Top 11 Predictions That We See Impacting HR and Talent For 2017 – Prediction 9


Research Report Bersin by Deloitte


Diversity, inclusion, and the removal of unconscious bias will become CEO-level issues in 2017. New tools are making this problem easier to diagnose and address.


Prediction 9: Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias Will Become a Top Priority

The topic of diversity has been on the HR agenda for decades. Once considered a compliance program, it has now become a business strategy. In fact, CEOs and company brands are now impacted by an organization’s gender and racial diversity; the topic of unconscious bias has become front of mind; and companies like Google42 and Facebook43 are now sharing their internal tools to help others to deal with the issue. Airbnb posted a manifesto44 on the topic, focusing on hosts as well as their internal operations.

This topic has risen in importance because of the political climate in which we live. Our employees and leaders are bombarded by these issues, and frankly many of them are worried.

Several of our clients have asked us for help in developing new communication tools to aid managers and employees in explaining these issues. Companies now put their hiring metrics and diversity measures on their websites; some countries (Australia, for example) now require public companies to disclose various diversity numbers.

In the U.S., more than 55 percent of college graduates are now women, so the issues of gender pay parity, and women in engineering and leadership are top of mind. All of our research has now proven that diverse teams, an inclusive environment, and gender equality in pay and leadership actually lead to higher-performing companies.45 A new book illustrates further why gender, racial, and age diversity results in higher levels of innovation, trust, and collaboration.46

Not only is the topic timely and relevant today, but also the tools to measure and expose issues of inclusion are starting to become mainstream. New software from SuccessFactors47 now detects bias in job descriptions, interview forms, and other employment-related programs. AI software from HireVue can now detect the age and race of all job candidates from video interviews, and then point out hiring and staffing bias among different managers or teams.48 Deloitte Australia is now piloting a tool to detect unconscious bias in behavior and other programs, and has now published ways to “nudge” people to be less biased in their people decisions.49

In 2017, HR organizations need to put this topic high on the agenda—and make sure that your organization is capturing the right information, sharing it formally, and developing a holistic inclusion and diversity program which touches all of your talent practices.

Our High-Impact Talent Management research, which included more than 1,000 companies around the world, found that “building a culture of inclusion” is one of the very top practices that drive financial business outcomes among all of the HR practices we studied.50 Unfortunately, when we assessed the level of sophistication of most companies this area, 70 percent were rated at maturity Levels 1 or 2, implying that we all have a lot of work to do.

Figure 16 - The Talent Management Model - Sources by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.


Interestingly, if you look at the financial performance of these “highly inclusive” companies, it stands out clearly. Our research shows that most “highly inclusive organizations”:51

  • Generate 2.3 times more cashflow per employee
  • Generate 1.4 times more revenue
  • Rate themselves 170 percent better at innovation
  • Are 180 percent better in their ability to adapt to change
  • Are 120 percent more capable of meeting financial targets

So the bottom line is pretty simple—building an end-to-end inclusion focus (including sourcing, hiring, assessment, development, leadership selection, compensation, and career progression) is just good business.


Other Predictions:

Prediction 1: Organizational Design Will Be Challenged Everywhere
Prediction 2: Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities
Prediction 3: Real-Time Feedback and Analytics Will Explode in Maturity
Prediction 4: A New Generation of Performance Management Tools Will Emerge
Prediction 5: A Focus on “Human Performance” and Wellbeing Will Become a Critical Part of HR, Talent, and Leadership 
Prediction 6: Focus on Employee Experience Will Overcome Process Design in HR
Prediction 7: Digital HR and Learning Will Help Us to Reinvent L&D and HR Systems
Prediction 8: The Leadership Market Will Start a Steady Process of Reinvention
Prediction 10: The L&D Function Will Continue to Struggle
Prediction 11: The Future of Work Is Here and HR Is in the Hot Seat


  • High-Impact Talent Management: The New Talent Management Maturity Model , Bersin by Deloitte / Stacia Sherman Garr and Candace Atamanik, 2015.

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