Inclusion & diversity survey

More than a mantra


Organizations are making strides to become more inclusive. Team performance improves by 50 percent when everyone feels included—resulting in better business performance and outcomes.

I&D maturity is not simply about a mantra or programs that are seen to do right: They must make the workplace experience right too—for everyone. Each individual needs to experience the impact of I&D programs and have a fair chance to get interviewed, hired and promoted.

But, as our latest research reveals, there is still a gap between what companies are doing and how the workforce evaluates their impact. The Accenture I&D Insights Survey examined the effectiveness of I&D efforts globally across five key industry sectors: Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel, Industrial and Life Sciences. The research focused on the four cornerstones which have the greatest influence on I&D maturity: Strategic intent; Leadership behaviors; Inclusive culture; and Talent actions.

The aim of the research was to evaluate the impact I&D initiatives have on the people who they are designed to help. We analyzed I&D impact among different groups, notably between I&D / HR practitioners responsible for implementing I&D programs and the people affected by them. The study covered 1,340 executives representing organizations valued at >$1billion.

*The Science of Inclusion, C. Cox et al, NeuroLeadership Journal, Vol 6, 2016



While HR practitioners and non-practitioners broadly agree that organizations are taking steps to advance I&D, dig below the surface and views vary considerably, with factors like industry, geography, gender and ethnicity all playing a part.

In addition to the ratings on various aspects of I&D effectiveness, an overall maturity index scoring system was developed which rates organizations on maturity up to a highest score of 200. The results revealed disparate scores across industries and regions that were quite interesting.



Looking at the HR practitioners, men and women assess progress on I&D differently.


Of the men in HR, 51 percent feel their organizations are at the point of measuring the impact of their I&D initiatives, compared to just 33 percent of women who assess their organizations the same way.


Ethnic minority women employees rate progress on I&D differently to their non-minority counterparts. Ethnic minority women are twice as likely to rate their organizations as ‘managing the minimum’ (18 percent) compared to just 9 percent for non-minority women.



Respondents in the retail sector give their organizations a significantly lower score on overall maturity (174) than their counterparts in other Products sectors, including Consumer Goods (183), the highest scoring industry overall; Travel (182); Industrial (181); and Life Sciences (180).

We also found significant regional differences on ratings of I&D maturity. Respondents in North America score their organizations’ I&D maturity significantly lower (171) than their counterparts in other regions whose scores range from 177 in Europe to 192 in South Africa.


In organizations that can be described as truly human, people are encouraged to bring their "whole", most authentic self to work and to be comfortable in doing so. These organizations understand how to maximize the positive impacts of a genuinely diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

To achieve this at Accenture, we have developed, and are continually refining, innovative approaches and tools to measure how closely our employees’ attitudes align with our I&D initiatives. These include the Accenture I&D Maturity Index and Accenture I&D Framework. Together, they provide a structured approach that organizations can use to advance their journey to become a truly human business.

Accenture I&D Maturity Index

Accenture I&D Maturity Index

The I&D Maturity Index provides a truly meaningful measure of the maturity of an organization’s I&D initiatives.

Accenture I&D Framework

Accenture I&D Framework

The I&D Framework provides a basis for evaluating maturity as well as a roadmap for what needs to be achieved.


At each level of the I&D Framework, organizations are assessed on four cornerstones which inform specific actions on the journey to I&D maturity. It’s an approach enabled by metrics and analytics, communication and change management to keep companies on track, while engaging with external networks to grow the talent pool and lead change.

1. Strategic intent:

Is I&D integrated in overall company growth strategy and communicated throughout the organization?

2. Leadership behaviors:

Does leadership ensure that those with different backgrounds are welcomed, treated equally and their voices heard?

3. Inclusive culture:

Do people of all backgrounds feel included, welcome, valued and respected for their individual differences?

4. Talent actions:

Do talent programs attract, retain, develop and build more diverse and inclusive teams at all levels?


The journey to I&D maturity is continuously evolving. Our four-stage maturity model is a useful way to assess impact against each of the four cornerstones to understand the current situation and inform future opportunities.


Do internal policies ensure that external legal requirements are met?


Are programs provided to address specific challenges and gaps?


Is there a comprehensive strategy and framework to ensure goals are measurable and will be achieved?

Integrated & sustainable

Is I&D deeply ingrained into the fabric of the organization?



As the research indicates, simply having I&D programs in place is not enough. The true success of I&D initiatives depends on the impact they have, and that often means different things to different people. With the right model, tools and approach, companies can go beyond the basics to ensure their programs are genuinely making a tangible impact for each individual person they are designed to support.

That means embedding measures to assess the I&D impact of the four factors that most strongly influence I&D maturity:

  1. Is there strategic intent to integrate I&D?

  2. Do leadership behaviors support I&D?

  3. Is an inclusive culture actively fostered?

  4. Do talent actions encourage I&D?

With the capability to evaluate I&D impacts holistically, organizations can assess how effectively they are executing on the I&D initiatives that are most important to employees, while accounting for multiple variables such as geography, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disabilities. And, by doing so, make I&D more than a mantra and accelerate the organization’s journey to become a truly human business.

The true success of I&D initiatives depends on the impact they have, and that often means different things to different people.