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Over recent years, the spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) has intensified across corporate landscapes nationwide. However, amidst this heightened awareness, notable shifts have emerged, challenging the prioritization of DEI initiatives and efforts to foster an inclusive workplace culture. By November 2023, DEIB-related job postings dropped 23% year over year contrasting previous years when postings increased by 30%. This trend underscores a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘DEIB fatigue,’ wherein organizations retract from formal efforts to drive diversity and cultivate inclusivity throughout the workplace.

A portion of the observed “DEIB fatigue” can be attributed to a transition of programming moving away from fostering awareness and understanding towards a cycle of blame and shame. Instead of nurturing connections and forging pathways for the advancement of underrepresented groups, some efforts have regrettably become polarized and fragmented. Furthermore, when DEI initiatives are siloed, considerable tension often arises, undermining the overarching business benefits derived from cultivating a culture where individuals feel safe, secure, supported, and interconnected, thereby fostering a climate of trust. 

Getting back to the foundation of DEIB

The process of reframing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) entails a return to the fundamental principles underpinning the core concept, a return to the WHY. In today’s global economy and blended hybrid work environment with a workforce that comprises five distinct generations with unique desires, needs, lifestyles, perspectives, motivations, and lived experiences – diversity work is essential to navigating human differences. Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging embody the principles of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and the full integration of every individual, fostering a culture and environment where all have the opportunity to contribute and thrive. Furthermore, there continues to be increasing regulatory oversight at both state and federal levels pertaining to recruitment, outreach efforts, and the use of AI, as well as the implementation of new measures aimed at enhancing pay transparency and pay equity.

I foresee the progression of DEIB moving towards what I term “inclusive design,” a future where DEIB efforts are seamlessly integrated into everyday practices. This entails incorporating DEIB considerations into various daily operations, including meetings, formal and informal training sessions, professional development, HR practices, and more. DEIB is an underlying principle not a siloed pillar. Isolated DEIB initiatives often lack sustainability, as they are contingent upon fluctuating funding and leadership dynamics. In contrast, adopting an inclusive design approach enables organizations to embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) principles seamlessly into their ways of work. This strategic integration not only drives meaningful and lasting impact but by prioritizing inclusive design, organizations ensure that DEIB becomes an intrinsic element of their workplace culture.

Enhance DEIB Initiatives 

To achieve effective integration, companies must align DEIB principles with the complex people challenges they aim to solve. Where is your organization’s focus or need? Is it on hiring practices, talent development, cultivating new skills, performance management, employee engagement, or reducing turnover rates? Incorporating DEIB principles into these areas can prove instrumental in building comprehensive solutions.

Here are some considerations businesses can use to reframe and revitalize DEIB in their workplace.

A notable statistic reveals that one in five new hires is unlikely to recommend an employer due to a poor onboarding experience, underscoring the critical need to foster a sense of belonging from the outset. Additionally, 33% of new hires leave their company within the first six months. While the concept of belonging is frequently discussed broadly, its practical application in the day-to-day experiences of new employees is paramount. Elements of being welcomed, included, supported, and connected, should permeate daily interactions within the organization. To achieve this, companies must ensure ample opportunities for new hires to both be understood and to understand the diverse backgrounds of their colleagues, actively participate in various organizational events, and build meaningful connections across the company. By embedding simple practices into the onboarding process, companies significantly enhance the likelihood of new employees feeling a strong sense of belonging and commitment to the company.


Organizations must prioritize ensuring that their promotion practices are equitable, and grounded in a genuine understanding of how employees advance within the company. This requires a thorough review of both formal and informal networks, relationships, and working processes that impact growth opportunities. By diligently identifying and rectifying any underlying biases inherent in these processes, companies can craft promotion pathways that foster inclusivity and are readily accessible to all qualified individuals. Technology can also be a great tool for aggregating quantitative and qualitative data for fairness and equity.


With the workforce continuing to evolve and skills changing rapidly, training stands as another crucial cornerstone of organizational success. Typically, various topics are often tailored to meet unique organizational needs. What is equally as important as content is the way training is delivered supporting differing learning styles through education, experience, and exposure. Evolving training delivery styles are shifting from conventional lecture formats towards dynamic real-time applications through small groups, learning teams or on-demand microlearning modules. This evolution encompasses new methods to be more interactive and actionable, targeting specific skills and competencies, complemented by comprehensive toolkits and resources that augment the learning process. Such approaches impact daily behaviors and habits significantly and support an inclusive culture of learning and development. 


Evaluating engagement surveys is essential for understanding the cultural dynamics of inclusivity and trust within the organization. Regularly asking targeted questions related to the diversity and inclusiveness of an organization, can provide valuable insights into the state of the culture and impact of DEIB efforts. Additionally, finding new ways to incorporate employee feedback, such as group discussions or roundtables, can help identify what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvement. These feedback mechanisms are critical for continually refining strategies and ensuring they remain aligned with the organization’s goals and people needs.

Recruitment and Hiring

In light of escalating global talent scarcity, projected to exceed 80 million unfilled positions by the decade’s end, leveraging all facets of the talent market becomes an imperative for companies. With the average time-to-fill for vacancies now surpassing 40 days across industries, expanding outreach, and harnessing innovative technologies becomes an impactful differentiator to uncover hidden talent pools and optimize recruitment efforts.

In today’s contemporary market, where two-thirds of candidates are passive, adapting to meet candidates where they are at and leveraging trusted advisors and community partners to bolster recruitment initiatives is essential for success. Tailoring organizational messaging and benefits through social channels and formal job descriptions is important in today’s competitive market in order to resonate effectively with various talent pools.

The hiring process serves as the initial touchpoint with future employees. It is critical to review the application, interview, and selection procedures, ensuring equity at every stage. A general guideline suggests that any demographic variances exceeding 20% in the recruitment or hiring process might mean you are losing out on top talent. This signals a need for process reevaluation and integration of inclusive design principles for greater effectiveness.

By focusing on targeted areas such as hiring, onboarding promotion, and training, organizations can enhance the integration of DEIB principles with tangible outcomes.

Inclusive leadership 

Now, more than ever, in today’s world of uncertainty and complexity the importance and influence of inclusive leadership is amplifying.

Highlighted are six critical skills organizations and leaders should develop to meet the needs of their workforce. 

  1. Listening – Establish outlets and platforms that highlight employee voices and perspectives, providing avenues for all to be heard and ensuring that feedback is not only acknowledged but also actionable.
  2. Adaptability Cultivate a mindset of adaptability, actively embracing new ways of working, connecting, and modes of collaboration, thereby enhancing organizational agility and resilience.
  3. Development Acknowledge the evolving nature and accelerated pace of career trajectories, offering structured pathways for employee growth. Facilitate opportunities for skill enhancement, both formally and informally, enabling, and empowering others to own their career success.
  4. Transparency Embrace organizational transparency as a foundational principle, leveraging vulnerability as a strength to foster connection and trust. Establish systems for disseminating information about the organization, celebrating achievements, while also candidly addressing areas for improvement, thereby nurturing a culture of openness and accountability.
  5. Authenticity Encourage authenticity within the workplace, exemplifying openness, and honesty as leaders. Provide guidance on how to authentically engage with colleagues, take initiative and risk, and navigate failure, supporting an environment where individuals feel empowered to express themselves and innovate. 
  6. Trust and Inclusivity Foster a culture of trust and inclusivity by consistently demonstrating reliability and accountability. Uphold commitments and follow through on actions and goals, while actively involving diverse perspectives in decision-making processes, ensuring that everyone feels valued and included in the organizational journey.


The Future of DEI in 2024

When envisioning the future of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in the workplace, DEIB initiatives must be intricately linked with the overarching priorities and objectives of the organization. Organizations must understand and define their distinctive and compelling “DEIB why,” along with the associated benefits, rather than relying on general assumptions or succumbing to external stakeholder pressures when devising programs. Additionally, a shift is expected from isolated initiatives toward a collaborative, deliberate, cross-functional approach aimed at propelling business performance and growth through DEIB integration.

If you want to learn more about diversifying your workforce, reframing goals and actions of your organization, and embedding DEIB into your people processes to create an inclusive work environment, visit our library of resources or reach out to us at Circa today!


Christopher Rowland
Executive Director of DEIB Strategy

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