Today the results of UKI research have been announced, highlighting that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) remain a priority, despite changing macroeconomic conditions creating uncertainty.

Focused on understanding the motivations, activities and progress behind DEI, Workday, Inc. conducted a survey of 2,600 global business leaders — including UKI CEOs and leaders from HR, finance, IT and sales—revealing that 87% of UKI respondents had increased DEI as a priority in the past year, with 83% of organisations having a budget for DEI.

Commitment remains high for the majority of UKI organisations. 59% of respondents said that the main source of pressure for implementing DEI initiatives is internal, while 46% said business leaders and employees are equally driving initiatives.

Some of the key reasons why UKI respondents support DEI in this year’s survey include:

  • Positively impacting business success and results, with the UKI being the highest of all European countries surveyed (45%).
  • Improved employee engagement (41%) and staff well-being (44%).
  • Attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce (52%).

Daniela Porr, principal solutions marketing lead at Workday, commented:

The results of the survey are encouraging for DEI efforts in 2024. However, if UKI businesses are to develop a more mature approach, there is still work to be done in forming nuanced DEI strategies and recognising the impact of AI on these goals.

Daniela Porr, principal solutions marketing lead at Workday

AI and ML Technologies Are Having an Impact

Technology plays a critical role in enabling diversity, equity, and inclusion. The research shows a strong correlation between strategic maturity, technology adoption, and a robust DEI programme.

The areas that have seen the biggest positive impact for UKI respondents are sentiment survey and promotion discussions, with 95% and 91% of respondents respectively, reporting that AI and other technologies have improved results across the board. Thus showing the positive role AI and ML can play in the success of DEI initiatives with organisations turning to technology to help paint a more nuanced picture of the employee experience and development.

AI is also boosting the ability for businesses to understand the skills and capabilities of their entire workforce, which can both drive employee mobility and diversify talent pools.

Leadership Commitment Drives DEI

While organisational commitment remains high, the research suggests improving the use of benchmarking to create more accountability and provide an accurate measure of progress, and embrace shared ownership as a path to strategic success.

There is a huge opportunity for UKI companies to use data and technology to enhance their DEI commitment. Just over three in five (62%) have made progress, or are using a strategic approach to DEI currently, and 40% haven’t started yet, indicating we have some way to go to achieve strategic maturity. There is good reason to suspect the ability to implement such an effective approach to DEI hinges on an organisation’s capability to foster joint responsibility and model DEI goals from the top down.

AI can be a key driver here. However, it is vital for businesses to consider how to use AI in a responsible and transparent way. Ashleigh Ainsley, co-founder at Colorintech, noted:

When leveraging these technologies, organisations must consciously find ways to build trust in their workplace so employees know how any AI-powered technologies will be used, and ultimately, how they will benefit from them. Only once trust is built can the positive impact of AI be realised.

Ashleigh Ainsley, co-founder at Colorintech

Continued DEI Success in 2024

Recognising and embracing diversity in all its manifestations is key to a successful business. From diverse perspectives and lived experiences to divergent thinking and ideation, our ability to celebrate and leverage our diversity is essential.

Download the full global report for the latest insights on how organisations are supporting DEI and the challenges they face, and what they’re doing to embrace a more strategic approach.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.