Data Drop: The State of DEI, Future of Work and More

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David Rice

Data drop

It’s the end of the year and that means year end reports. Lots and lots of data is now on offer as companies survey employees and take a look back at 2020. Solution providers, researchers and data analytics firms are all doing the same thing, meaning a fair amount of data is flooding my inbox.

In today’s data drop, we’re going to take a closer look at how some of the most important trends of 2020 are set to continue influencing HR decisions and priorities in 2021.


It’s been an incredible and trying year in the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion. Coming into 2020, many companies had slashed D&I budgets and were aligning their priorities elsewhere. Like every other plan HR had for 2020, that plan went out the window and as you might expect, that same mistake is not going to be repeated, with 90% of companies reporting that they are set to make DE&I a top priority in 2021.

A survey from Reflektive asked more than 500 HR professionals and business leaders about the tactics they’re using for their D&I programs and what they’re doing to plan for the future. The findings include:

  • 82% like the changes they made to their performance evaluations this year and expect them to continue into 2021
  • Improving workplace culture (29%) was the highest-priority DEI initiative, followed by ensuring advancement opportunities for employees from underrepresented groups (14%) and improving employee sentiment on inclusion (13%)
  • The most common activity to promote DEI was inclusion training (adopted by 42% of respondents).

Future of Work Perceptions

Remote work technology company, Citrix, recently released its Talent Accelerator study in which they surveyed 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors across the U.S. An overwhelming number of respondents felt that flexible work models, technology, diversity, equity and inclusion and learning and development will fuel developments around the future of work.

Respondents also indicated that workers intended to seek opportunities with companies that aim to provide those things to help employees maintain work-life balance and professional development. HR did not always echo the sentiments of workers, however. The findings include:

  • 83% of workers predict that, in response to global skilled talent shortage, companies will leverage flexible work models to reach out to candidates no matter where they live. However, only 66% of HR directors feel the same.
  • 69% of workers say they are more productive when they feel their employer trusts them to get the job done without monitoring their progress, while 51% of HR directors think that their organization would be more productive if their employer took this stance.
  • 83% of employees and 69 % of HR directors think that workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time.
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More Future of Work

Customer support company Sykes recently surveyed full-time U.S. workers about everything from their current remote work life to how they do or don't use automation in their job and their post-COVID-19 workforce expectations.

The findings were released as part of their 2020 Future of Work survey. Findings include:

  • Of those respondents who have the choice to work from home permanently if they wish to, 61% say they’d like to move
  • Of those respondents currently working from home due to the pandemic, 86% believe U.S. employers will be more understanding and flexible regarding family obligations post-pandemic
  • When asked if the idea of working with automation technologies interests them, 78% of all respondents said yes — they believe they could be even more effective in their work if they were assisted by some automation technologies
  • 86% of all respondents believe the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to an acceleration of automated workplace technologies in 2021
  • 77% of all respondents say that if they were looking for a new job, a company investing in new automation technologies would make them more likely to apply there.

Stress is High for the Holidays

The holidays are here and while we all need a bit of feel good energy right about now, the current state of the world is effecting people’s ability to enjoy the season the way they usually would. A recent survey from employee experience company Limeade shows that employees have been on a journey over the last nine months that is impacting their ability to enjoy the holiday season and remain engaged with their work going into the New Year.

Since March:

  • 49% of employees reported less energy for non-work activities
  • 42% said they’ve had less interest in socializing with friends
  • 42% had more trouble sleeping at night
  • 33% reported more alcohol or substance use than usual
  • 54% of respondents also listed “fear of getting sick” as the most stressful aspect of their job.