Building an inclusive culture which embraces diversity
October 29, 2020
Accenture operates around the globe and our diversity as a company of more than 500,000 individuals is a fact. But it takes an enduring commitment to inclusion to ignite the power of diversity as an engine of innovation, growth and economic prosperity.
Staying relevant in a rapidly changing world
Inclusion and diversity are at the heart of how we do business in Belgium & Luxembourg. Our inclusive work environment strives to embrace all forms of diversity, not only gender. Our teams comprise of people with diverse capabilities, perspectives, abilities, and experiences. They come from diverse cultures and ethnicities, they are of different ages and sexual orientation. Embracing all our differences makes us more relevant to our clients in a rapidly changing world and able to use all our skills & creativity to innovate.
Well-being is fundamental to business success
An inclusive work environment provides a place where everyone feels welcome and can be the best version of his/herself. We all have different perspectives, shaped by our professional experience, our background, our ambitions, and our commitments outside of work. In Belgium & Luxembourg this translates into a work culture that empowers each individual to speak up and take care of themselves. By making sure the right tools and support are in place, that open dialogue and mutual respect are values we actively practice, we aim to nurture our collective well-being, which is fundamental to our business success.
Collective digital intelligence
With today’s technologies evolving at an unprecedented speed, soft skills have become as important as university or college studies for bringing the innovative thinking and relevant solutions our clients need. To find people with the right motivation and openness to learn, we partner with BeCode, which since 2017, offers free training to motivated jobseekers of all ages and backgrounds and the chance to build steady IT careers. The purpose of BeCode is to help unemployed youth and other motivated groups to find a job and build a life, while at the same time, help businesses find the skills they need to remain competitive. Accenture quickly experienced that this wasn’t only about closing the skills gap.
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Through BeCode we discovered diverse profiles that are different from the ones we are used to recruiting.
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Having very diverse backgrounds and sometimes unusual career paths, most BeCoders are independent, solution-focused and entrepreneurial, which are important soft skills. We are able to build more diverse teams, which motivates all team members and brings new ways of thinking that leads to more successful projects.
Accenture is currently recruiting up to 25 BeCoders a year after an internship and this partnership will only continue to grow and evolve positively, bringing value for the business, our people and society. And when the demand for specific skills increases - think about cloud, security and AI specialists - we co-create the training with BeCode.
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Listen to our podcast with Karen Boers (BeCode) and Joke Meuris (Telenet) on how both companies support each other in training and hiring new talent.
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Reorienting women to tech
Accenture’s has publicly stated its goal of gender parity by 2025. This change is happening on a day-to-day basis, for example, making sure women are placed in a position to grow and take responsibility. One key initiative for Accenture Belgium & Luxembourg, Tech Academy, offers women from all backgrounds the opportunity to reorient their careers through a free one-month training program with an easy-to-follow introduction to the world of technology consulting. The first edition resulted in 15 contract offers.
When leaders prioritize equality, organizations grow faster
Many companies recognize the importance of workplace equality, as do their employees. But is this reflected in what’s happening on the ground?
Our 2020 Getting to Equal global survey reveals a significant gap between the way leaders and employees view progress toward equality in their organizations. More than three quarters (78%) of leaders answering our survey feel they create empowering environments in which employees can be themselves and freely voice concerns. But just one third (32%) of employees agree.
Closing that gap could benefit companies and their employees significantly, especially in today’s highly competitive economic environment.
Proof of the benefits of workplace equality can be found among a small cluster of leaders, so-called Culture Makers. These leaders are more in tune with their workforce and recognize the importance of cultural factors like pay transparency, family leave and the freedom to be creative. Culture Makers are also a younger, more gender-balanced group (45% of them are women, whereas women comprise just 32% of all the leaders we surveyed, and 68% of them are Millennials, compared to 59% of all leaders). And they act on their words. They see the building of a more inclusive organizational culture as a business priority, they hold themselves accountable, for example, publicly announcing a target to get more women into the workforce, and they reward their employees for contributing to a more inclusive culture.
Interestingly, the organizations they lead are growing more than twice as fast as those of their peers, with 2.2x higher sales and 3.2x higher profits.
40 success factors
With only 6% of leaders in our survey (rising to 9% of women leaders) reaching the Culture Maker standard, there is still plenty of work to be done. But by prioritizing culture, leaders can get ahead of the curve. Because profit and culture are intertwined and equally crucial to success. We have identified 40 factors that influence the advancement and characterize a culture of equality, from bold leadership, over comprehensive action, to an empowering environment.
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