Emerging Trends in D&I – By Mauricio A. Velásquez

As a professional who has worked in the D&I field for 25 years, I am seeing some significant emerging trends in the workplace. As a result of an improving economy, previously slashed HR budgets are finally being revitalized with attention being paid to training and development – especially for diversity and inclusion. In addition, as the labor market continues to improve, more employers are talking about becoming an “employer of choice” and strengthening their programs and employee relationships. The days of employers feeling their staff should “just be happy to have a job” are increasingly behind us as the market shifts in favor of employees. Savvy employers who value diversity, widen their recruiting net and retain talent by implementing inclusive programs will win the war for new talent. The newest generation entering the workforce is more diverse than ever and the generation behind it will produce an even more diverse “wave” of new hires. Status quo is no longer applicable.

Here are some trends that I am seeing. . .

  • Recruiting. Firms finally acknowledging and starting to address emerging diversity recruitment issues. They are making changes to their traditional methods of hiring in order to ensure a more heterogeneous workforce. They are realizing that technology is the key.
  • Management Training. Firms finally understand that they must invest in suitable training for new supervisors and managers in order to appropriately equip them for managing subordinates who are different from them. Managers need to be able to motivate and inspire their diverse staff.
  • Retention. Firms will spend more time and money keeping the talent they have instead of hiring new talent. Retention will be key. Mentoring programs are staging a huge comeback as firms recognize that by investing in their people, they are not likely to leave. Retention analysis and retention interviews are becoming popular. Exit interview data is being studied and analyzed in order to determine why people are leaving and whether or not there are trends that require tweaking in the firm culture.
  • Generational Diversity. Firms are focusing on age diversity and multiple generations training. For instance, attention is being paid to how to keep millennials and not just serve as a stepping stone for their next job.
  • Introspection. Firms are beginning to ask the tough questions: Is our firm inclusive? Is it a good place to work regardless of difference? Do we value all of the differences of our diverse workforce? Do our employees feel welcome and included? Are they embedded into our firm culture or are they leaving in higher proportion to their contemporaries? Are our employees respected? Trusted? Engaged?

Lastly, the herd has thinned. Companies in the D&I field are diminishing, either through consolidation or because they did not have enough business to stay viable. Thankfully, DTG continues to thrive. We are seeing work levels we have not seen in five years.

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