s leading companies are taking a data-driven, results-oriented approach to integrating DEI into their organizations’ DNA.

Unlocking Inclusion’s Business Impact

DEI and Talent leaders view industry-specific and global DEI strategies (ranked #2 and #3 for business impact) as critically important to the bottom line. Today’s leaders understand, for example, that the tech and manufacturing sectors call for radically different DEI strategies. At the same time, multinationals are increasingly grappling with the need to define a global inclusion strategy.

Both trends highlight the need for nuanced inclusion plans and an agile, consultative approach to the business value of DEI balancing global cooperation and regional cultural variances with sector-specific networks and best practices.

Key Findings

  • The evolution of DEI and Talent leads the way, with DEI and Talent partnerships topping the list of trending topics with significant business impact (#1).
  • Respondents expressed strong interest in the business impact of industry-specific DEI strategy (#2), highlighting the need for tailored approaches to key inclusion challenges.
  • DEI and Talent leaders are realizing the value of a comprehensive but flexible global inclusion strategy, including cross-functional collaborations (#3).
  • DEI is expanding beyond the walls of the organization, with new collaborative data-sharing and social impact initiatives facilitating the formation of industry coalitions.

4. DEI Communications: The Secret Weapon of Crisis-Proof Leaders

Today’s DEI and Talent executives are intently focused on DEI, AI, and the future of work (ranked #1 by DEI and Talent executives). Yet in a surprising trend, DEI crisis communications ranks second for CDOs and CHROs (beating out hot topics such as DEI and election-year polarization [#4] and the legal risks surrounding DEI decisions [#6]).

Beyond Apologies: Cultivating Trust

Seramount’s free Guide to DEI Communications Strategy reveals the answer: proactive, inclusive communication isn’t just damage control and good PR; it’s a strategic investment in resilient reputational capital. Moving beyond apologies toward proactive crisis control requires inclusive leadership and continuous conversation.

DEI Comms Strategy: Best Practices

  1. Highlight Senior Leadership Passion for DEI
  2. Partner with Corporate Communications
  3. Strategically Leverage ERGs

“Employees are becoming more emboldened to share their personal thoughts on societal issues within and outside the workplace—which makes it critically important for companies to regularly share impactful positive stories both internally and externally.”

Seramount Guide to DEI Communications Strategy

5. Beyond Backlash: Charting the Next Frontier of Inclusion


Our survey also yielded a treasure trove of qualitative feedback, revealing new frontiers for the DEI landscape. From religious inclusion and navigating the rise of Gen Z to engaging “the silent middle” and mitigating CDO/CHRO burnout, the themes centered around navigating uncharted waters. These trends also prompt a new question: How far will the boundaries of DEI and talent expand in the future?

The New Inclusion Imperative

In the wake of the 2024 DEI and Talent Priorities Survey, we’ve witnessed a rising tide of attacks on DEI itself. The current environment—clouded by an increasing spread of misinformation about DEI’s scope and purpose—calls for a new inclusion imperative: understanding where the movement is headed and how to chart its future course.

Beyond Business as Usual

This is no time for complacency. As political polarization heats up and demands for inclusive leadership are amplified, CDOs and CHROs must remain hypervigilant about DEI’s present state and future. The year 2024 is a make-or-break year for belonging and will demand solidarity. Survey respondents repeatedly expressed the urgent need for allyship and leadership buy-in today.

“Take ownership of DEI initiatives in the organization, and ensure your colleagues see the results. Don’t be afraid to step in and make additional impact where you can….This is the way to ensure that DEI efforts thrive no matter which way the pendulum swings.”

“Keeping DEI Strong in Volatile Times,” Seramount

Conclusion: The Future of DEI

Integrating Inclusion

The priorities of DEI and Talent leaders at high-performing global organizations are rapidly evolving in a shifting landscape. By adapting and retooling their approaches, CDOs and CHROs are making a compelling case for a seat at the table. Now like never before, they are ensuring that the keys to unlocking DEI, Talent, and business success are one and the same.

Continuous Improvement

The world’s leading DEI and Talent organizations invest in continuous improvement. Pushing new boundaries and integrating new perspectives, their agile methodologies showcase the advances that come from actively engaging the passions and interests of a workforce discovering strength in difference.

Sustaining Progress

Looking ahead to the future of DEI and Talent, Seramount’s optimistic view of sustained progress is rooted in an enduring 40-year legacy dedicated to future-proofing inclusive workplaces and advancing historically excluded talent.

Preparing for the Workplace of Tomorrow

Stay tuned as we continue to unpack these trends and explore how Seramount, alongside its global industry partners, is navigating this turning point. Together we can ensure that 2024 doesn’t just witness disruption but transforms that disruption into an opportunity for meaningful progress.

Ready to future-proof your inclusive workplace strategy? Let’s partner.

“DEI is not a program, but a way of being. This is our long-term vision: seamlessly integrating DEI into every aspect of the organization, from leadership and culture to investment and opportunity.”

Subha Barry, President, Seramount

About the Author

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Michael Nicholson
Principal, Strategic Research