Top Ten Work Trends Quarterly Updates

A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2022. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.

Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here

Trend #8: Creating Effective Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Interventions

2022 3rd Quarter Update

If you’ve been following along with this trend, you know we started by discussing collecting data then we reviewed using that data to develop a strategy. The next key piece is using that strategy to build out your effective behavior change interventions.

Oftentimes organizations default to implementing unconscious bias trainings as their behavior change interventions, even though research has shown over time that unconscious bias training alone does not actually change behavior, as supported by this 2019 meta-analysis. A couple of reasons DEI trainings can fail is when they are treated as one-off trainings or focus solely on compliance. One of the biggest downfalls is when they only focus on education or awareness, but spend little time on action. 

In 2016, Katerina Bezrukova and colleagues found that diversity trainings have greater impact when initiatives target both awareness AND skills. They also found that longer trainings resulted in participants using their new knowledge on the job. However, not all trainings need to be long. To help keep the conversation going in between long educational workshops organizations have been implementing things like micro-learning, discussion groups, and fireside chats. There is also the option of starting meetings with “DEI moments”, a spin on the more well-known idea of “safety moments”, quick presentations by team members at the start of all meetings on different DEI topics. Just like how “safety moments” can promote a culture of safety, DEI moments can foster a more inclusive workplace culture. 

So far, we have discussed what people traditionally think of in the DEI space when it comes to behavior change interventions (e.g., education and awareness building), however, behavior change interventions include so much more! One related area that should be considered is establishing opportunities for underrepresented groups to be able to develop skills for them to progress in their organizations. This can include career development programs, upskilling and reskilling, and mentorship and sponsorship. In 2021, Gallup conducted a study around upskilling and found that when American workers participate in upskilling programs, there is an average 8.6% salary increase.  Additionally, they found that 48% of workers would change jobs if the new job included skills training opportunities. So not only does upskilling as a behavior change intervention impact equity for employees, it also gives organizations a competitive edge during the current “great resignation”. 

Another area that has an impact, but isn’t always thought of as a behavior change intervention is reviewing your talent management process (e.g., selection, recruitment, performance management, onboarding, offboarding). Organizations should investigate how equitable their policies are and implement changes as needed. This change comes at an organizational level whereas the other changes we discussed earlier are more focused on individuals. 

As time goes on, I foresee more organizations reimaging just what they mean when they consider their DEI behavior change interventions, and taking a more robust approach. Training is only ONE lever when it comes to advancing DEI efforts. And only works as part of a broader DEI strategy.

2022 2nd Quarter Update

In the Q1 trend update, we discussed the importance of collecting data before attempting to create effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) interventions. However, there is one more step that should be taken before we get into interventions and that's developing a data-driven strategy. As noted in the Global Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDEIB), a research-based benchmark guidebook for DEI, under Category 1: Vision, Strategy, and Business Impact, an organization should “Develop a strong rationale for DEI vision and strategy and align it to organizational goals.” When developing a DEI strategy, it’s critical to have a clear purpose and align that with your plan for impact measurement. This helps you know what data you need to collect, and track progress towards your goals (i.e., what is the expected change you plan to see as a result of the DEI interventions you will implement?). 

Another key part of the strategy is communication. Internally at a minimum, but we are even seeing a push for more external reporting. For example, look at the information shared publicly by organizations such as McDonald’s, Target, and PepsiCo.  What you will notice is that not only are they sharing data, but they are connecting that data to their strategy, goals, and interventions. To help standardize this practice, we are seeing more industry-specific and location-based communities come together to support each other through the process as well. For instance, Baltimore Tracks is a membership organization for technology companies that are committed to building a diverse workforce. They provide their member organizations with a DEI survey that they can use to collect data to help hold members accountable for their mission. I worked closely with the Baltimore Tracks coalition earlier this year to help these startups develop a standard report format for sharing out their results AND next steps at the organization level by providing workshops on how to develop action plans based on their data. 

We are already seeing more coalitions like this such as The ACT Report and Open to All that are dedicated to building community and sharing tools/best practices to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at an industry level. As more organizations begin to normalize using data to develop strategies and share this information, I predict we will see an increase in transparency and benchmarking as well.

2022 1st Quarter Update

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been on the top ten list in some form since 2015, and 2022 is not any different. For 2022 the topic is split in two, with trend number 8 being creating effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) interventions. However, before getting into interventions it is important for organizations to start with data. A study done with 374 HR professionals found that the most common barrier to increasing the effectiveness of their DEI initiatives was a lack of metrics to identify where they were lacking in regards to DEI. It can be tempting to start with interventions as your first step with DEI, but it is critical to first gather data to tell you where to look, and when to pivot. 

There are various forms of data that you can collect to help you determine what interventions are necessary – DEI survey, pay equity analysis, exit or stay interview data, and more! However, depending on the organization it can be difficult to get support to collect all of the necessary data. One useful tactic is to share research about the benefits of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce such as how it leads to more employee engagement. This can hopefully get you to support to gather at least some data. Once you have a little data, you can use that for support to capture more. 

Although collecting data is important, it doesn’t necessarily need to be complicated. As fellow I-O/DEI expert Dr. Lindsay Ciancetta mentioned in the new book Inclusalytics, co-authored by Dr. Victoria Mattingly and I, “The best statistic is the one that answers the question you’re asking.” With I-O psychologist expertise in data analytics, businesses can rely on them for support in not only conducting analyses, but making sure their analyses are targeting the areas they want to address in the first place! From there they can then assist with developing data-driven strategies based on their findings.

According to a survey by LinkedIn Talent Solutions in 2021, around 1 in 4 job seekers said DEI is the most important area of investment to improve company culture. That being said, as we progress through 2022, I predict we will see more organizations moving forward with attempting to create more effective diversity, equity, and inclusion interventions. My recommendation to them, start with data.  



Champion: Sertrice Grice, MS

Sertrice Grice

Sertrice Grice, MS, is Co-Founder & Chief Consulting Officer of Mattingly Solutions, a women-owned diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm. Sertrice is passionate about helping organizations use metrics to create data-driven DEI strategies that drive meaningful change. She has partnered with organizations such as National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), DICK’s Sporting Goods, and Intelsat in reviewing and developing various DEI programs. Sertrice received her B.S. in Psychology from Emporia State University and her M.S. in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Radford University. She is now based out of Raleigh, North Carolina.