Corporates are beginning to understand the societal and business benefits of creating organizations that have diversity and inclusion at the very heart of their business. While being a proponent of diversity and inclusion in the workplace can be a great talking point and be pivotal in creating a aspirational image of an organization, making D & I an actionable and a working reality is not a simple task. It requires mindsets, policies, awareness and expectations to align not just across leadership but one that also percolates across all levels of the organization.
Let us look at a few organizations that are making diversity and inclusion part of their DNA and creating some best practises along the way –
Accenture: Being ranked number 1 in the Thomson Reuter’s Diversity and inclusion index, Accenture takes it diversity and inclusion seriously. As a business imperative, every person at Accenture has the responsibility to create and sustain an inclusive environment. Their website quotes that Accenture believes “no one should be discriminated against because of their differences, such as age, ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, religion or sexual orientation. Our rich diversity makes us more innovative and more creative, which helps us better serve our clients and our communities.”
Accenture also believes that by making every one of their 4,00,000 plus workforce feel valuable and included they are able empower employees to bring in their “Best Self” to the workplace.
Some concrete steps embraced by Accenture include striving towards having a gender neutral workforce by 2025, hiring and working extensively with people with disabilities and supporting the LGBTQ community.
Gender Neutrality: With their “50 by 25” goal which announces their effort to be gender neutral by 2025 and employ 50% women in their workforce, Accenture has taken a number of steps to attract, retain, advance and sponsor women on its path to achieving a gender balanced workforce, including:
- Launching initiatives that provide women employees with skills and puts high performing women on fast track programs
- Collaborating across business and government to promote gender equality in the workplace, with commitments and pledge programs that include the White House Equal Pay Pledge, Paradigm for Parity, and Catalyst CEO Champions for Change – each of these promoting collaborative efforts towards a gender balanced workforce.
Enabling persons with Disability: Accenture actively hires and works towards retention and inclusion of people with disabilities across their several offices around the world. They are working towards enabling every employee to fully interact with technology regardless of functional disabilities. They also are empowering persons with disabilities every day through their Global Persons with Disabilities Champions Network which organizes local networking, collaboration, mentoring and awareness-building activities for persons with disabilities—as well as caregivers and colleagues—throughout the year.
Supporting the LGBTQ Community: With the innate belief that diversity makes them more innovative, Accenture provides an inclusive environment for all employees without discriminating on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Some concrete steps taken in this direction include clear cut guidelines for recruitment, and retention and promotion, professional development programs, Equal pay and benefits, including insurance for gender affirmation surgery in certain countries. Accenture also fosters several resource groups across 45 countries and has over 100,000 members in their global ally programs.
Accenture in its efforts and ambitions of being a front-runner in the diversity and inclusion space, is proving that although diversity can add complexity to the workplace, it needs to be nurtured through cultural competence to create an environment of inclusion. Doing this will give an organization a competitive advantage and diversity will become a bottom line contributor.
Look out for our next post for anther D & I Case study.