February 26, 2024

How DEI will shape the HR departments, culture and strategic direction of next-gen organizations

How DEI will shape the HR departments, culture and strategic direction of next-gen organizations

February 26, 2024

A KSCPA Ignite Blog by:  

Liz Gaume, Director of Membership & Marketing at KSCPA

Contrary to some reports, Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are not going away. They are expanding well beyond the core initiatives of race and gender to encompass areas such as neuro-diversity, religion and primary caregivers. Astute organizations will take note as these paradigms will likely shape the HR departments, culture and strategic direction of next-gen organizations.

Jose Velasco, SAP’s VP of Product Management, is quoted as saying, “The war for talent only exists if we have our peripheral blinders on…take them off and you will see the talent on the edges that you had never seen before”.

If recruitment and/or retention are your problem, DEI is most likely the answer. DEI of the future will address the unique needs, challenges and support needed to meet employees where they are and foster both their personal and professional growth and development. This includes supporting some surprising marginalized groups highlighted below and many more.


According to a recent article by ResumeBuilder.com, 3 in 10 Hiring Managers Say They Avoid Hiring Gen Z Candidates. If pipeline issues are a critical problem in the accounting industry, can we afford to overlook this group? Hopefully, as a profession, we support developing their potential. Here are their key findings:

  • 31% of hiring managers say they avoid hiring Gen Zers and would prefer to hire older workers
  • Hiring managers say during the recruiting process Gen Zers ask for too much money (42%), lack communication skills (39%), and don’t seem engaged (33%)
  • During interviews, hiring managers have found Gen Z candidates don’t dress appropriately (58%) and struggle with eye contact (57%)
  • Hiring managers also say Gen Zers exhibit entitlement (60%) and are too difficult to manage (26%)
  • 30% of hiring managers say they’ve had to fire a Gen Zer within a month of their start date


Why Are the Top Finance & Accountancy Firms Hiring People With Autism? is a recent article published by Renaix. Neuro-diverse individuals are a perfect fit for the business world, particularly the accounting sector. The skills they excel at can be a valuable resource given a supportive environment that understands their unique needs. According to the article, there are three key strategies accounting firms could implement to support the neuro-divergent community:

  • Prioritize adaptable communication.
  • Use ‘work sample’ tests.
  • Prioritize feedback!


There is no denying that there are severely underrepresented groups within the accounting sector based on race and socio-economic status. It is up to the profession and decision-makers within the profession to build pathways for these groups so they see accounting as not only a secure and stable future, but a welcoming one. Partnering with organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, that have a profound impact on youth overcoming adversity is a great place to start, whether through mentorship, donating or simply educating yourself on the challenges they face. The impact organizations like this have on education, the juvenile justice system and self-esteem foster brighter futures for these youth, their families, employers and communities. The plethora of resources they provide to support everyone involved in their program shows their level of commitment and dedication to being a champion in this space.


Religious considerations are also on the rise, as highlighted in a Bloomberg Law article. Companies Embrace Religion as New Facet of Diversity Efforts suggests an increase in employee resource groups (ERGs) and employers incorporating religion into their DEI planning. This could be to support employees or to circumvent the claims of religious discrimination in the workplace, which the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported rose from 2,111 complaints in 2021 to 14,000 in 2022. Either way, it is a trend to stay abreast of and consider in creating a holistic DEI strategy that helps employees feel valued and accepted.


One Digital states in their article Strategies for Supporting Caregivers in the Workplace, “A staggering 55% of employees have left, adjusted their work, or want to due to the stress of balancing work and caregiving. Even more, almost all caregivers have difficulty performing tasks outside of work ultimately costing companies up to $38 billion in lost productivity, absenteeism, and retention. Caregiving has also significantly impacted mental health with 92% of caregivers feeling stressed with 50% experiencing depression.” Calm.Business expects this issue to become even more prevalent, as outlined in their article Employee Caregivers Need More Support from Their Employers:

By recognizing the unique challenges and perspectives of groups like those above, organizations can create a more welcoming and supportive work environment for all employees.

A crucial aspect of attracting and retaining these diverse groups is offering employee benefits packages that take into consideration the wide array of employee needs. Providing benefits such as flexible work arrangements, mental health resources, caregiver support, and religious accommodations can help attract and retain employees from different backgrounds. These benefits not only demonstrate a company's commitment to DEI but also contribute to the overall well-being, productivity and retention of its workforce.

One Digital’s article 5 Excellent Benefits to Offer Employees in 2024 outlines five innovative benefits trends that can act as powerful differentiators for companies that want to maintain an edge in recruiting and retention:

  1. 100% Health Plans
  2. Expanded Voluntary Benefits
  3. Holistic Leave for Caregivers
  4. A Scientific Approach to Benefits
  5. Personalization and Malleability

This not only helps in attracting top talent from diverse backgrounds but also ensures that all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. Ultimately, investing in DEI initiatives and employee benefits reflects a company's commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Staff | Liz Gaume
Liz is responsible for Membership recruitment, cultivation and retention. She works with chapters, peer groups and other engagement efforts to create KSCPA synergy. Liz coordinates accounting career development activities to connect with high school and college students, CPA candidates and young professionals. In addition, she handles all the marketing, public relations and communications to both inform and promote the achievements of KSCPA members internally and externally. Sponsorship opportunities are also part of her role in supporting KSCPA, its mission and our members through value-added products, services and learning opportunities. Liz graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in business administration in marketing and joined the KSCPA Team in 2020.

The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs, Copyright 2024.




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