EVERFI Content Team

Top 10 Workplace Trends for Thriving Work Environments 

HR leaders have been faced with a myriad of challenges as workplaces have been impacted by not only the pandemic, but also shifts in employees work preferences, demands for more work-life balance, a declining economy, global competition, and social unrest. These challenges are taking a toll on the wellbeing of employees everywhere—and on HR professionals too. They are also prompting new trends in workplace dynamics and practices. 

We recently hosted a discussion with HR Dive, human resources executive Kristin Durney, and EVERFI’s SVP of Workplace Culture Elizabeth Bille, to discuss the Top 10 Workplace Trends For a Thriving Work Environment 

Here’s a recap of the top 10 workplace trends discussed by the panel, with some key takeaways for HR leaders in three main categories:  

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Leadership. 
  • Safety, and well-being. 

As Elizabeth Bille noted in the webinar, all of these trends are interconnected, so organizational progress in one area will benefit the others. Addressing these trends is also critical for business success. That represents both challenge and opportunity for HR leaders who have seen their roles and responsibilities elevated over the past few years.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been an area of focus for HR leaders that was further fueled by George Floyd’s murder and related social unrest in May 2020. Companies have taken multiple steps to address these issues including hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs), offering various types of training programs, focusing on inclusion and, in some cases, adding “B” for belonging into the mix—DEIB.  

While there’s still important work to be done around ensuring that women and people of color (POC) have equal opportunities and a voice in the workplace, there are some other areas of focus that demand our attention. 

     1. Addressing generational gaps. 

Addressing generational gaps is one. SHRM has reported that age is a critical element that is overlooked by a majority of companies as they implement DEI programs. SHRM also points to a 2022 survey by AARP indicating that about “93 percent of older employees say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.” It is an issue that spans every stage of the employee lifecycle from hiring to termination. Combatting bias against aging workers while also leveraging their skills and experience and enabling cross-generational learning and collaboration should be an area of focus to add to the mix. 

     2. Broadening diversity efforts. 

According to Bille, organizations should consider reviewing their DEI programs to see—who is not included here who also should be?  Like age, another overlooked demographic in DEI efforts are employees with disabilities. For example, awareness is increasing about the unique workplace challenges faced by neurodiverse employees.  

Antisemitism is also a troubling trend that needs to be addressed. In fact, 1 in 4 hiring managers said in a recent survey that they are less likely to hire Jewish applicants.  

It’s important for organizations to be alert to the various segments of their employee population who may be experiencing bias or disparate treatment—or even harassment.  

     3. Shifting the focus to equity. 

Equity, the “E” in DEI, has traditionally appeared between diversity and inclusion.  An alternative approach is moving equity to the front of the list. Organizations who adopt this approach take the position that first there is a need to ensure that they are being equitable, and then they can look at diversity and inclusion together as they move forward with their programs and initiatives. 

Key Takeaways for HR Leaders: 

  • Review DEI strategies and programs to identify groups that may be overlooked.  
  • Proactively take steps to include multiple generations, neurodiverse employees, and other employees in DEI efforts and address harmful biases and discrimination, such as Antisemitism.  
  • Track the lifespan of your DEI (or EDI) programs—across every stage of the employee life cycle. It’s not just about hiring; it’s also important to focus on other critical events like promotions, performance evaluation, discipline, termination, etc. 
  • Introduce—and participate in—training efforts. Set the tone from the top and ensure that senior leadership team members are modeling the behaviors they wish to see. 


Leaders obviously have a significant impact on employee engagement, success, productivity, and retention. The sudden increase in hybrid and remote work, increased expectations around DEI and mental health, and tough economic conditions have increased the demands and challenges that leaders face. Organizations need to ensure that they are hiring, training, and nurturing leaders to meet evolving organizational—and employee—needs.  

     4. Preparing the (remote) inclusive leader. 

Leading remotely comes with a new set of challenges because leaders don’t have the ongoing “line of sight” of employees that they have in traditional work settings. This means they need to be more mindful about engaging employees—not just listening to them, but also knowing how to draw them in—how to ask the right questions, how to build trust, how to be transparent in communications. Leaders also must take extra care to be inclusive in remote settings. They should take care to include employees with different perspectives in meetings and proactively solicit input from all. Consulting with people that are outside their own circles to get alternative points of view on an issue can improve decision-making.  to ensure This can be done by inviting input through conservations or surveys, with a special focus on remote employees. 

      5. Meeting the demand for emotional intelligence. 

Employees who have managers with high emotional intelligence (EQ) are four times less likely to leave their organizations according to a Gallup study based on input from two million workers around the globe. Emotional intelligence requires self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, empathy, and relationship management.  These skills are especially critical today, given the central role managers and leaders play in supporting diverse and inclusive work environments and employee mental health.  

     6. Equipping leaders with critical skills. 

Leaders who use inclusive leadership techniques are more likely to report that their teams are high performing, make high-quality decisions, and behave collaboratively. Organizations need to be proactive in ensuring that leaders have the skills needed  to lead inclusively and respond with empathy and emotional intelligence to employee challenges. These are skills that should not be assumed, but that should be assessed for when hiring and promoting managers—and trained for through training, workshops, one-on-one coaching, and mentoring. 

Key Takeaways for HR Leaders: 

  • Train leaders on action-oriented skills that they can use to manage, motivate, and connect with their teams. 
  • Look for unexpected champions internally who can assist in these efforts—not just the CHRO or CDO, but other champions with these skills who can serve as coaches and role models. 
  • Use data—before and after training—to determine what’s working, and what’s not, and to identify next steps and future initiatives.  

Safety and Wellness 

Stress is rampant and safety concerns are on the rise in organizations of all types, sizes, and geographies.  Incidents of workplace violence continue to lead the news and harassment remains a problem even in new work environments, both of which can undermine employee physical and psychological safety.  

Organizations must recognize and address employee concerns, taking a proactive role to minimize stress and burnout, while sustaining a safe and supportive work environment. 

     7. Putting employees’ mental health first.  

A startling 94% of employees report that they experience stress at work. That’s almost the entire workforce—and managers have taken note. In fact, 98% of managers agree that mental health is having a direct—and negative—impact on their organizations’ bottom lines. Now is the time to prioritize employee mental health. 

     8. Cultivating a “see something, say something” culture. 

To prevent and quickly address behaviors that can harm employee safety and wellbeing, it’s important for organizations to cultivate employees as allies in the quest to identify warning signs and respondents of violence, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace. They are, after all, on the front lines and more likely than leaders and managers to witness these behaviors. In fact, 79% of employees say that they have witnessed harassment or discrimination at work during the past five years—but 77% never took any action.  

     9. Tackle cyber harassment and workplace violence head on. 

Cyber harassment doesn’t just occur among school children—it continues into adult life and is evident in workplaces, especially those where workers are remote. In fact, 25% of respondents to a report from Project Include say that they had experienced an increase in gender-based harassment in remote work environments. Workplace violence is also alarmingly common: about 25% of workers say that there had been at least one incident of workplace violence at their organizations. 

     10. Making difficult conversations easier. 

Take steps to make it safe for employees to share their concerns as well as their state of stress and wellbeing. A simple exercise like a “red, yellow, green” check-in at meetings where employees simply say, without sharing any personal details, whether they are feeling good (green), not so good (yellow) or pretty bad (red). That can help managers both gauge sentiments and identify employees who may need additional support or follow-up—and normalize conversations about wellbeing and the need for support.  

Key Takeaways for HR Leaders: 

  • Educate, practice, and promote allyship at work. Training on bystander intervention techniques and identifying workplace violence risks ensures employees understand the role they can play as allies and arming them with the information, tools, and resources to serve in this role. This can help minimize incidents and support a safe and supportive work environment.  
  • Model wellness strategies as leaders. Leaders can help to support a healthy environment by sharing their own concerns, mental stressors, and need for time off openly—transparency can open the door for employees to seek support. 
  • Create policies and norms that encourage reporting of concerns and warning signs. Checking in regularly with employees—those who are remote and those who are on site—is important to gauge their mental and physical wellbeing.