Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) No Longer a Focus?

Seeing this article in HR Grapevine, “Ditching diversity | ASOS drops DEI bonus targets – executives told to focus on profit instead” made me wonder where corporations are currently standing on their commitment and focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Based on this, it would seem that DEIB has fallen further down the list of corporate priorities. In this specific example, financial benefits (profit) has taken over as the focus. While it is true that most companies are in business to make money, you have to wonder if a realignment like this, where ASOS drops their DE&I bonus targets, will have the intended results.

Despite a plethora of studies and reports (McKinsey, Glassdoor, Monster, etc.) that explain that embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace can lead to some impressive business results (including better financial returns), we are seeing a backlash against these initiatives.

In fact, per the Academy to Innovate HR, we are witnessing three big shifts:

  1. The Supreme Court’s ruling
  2. Discontent with DEIB departments within companies
  3. Initiatives that negatively impact employee attitudes

In AIHR’s “11 HR Trends for 2024: Elevating Work,” number 3 is that we are at the point of no return for DEIB and they feel that 2024 is the year of reinvention for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). They acknowledge the current existing challenges but also point out that “80% of workers expect their CEO (and company) to take a public stand on discrimination. Not addressing the proverbial elephant in the room will lead to difficulties in attracting, engaging, and retaining talent.” So they propose systemic DEIB as a viable way forward in 2024. Systemic DEIB moves away from high-visibility, ad-hoc DEIB initiatives, which can lead to controversy and perceived inauthenticity, to building DEIB into an effective and authentic foundation of the organization. Systemic DEIB has three core elements: equitable practices, create an HR voice with proof points, and take targeted action.

This aligns with a recent opening session at the Oct 30th SHRM Inclusion 2023 conference in Savannah, GA where SHRM President & CEO, Johnny C Taylor and co-presenter Erec Smith, associate professor of rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania, reviewed a timeline of the evolution of DE&I in the workplace and the broader U.S. Their conclusion? They feel that “it’s not working because you can think one way and act a different way” and suggest that adaptive leadership should be a big focus going forward because it gets into people’s attitudes, beliefs, and values, which are difficult to change. Here is more on adaptive leadership.

So where is this focus within your global mobility program? What types of things have you already done as a mobility function as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging? Are you looking for ways to have an impact? Do you have any initiatives related to DEIB for 2024? To what degree is DEIB a focus in the near future? Let us know and see what others are saying…by taking our 5 second LinkedIn quick poll. (Update 12/14) The poll has closed and here are the results:


Inclusion, equity and diversity (IE&D) are on “an evolutionary track,” SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, said Oct. 30 during the opening general session of the SHRM INCLUSION 2023 conference in Savannah, Ga. And HR professionals have a unique opportunity “to help influence how [employees] treat their neighbor, how they see other people, hear other people,” Taylor added. He opened the talk, which included co-presenter Erec Smith, associate professor of rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania, with a timeline of the evolution of diversity, inclusion and then equity in the workplace and the broader U.S.