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Why 2019 can be a pivotal year for Diversity & Inclusion

By John Kostoulas | February 18, 2019 | 0 Comments


The change has been easy to notice: in the last 6 months, the topic of Diversity and Inclusion comes way more often in my client interactions. Clients want to hear about D&I trends and get advice, while the pace of new, focused on D&I, vendors entering the market is considerably faster. My optimist side is now fully awake; can 2019 be a pivotal year for D&I? Let’s take a closer look at three important factors:


Image credit: RedCat digital

1. Organizations now have choice on technologies to help them scale their D&I initiatives

I explained in a recent post the importance of scaling D&I initiatives to reach all levels of the organization, and especially the frontline. The main barrier for this had been the absence (or lack of positioning) of technologies that could make scaling efficient and effective. This seems to have changed a lot recently. In our latest study of D&I technologies in Oct 2018 (“How HCM technologies enable Successful D&I interventions” – Gartner access required), we identified over 50 vendors who actively position their products towards D&I use cases from hiring to compensation, and from learning to performance management. Many new ones are entering the space every month, and an increasing amount of existing vendors starts to understand the importance of the D&I use case for their existing products. So the list will grow a lot this year.

2. Doubling down on D&I initiatives is the best way to address the impact of social polarity in the workplace

Many parts of the world are experiencing political events that have driven (or are the result of) social polarity. Brexit is probably the most striking example, as it is a historic decision for the U.K., with various implications. Emotions are running high, despite the civil and tolerant way British public matters are usually discussed. At the same time, employers are more than ever scrutinized about their tolerance of workplace abuse, discrimination and harassment. The #MeToo movement has triggered several campaigns in the U.K., and many employers are stepping up their efforts to ensure appropriate response, including executive dismissals. As we discuss in our recent research (“The Brexit Impact on Talent and Culture” – Gartner access required), this environment requires CEOs to double down on their D&I efforts. Besides diversity, which typically gets the lion’s share of attention in D&I programs, inclusion activities will be of paramount importance to bring a socially divided workforce back together.

3. The word about the importance of D&I is spreading globally, and action becomes glocal

D&I is no longer a topic for discussion in a handful of countries. It has been elevated to an important topic worldwide, and resonates with CEOs, HR and IT leaders across geographies and cultures, which has particular consequences about the way multinational organizations design their D&I initiatives to become more glocal.  Local cultural awareness is paramount for consistent actualization of D&I across country operations. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to participate as speaker in the upcoming TechHR conference in Singapore on February 28, addressing an Asian audience for the first time. I will be presenting our latest research on how technology can help actualize Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace, and I look forward to get the perspectives of HR and IT leaders regarding the opportunities and challenges around D&I initiatives in Asia.

All these are signs of potential for an exciting year ahead. All these are signs of an exciting year ahead for D&I. Of course, the proof will be that organizations are able to move the needle in their D&I metrics, and in the employee perception, which is often even harder to influence. What do you think? Do you see signs in your own organizations that something is changing?


The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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