Author Profile Picture

Joanne Lockwood

SEE Change Happen Ltd

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

What will DEI look like in 2023?

Joanne Lockwood predicts the DEI landscape for 2023 and reflects on last year’s fails and gains.
Woman meditating with ideas in her hair

Trying to predict what we have in store for us in 2023 is no easy task. We would all love to be able to gaze into a crystal ball and gain some certainty over the direction of our lives.
I am often asked about my predictions on the DEI landscape over the coming months but in essence, if we have derived anything from turbulent 2022, it’s that the only thing we can count on is uncertainty. Am I being too pessimistic? Should we plan for the worst and hope for the best? Or perhaps there is space for some optimism?

A new world of uncertainty

We have the war in Ukraine, global uncertainty and instability where peace is no longer guaranteed.  Inflation and political uncertainty are running rife in many countries. There are supply chain issues and constraints on technology components as a result.

We are also talking openly now about standing up against violence toward women and girls

We are moving towards a world of ‘Quiet Quitting’ where companies are abandoning their focus on culture and positive people experiences and we are seeing leading blue chip and global tech companies making sweeping statements about getting their employees and colleagues ‘back in the office’ as if that is what it takes to get the work done!

On the other hand, looking back over the lessons of the past two years, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, we are also talking openly now about standing up against violence toward women and girls, employee well-being and the rise of psychological safety ‘as a thing’ and there have been other gains. 

An improved workplace?

What we do know is that the world of work must be better for our staff and colleagues, they expect more.  As we see more and more Gen-Z young people entering the workplace and rising through the ranks we need to ensure we are delivering to their needs – they want more freedom, more opportunity to talk about their identity.

They want to work for organisations that value them as individuals and they simply won’t engage if they are not involved in the conversations. I am sure Millennials, Gen-Xers and Boomers can also relate and will want some of that action as well. The inner optimist in me has a list of desires and hopes. Let’s meet back here in a year’s time to see what came true.

2023 DEI predictions

1. Focus on wellbeing

Companies need to revert to focus on well-being initiatives. I understand that the bottom line is under pressure right now, but if they want to attract and retain the best talent, they need to ensure that their People Experience is the top dead centre of their strategy.

There needs to be more accountability and fewer meaningless performative actions and statements

2. One size does not fit all

Let’s stop the BS on believing that being in the office is a one-size-fits-all strategy that guarantees productivity and learning. It is denying the experience of many who have worked and are continuing to work harder, smarter, and longer with increased productivity in a hybrid or fully remote way. We see many start-ups thriving in a disparately connected way without a central head office. This ‘old school’ leadership style and mentality need to evolve, not de-evolve to keep pace with the leading lights.

3. The DEI focus needs to keep on keeping on

There needs to be more accountability and fewer meaningless performative actions and statements. Uncoordinated training programmes aren’t moving the needle. DEI must have actionable outcomes, measurement, and top-to-bottom joined-up thinking all aligned with the brand and values of an organisation. You can’t simply hire your way out of your current issues – fix your toxicity and culture first.

4. Uncover the root causes of ‘quiet-quitting’

Engage with your people, not just once a year in a pulse survey, but on a weekly or daily basis with micro-surveys or just having a catch-up.  Back this up with ‘a you said, we did mantra’ and ethos. Look at the trends and look at the data – act and empower your leaders at all levels with employee experience KPIs and objectives.

5. Focus on your brand

Recognise that sustainability, people experience, and environmental issues are important to your workforce, as is fuel and food poverty together with the risk of homelessness. Trickledown economics isn’t in favour right now so make sure you recognise the challenges of your lower-paid and middle earners.

Trust is going to play a big part in the employee and candidate engagement strategy for 2023

If you don’t want to deliver inflation-pegged remuneration reviews, then consider how else can you ensure that your people believe in your mission. We will see a rise in strikes and other employee-led actions over the next 12 months.

Trust is going to play a big part in the employee and candidate engagement strategy for 2023. How can we trust you as an organisation and brand? It’s time to walk the talk and step up to ensure your actual employee experiences match the message being pushed out. If you are not continuing to be authentic, then you will be called out on it.

Here’s to a happy, healthier and more inclusive 2023.

Interested in this topic? Read Race in the workplace: The darker your skin, the harder you have to fight.

Author Profile Picture
Joanne Lockwood

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to TrainingZone's newsletter