19 October 2021

Creating a DEIB Culture: The Skills Every Employee Needs

Stacia Garr
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst
Priyanka Mehrotra
Research Lead


  • Orgs that score high on RedThread’s DEIB Index are more likely to see positive individual employee and organizational outcomes.
  • Top DEIB orgs put significant emphasis on a combination of both action-taking and passive skills.
  • At top DEIB orgs, calculated risk-taking and nonverbal communication skills are important for all employee populations, but besides those, different employee populations need to focus on different skills sets
  • Thanks to Degreed for sponsoring this research

Corporate leaders are focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) like never before. The twin pandemics of the last 18 months—the COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice pandemic—have heightened leaders’ awareness of the extent to which diverse populations have different experiences in the workplace and marketplace. As a result, the expectations of 3 important stakeholders – customers, employees, and investors – have changed.

A significant increase in focus on DEIB stems from this change in expectations and we can see orgs making marked investments in DEIB. Our team has recently spent a lot of time trying to understand novel opportunities on which orgs can focus their DEIB efforts. Enter skills.

Through this report we have tried to answer 3 questions as they relate to skills for DEIB:

  • What skills contribute to DEIB, specifically in fostering diversity, enabling people to feel included, and building a culture of belonging in the workplace?
  • How those skills might vary, depending on factors such as an employee’s level, role, diversity characteristics, etc.?
  • What can orgs do to develop and leverage these skills, including specific approaches and modalities?

This study is a culmination of 6 months of qualitative and quantitative research which involved a literature review of more than 60 articles, conversations with more than 100 people, and a comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 people.

Stacia Garr
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst

Stacia is a Co-founder and Principal Analyst for RedThread Research and focuses on employee engagement/experience, leadership, DE&I, people analytics, and HR technology. A frequent speaker and writer, her work has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal as well as in numerous HR trade publications. She has been listed as a Top 100 influencer in HR Technology and in D&I. Stacia has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

Priyanka Mehrotra
Research Lead at RedThread Research

Priyanka Mehrotra is a Research Lead at RedThread Research. Before joining the company in 2018, she was part of the research team at Bersin by Deloitte where she worked on talent management, D&I, and people analytics as well as conducted research and contributed content for Bersin’s Mid-market study. Prior to Bersin by Deloitte, Priyanka worked at several non-profits, think-tanks, and international organizations where she published and co-authored several articles.


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