What Trends Will We See This Year?
What will be the biggest diversity recruiting trends to follow for 2022? We've summarized what DEI industry experts predict will be the greatest opportunities.Download Full Guide
1. Pressing Hard And Applying Pressure
2022 is the year we press hard and apply pressure, according to DEI giant, Torin Ellis. He shares, “If we continue to press hard on supplier diversity programs, we should see a change in third-party agency vendor protocols. Currently, most agency firms DO NOT support D&I efforts of their client companies, yet they are still allowed to collect substantial fees. If we continue to apply pressure and tension in how these programs are grown and structured, we will begin to see large companies making progress on their DEIB efforts because more will be rowing the ship in the same direction. This is vital to adding efficiency and result into the process.”
2. Improved DEIB Training
It should be no secret that employees want more DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) training. Lucky for us, according to Sophia Dozier, DEI Consultant, we will start seeing just that. She hopes to see “DEIB training transform beyond general learning and see it take on clear calls to action for employees.” She believes we will see more employers incorporating clear policies into their company DNA and expectations for employee behavior. There will be more responsibility for creating an environment of belonging, Sophia suggests. She even cites that employee performance ratings are starting to include DEI elements.
3. Multigenerational Workforces
Over the next few years, the most important trend we will see is how we work with multigenerational workforces. Emily Cardner, Head of People at Viam, expands on this point by sharing, “Employees from GenZ are no longer just interns or new grads, they are now becoming the future leaders and managers of companies. Having said that, we still have the generation of Baby Boomers in the workforce, and three generations in between.” Emily explains that it will be “important for both recruiting and HR teams to manage the various expectations and work styles of these generations to create a cohesive culture. In the end, we want to celebrate these generations, while understanding their differences to make everyone as productive and included as possible.
4. Proximity Bias
Zynga Inc's Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Vijay Pendakur says there is an emerging trend we should be aware of and combat. This trend is proximity bias. According to Dr. Pendakur, proximity bias refers to “The tendency for managers to reward employees who are in front of them more frequently.” This practice can be very harmful to DEI within an organization. And can be especially harmful to underestimated groups— working mothers, individuals with disabilities, etc. He explains, “This implicit bias may harm remote workers and favor hybrid or in-office team members. With underrepresented talent potentially being heavily remote, companies have to invest in manager training and accountability intentionally designed to counter proximity bias.”
5. Mental Health
In the wake of increasing mental health awareness, companies are forced to seriously examine their mental health practices. In fact, Lyra conducted a survey of 300 human resources and benefits leaders in December 2020 and found the following, “86 percent said mental health became a higher priority for their company in 2020.” The survey also revealed, “54 percent said their employees now have higher expectations in regards to mental health support from their employers.” Showcasing your mental health benefits and what your organization is doing to support your employees is going to be a big component of attracting new untapped talent. Looking within a company, Lakuan Smith, DEI Manager at Justworks, believes, “We will start to see more ERGs that are focused on Mental health in the year 2022. At Justworks, we have done a number of Mental health works but we have also gone a step further by using culturally competent practitioners. This move has been very helpful as we try to find more ways to be inclusive.”
6. Increased Partnerships
In 2022, you will see increased partnerships with ERGs to DEI Councils to organizations doing boots-on-the-ground work. You can increase your diversity hiring initiatives by partnering with organizations that support untapped communities. By creating a mutually beneficial partnership, you can attract more untapped talent, while also giving back to these organizations. Kira Lee Hutson, Strategist at Collective DEI Lab, expands on this idea, sharing, “While more and more organizations recognize the importance of DEI, anxiety about getting it wrong is high, especially for executives and people leaders. Enter ERGs, DEI Councils, and internal thought leaders." But Kira points out an important note, explaining "Increasingly, these groups of individuals are called upon to create and execute on recruiting strategies. These partnerships can be very effective, but they should be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. A burnt-out ERG lead doing work outside their role is not what we’re going for here."
7. Internal Reflection from Leadership
There was an open discussion in 2021 among many company leaders about the role DEI should play within their organizations. A variety of viewpoints were expressed. Some leaders called for their organizations to become anti-racist and other leaders set limits on open dialogue within their companies. What will 2022 bring to the table? A deeper reflection from leadership. Kellie Wagner, Founder & CEO at Collective DEI Lab, shares her hopes for this year, stating she would like to see, “A move away from the business case as the sole driver, and more internal reflection from company leaders on what type of legacy they want to leave behind.” She goes on, “We can no longer ignore that corporate America has an unprecedented influence on what is deemed acceptable in society. At the same time, seeing the fruition of positive impacts on the bottom line takes time, so there have to be other motivators at play to maintain momentum and prioritization of this work."