What's on our minds at Inkling | DEIB and Leadership in the workplace in 2023 | Part 1

To kick off Inkling’s thought leadership for 2023, we’re bringing together insights and perspectives from across our team through a two-part article series, sharing what’s on our minds this year when it comes to DEIB and leadership in the workplace.

In 2023, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and leadership development will remain critical as organisations continue to face a rapidly changing world and economy. In fact, global DEI spending is expected to increase from $9.3 billion in 2022 to $15.4 billion by 2026, according to a market study by Global Industry Analysts.

In Part 1 of the series, Inkling’s  Rashida Lowe, Principal, Client Delivery, Natalie Richardson, Chief Delivery Officer, and Katie James, Manager, Client Delivery, explore intersectionality, the importance of anti-fragility in the workplace, and the role of effective feedback in building high-performance teams.

Our goal is to spark a robust discussion on these critical topics and provide actionable advice for leaders and organisations seeking to enhance DEIB and leadership within their own workplace.

1. Recognising and building awareness around intersectionality in the workplace will continue to be a growing trend in workplaces.

 Rashida Lowe, Principal, Client Delivery

If you are not aware of the term intersectionality, then it’s worth looking up Kimberle Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate who coined it in 1989. Intersectionality refers to “the way overlapping identities – including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation affect how oppression and discrimination are experienced.”

For DEIB practitioners who have been focusing on tackling diversity and inclusion as a standalone e.g. Gender, Race, Disability, LGBTQI, etc. my advice is that it’s time to start thinking about these with intersectionality in mind. Why is this important? Because we cannot assume that a white woman will experience the same barriers as a woman of colour when looking at their career progression as their overall experiences of psychological safety, unconscious bias and belonging in any given workplace will be vastly different. So, by only addressing Gender as the core issue means that we’re missing out on crucial data of the sub-groups that may exist in our underrepresented populations.

Start to address this by disaggregating your data when you survey your business on employee experience and dig a little deeper to understand the unique experiences of these sub-groups. This is the only way to really grasp onto the differing experiences of workplace inclusion.

2. We will see a move from resilience, to creating anti-fragile teams and organisations.

Natalie Richardson. Natalie Richardson, Chief Delivery Offier

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better” – Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, by Taleb Nassim

With the turmoil of the first few years of the decade easing, workplaces are feeling the impact on the individuals, teams and organisations who ‘just got through it’. Australian managers report the highest levels of burnout in the world according to Microsoft’s Work Trends index, and 1 in 3 women considering leaving the workforce, according to McKinsey.

Antifragile teams are bucking this trend, as they continue to adapt, flex, and learn under pressure. Rather than dealing with a workforce that is disillusioned and exhausted, antifragile organisations are thriving as their people, processes and systems harness the extra capacity built into them. They are still efficient, but having built in breathing room means they’ve stayed effective as well.

    • How can you tell if your team is antifragile? Ask these questions:
    • How confident do individuals feel in their capabilities?
    • How motivated are individuals to take on new challenges?
    • How much support do people believe the organisation is willing to give them?
    • How do individuals view challenge and change – is it an inevitable part of life that we learn from, or something to be dealt with?

If your answers are on the lower end of the spectrum, start to strategise how you might build these up to create some energy and momentum.

3. With hybrid workplaces here to stay, feedback skills will be imperative for effective performance management.

.Katie James Katie James, Manager, Client Delivery

Performance management trends are on the rise in 2023 as we continue to adapt and evolve our ways of working in new hybrid workplaces. The question being asked in relation to effective performance management in this new, hybrid environment is how do leaders stay connected with their team and ensure performance objectives are achieved with the reduction of face-to-face interaction?

The answer is feedback.

During 2022, Inkling facilitated many programs for our clients which gave insights into what employees are looking for in terms of performance management, when it comes to hybrid working environments. With the help of specialised diagnostics and 360 reports, we were able to identify that giving and receiving feedback is an area of improvement and demand for our clients and their teams.

Delegation, checking in and feedback are performance management skills that can be utilised effectively to generate high quality outcomes. The secret is to find the right balance that creates accountability in a psychologically safe environment, where the individual feels valued, and a relationship built on trust can develop. Feedback that is shared within this relationship is generally well received and applied with a growth mindset approach.

Similarly, leaders need to create a safe space for their teams to share feedback with them, to ensure a learning and growth environment is created for all. Below are three ways leaders can assist with being adaptable, supportive, and flexible when it comes to performance management in hybrid workplaces:

    • Approach feedback conversations from a coaching perspective with the intention of understanding the individual’s story first and giving the benefit of the doubt so feedback can be taken on board in a constructive and useful manner.
    • The gift and impact of feedback is not always as effective when delivered “on the run”. Schedule and structure feedback conversations to ensure constructive and positive feedback is clearly heard.
    • Recognise individual and team achievements. Working in remote workplaces reduces the opportunity for praise to be given. Ensure achievements are acknowledged individually and as a team to create a positive and enjoyable workplace that achieves outstanding results. In January we ran a poll on LinkedIn asking our community how they preferred to receive recognition at work, with the majority of respondents (40%) saying that a personal thank you/ email was the best and most meaningful way.


The need for more diverse, inclusive, and high-performing workplaces is crucial in our changing world. Organisations that recognise the unique experiences of sub-groups within the workplace, focus on creating anti-fragile teams and organisations, and develop feedback skills for more effective performance management will reap the benefits of a more adaptive, inclusive, and connected workplace.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our series where we’ll explore more trends and provide actionable ideas and advice that you can implement immediately within your own workplace. Don’t forget to follow Rashida, Natalie, and Katie on LinkedIn – they are all passionate about sharing the latest research, insights, and ideas on unlocking human potential and creating cultures where everyone can thrive.

Are you looking for targeted support or to make a change in your workplace? Connect with our Client Solutions team to discover how our evidence-based DEIB and leadership solutions can support your organisation to elevate individual and collective leadership, and empower a diverse workforce.

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