Workday's DEI survey: AI makes inroads and has biggest positive impact on performance development

  • DEI priority among development Dutch HR professionals has increased over the past year, and 81 percent have a DEI budget
  • Research reveals a promising look at the positive role technology and AI can play in DEI success

Workday, Inc., a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, announces the results of a survey showing that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) remains a priority despite changing macroeconomic conditions that create uncertainty.

The survey was commissioned by Workday and conducted by Sapio Research in late 2023 among 2,600 HR professionals and business leaders from 19 countries responsible for diversity initiatives within their organizations. The survey focused on understanding motivations, activities and progress aroundDEI. It found that 78 percent of respondents prioritized DEI more in the past year, with 85 percent of organizations having a budget for DEI. For the Netherlands, these percentages are 77 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

For most organizations, commitment to DEI remains high. 66 percent of respondents in the Netherlands say the pressure for implementing DEI initiatives comes from within the organization itself, with 44 percent indicating that leaders drive these initiatives the most. Also, 67 percent of Dutch respondents say there has been increased investment in official DEI roles within the organization. Investment in DEI remains the same (46 percent) or is increasing (41 percent) according to Dutch professionals.

Some of the top reasons for HR professionals in the Benelux to support DEI are:

  • Positive impact on business success and results (27%)
  • Improved employee engagement (34%) and staff well-being (45% globally)
  • Attract and recruit a diverse workforce (53%)

AI and ML technologies are having an impact
Technology plays a crucial role in enabling DEI. The survey shows a strong correlation between strategic maturity, technology adoption and a robust DEI programme. When using AI and other technologies to mitigate bias, Dutch respondents see the greatest positive impact on performance development (80 per cent), complaints and disciplinary issues (79 per cent) and sentiment analysis (76 per cent).

This shows the positive role AI and ML can play in the success of DEI initiatives, with organisations turning to technology to paint a more nuanced picture of the employee experience.

Leadership engagement drives DEI
While organisational engagement remains high, the research suggests improving the use of benchmarking to create more accountability and provide accurate measurement of progress, and embracing shared ownership as a path to strategic success.

The results are encouraging for DEI efforts in 2024. But if organisations want to develop a more mature approach, there is still work to be done. For instance, 45 per cent say Dutch companies mainly lack strategy to grow DEI to the next stage.

"DEI has been in the spotlight as a business priority since 2020. Recent economic challenges and reports of budget and staff reductions at some notable organisations could lead many to believe that this is the beginning of the end for DEI. But although DEI faced challenges in 2023, the survey shows that the importance of DEI has only increased over the past 12 months, with more organisations also indicating they have budgets for it. For the majority of organisations, this commitment to DEI is even intrinsically motivated," said Hette Mollema, vice president, Benelux, Workday.

"All this bodes well for DEI efforts in 2024. But to develop a more mature approach, organisations need to focus on a number of key areas, including collecting more nuanced DEI data, the impact of AI and machine learning (ML), and transitioning to a more strategic approach.

Sustained DEI success in 2024
Recognising and embracing diversity in all its manifestations is essential for a successful business. From diverse perspectives and experiences to diverse mindsets and ideas, our ability to celebrate and leverage our diversity is essential.

Download the full report for the latest insights on how organisations are supporting DEI and the challenges they face, and what they are doing to embrace a more strategic approach.

Additional information
The survey was conducted by Sapio Research and Workday among 2,600 HR professionals and business leaders with influence on DEI development in their organisations in 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in September 2023 via an e-mail invitation and an online survey.

About Workday
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, helping customers adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing world. Workday applications for financial management, development, human resources, planning, cost management and analytics are developed with artificial intelligence and machine learning at their core. In doing so, Workday helps organisations around the world embrace the future of work. Workday is used globally by more than 10,000 organisations across industries - from mid-sized companies to more than 50 per cent of Fortune 500 companies. For more information, visit

© 2023 Workday, Inc. All rights reserved. Workday and the Workday logo are registered trademarks of Workday, Inc. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered development trademarks of their respective owners.

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