Breaking Barriers: The Future of Inclusion and Diversity in 2024

May 23, 2024 | Maureen Frank

The world has been buzzing with inclusion and diversity conversations, and for good reason. Recent global events have shown that embracing diversity isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s essential. Leaders everywhere are realizing that they can no longer stick to a one-dimensional view of who can succeed. Inclusion has become career-critical, not just on the surface but deeply embedded in daily operations.

Why This Matters

Inclusion and diversity aren’t just buzzwords. They’re about creating environments where everyone feels valued and can contribute their best. When leaders genuinely commit to these principles, it reflects in every aspect of the organization, from innovation to employee engagement. But change isn’t easy. The practices of the past are deeply entrenched, and shifting them requires a monumental personal effort. Training alone won’t cut it. It demands a commitment to ongoing learning and unlearning.

The Waves Keep Rolling In

Recent movements and events have highlighted the urgent need for genuine inclusion:

  • Me Too: This movement exposed the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault, urging organizations to take a stand.
  • The Voice in Parliament: Calls for better representation and inclusion in governance.
  • Black Lives Matter: A global reckoning with systemic racism.
  • Mental Health Crisis: Highlighting how a lack of belonging, especially when working remotely, affects mental health.
  • Sexual Harassment Claims: Women marching and demanding change.
  • Leadership Accountability: Senior leaders stepping down due to unacceptable statements, showing the power of collective action against non-inclusion.
  • Workforce Expectations: According to GoodHire, 81% of workers would leave their job if their employer lacked a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), while 54% would take a pay cut to improve DE&I at work.

These waves signify that the train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. Being a part-time champion of inclusion and diversity is no longer acceptable. Leaders must fully commit or risk slipping up.

The Subtle Villains

Often, the biggest barriers to inclusion and diversity are not overtly hostile leaders but those who nod along without taking real action. These leaders might:

  • Show subtle resistance without realizing it.
  • Play both sides depending on their audience.
  • Prioritize other business goals over inclusion.
  • Have an impressive-sounding inclusion script but fail to walk the walk.

At Emberin, with 18 years in the inclusion and diversity trenches, we’ve seen and faced this resistance. Here’s a closer look at the biggest trends in inclusion and diversity globally right now.

1. Trust in Leadership Commitment

Employees are skeptical about leaders’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s time for leaders to truly step up. We recommend our Inclusive Leadership Commitment Challenge to help leaders make genuine commitments.

2. All In or Nothing

Being a ‘part-time’ supporter when it suits is no longer enough. Full commitment is required. This means re-installing new habits of being inclusive in daily interactions. This is the approach we take on our Inclusion Habits Journey for leaders (including a version for Frontline Leaders)

3. Scrutinized Sweeping Actions

Knee-jerk reactions and PR statements about inclusion and diversity are increasingly being scrutinized. Real change involves embedding inclusive practices throughout the organization. Learn more about how we can help with our Emberin Programs.

4. Educate Your HR Team

Recent research by Josh Bersin shows that educating the entire HR team, not just inclusion and diversity specialists, is key. Organizations with strong HR capabilities in DE&I see outstanding results.

5. The Business Case

The business case for diversity is undeniable. Over 200 studies show that diversity leads to greater innovation, customer service, employee engagement, and growth. Leaders get it, but they need practical guidance on the ‘how’. Our Inclusive Leadership Program can help.

6. Perceived Inclusivity

Most leaders overestimate their inclusivity. Just because they feel included doesn’t mean their team does. Real inclusivity takes more than asking—it requires deep, ongoing engagement.

7. Inclusion and Belonging

Organizations are increasingly talking about inclusion and belonging. However, their metrics often focus on diversity. Genuine inclusion requires a shift in focus. Our Inclusion Programs can help make this shift.

8. Accountability

Passion isn’t the issue; accountability is. Many companies play the numbers game without truly integrating DEI into their business strategy. We can help with strategies to hold leaders accountable through our Leadership Programs.

9. Talent Supply Chain

Inclusion and diversity must permeate the entire talent supply chain, from hiring to promotion and growth. A hiring-only approach doesn’t solve diversity issues. Our Inclusive Talent Management Program addresses this.

10. CEO and Executive Coaching

Leading on inclusion and diversity isn’t intuitive. Executives need ongoing coaching to lead effectively. Our Inclusive Culture Narrative process provide the support they need.


The message is clear: it’s time to change your approach to inclusion and diversity. Passionate individuals must be willing to shift direction and embrace new strategies. At Emberin, we’re here to support you on this journey.

For more resources and support, visit our website and explore the various programs and services we offer to help embed inclusion and diversity into your organization’s DNA. Let’s move forward together towards a more inclusive and diverse future.

Is this conversation helpful so far?

Related Posts