When Sunil saw a glimpse of humanity in the way he was treated at work, he knew it would have a lasting impact on the kind of leader he would be at Accenture. He talks to us about why it's more important than ever for organisations to put their people first.

I had just come back from India when I learned that my family member was unwell. Within a span of 15 days, I had to travel back to India to take care of my personal emergency.

When I approached my boss to let her know about my close family member’s health condition, she said, “Be there for your family member, that’s the priority at this stage. Your colleagues will support you.”

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"To me, it's humanity that inspires and connects you to work. Bringing your private life to your professional world is not a detriment, it's encouraged. You can't have your heart somewhere else and still perform at work, and that's something our leadership understands and is supportive of."

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So when it was my turn to show that kind of leadership, I didn't hesitate. One of my colleagues works remotely from Manila in the Philippines. Recently, when her daughter fell sick, and she was struggling between going to the hospital and connecting with work, I told her the same thing my boss told me.

When you emotionally connect with your teammates, they start to get a sense of belonging to a place. It doesn't matter where in the world you are. We work in a very global setup, and understanding your offshore teams, understanding their complexities out there, is as important as delivering to our stakeholders here.

HR Sydney team participated in OZHarvest
HR Sydney team participated in OZHarvest

We talk about being truly human internally. To me, it's a culture of caring and establishing trust within the organisation. It's important for a business like Accenture to consider the emotional and social aspects of work.

When I moved from Accenture India to Australia nine years ago, I had to relocate my whole family. Getting acquainted with a new culture takes time. You need to feel like you belong to the place to get the best out of it.

When my daughter came into our office in Sydney to participate in a code camp conducted by Accenture during her school holiday programme, I could see the pieces of the puzzle falling into place.

Code Camp workshop
With my daughter Simran during Code Camp workshop for kids conducted at Accenture Sydney office

Having her at the workplace gave me a sense of belonging. It's as simple as that. Your family is part of what you do on a day-to-day and you need to be able to bring some elements of your personal life into the professional life.

Separating your private and professional lives is a thing of the past.

We are a very global company. If you're on a cross-functional call on any given day, you'll understand how complex the organisation is. It's a very diverse culture, and our leaders have been visionary in how they bring together so many diverse talents to make them all work together and run smoothly.

It's the beauty of this organisation. And without putting people and humanity at the heart of it, none of it is possible, and that inspires me to come to work every day.

Cricket game at Melbourne Cricket Ground
My passion for cricket made me travel to all cricketing venues where India or Australia played during the 2015 World Cup held in Australia – this was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)


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Sunil Nagarajan

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