Winning the prestigious number one spot on the workplace equality index, Accenture are Employer of the Year 2013. Chief Counsel, board member and sponsor for LGBT initiatives Patrick Rowe, explains the company's diversity objectives.
WHEN DID ACCENTURE FIRST IMPLEMENT A DIVERSITY & INCLUSION AGENDA?
Accenture set out its formal commitment to being an equal opportunities and diverse employer in 2002, but has always had a strong commitment to building a workplace which provides opportunities based on qualifications, merit and business need. With over 246,000 employees working in more than 120 countries, we have employees from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities. To deliver the best to our clients, we need to provide a platform that combines the most diverse talents.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS OF THE STONEWALL WORKPLACE EQUALITY INDEX?
We welcome Stonewall’s efforts to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By showcasing some of the most forward-thinking organisations across the public and private sectors, the Index helps to inspire action and drive best practice. It also challenges us to examine our own policies and practices year on year and to determine their impact. This is a hugely valuable exercise which helps to ensure that our vision and values translate into something truly meaningful and beneficial to those who work at and with Accenture.
DOES YOUR DIVERSITY POLICY HAVE TARGETS?
Our diversity policy does not include targets, but the activity of our Inclusion & Diversity team is guided by a number of very specific objectives, which we review and update on a regular basis. We measure our progress against these objectives and tailor our activity accordingly.
HOW HAS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A DIVERSITY POLICY CHANGED ACCENTURE’S WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
Our diversity policy has helped to foster an open and inclusive workplace. We’ve found that our people are most effective in this kind of environment, when they can be themselves and don’t feel the need to ‘self-edit’. And this level of assurance not only enhances individual performance; it also encourages a variety of perspectives that can enrich team decision making and drive innovation.
Our diversity policy and initiatives impact everyone at Accenture. Our employees understand that each person has a responsibility to help promote and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment - this sense of ownership from the top down has driven engagement and created a strong sense of community. For example, we have a global Network of 1,600 Allies who have formally pledged to support their LGBT colleagues in the workplace. This is particularly powerful in countries and environments where being LGBT is less accepted; in these settings it is a real testament to the culture of Accenture that our people are proud to be ambassadors for workplace equality.