May 11, 2017
Gender diversity is key to an inclusive and diverse workplace
By: Kirsten Doherty, UK Inclusion and Diversity Manager

Gender diversity is a key component of Accenture’s goal to be the most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world. Our local approach to gender diversity also contributes to Accenture being an employer of choice in the UK. Because people are our most valuable asset, we foster an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome, treated equally and given fair access to opportunities. To be included as the top Professional Services company commended for high performance under the Responsible Business Award for Gender Equality fills us with great pride. Here are just a few of the ways we are working to impact gender diversity within Accenture:

Helping bring girls into STEM:

We led Europe’s largest STEM event for 2,000+ women across five locations, in partnership with The Stemettes — “Girls in STEM”. Recognising that development of future talent is fundamental, we are also proud to sponsor 14 UK University Women’s Societies and to have run 46 school events this year. We believe initiatives like these have resulted in more than 50% female recruitment at entry level.

A vibrant employee network:

We wanted to align with the UN’s call to action for a heforshe approach. With this in mind, we rebranded our Women’s network to Accent on Gender, assigned male co-leads and co-executive sponsors and saw a 40% male attendance to International Women’s Day. Men and women also pledged together in a social media campaign, #greatertogether, to support gender equality through employee referrals, university visits, sponsorship, mentoring, coaching and reverse mentoring. We also strive to help people appreciate intersectionality by looking at gender through ethnicity, family, religion, mental health and LGBT lenses.

Provisions for working parents:

Because we recognize that not all women are mothers and not all parents are women, we separated our Accent on Gender and Accent on Family networks to provide more focus. In-keeping with our drive for change our Shared Parental Leave (SPL) policy, provides mothers, primary adopters, fathers and partners, equal access to up to 32 weeks fully paid leave. We see it as a tool to encourage a societal and organizational cultural shift towards gender equality and we are proud to say more than one in 10 of Accenture fathers take SPL — more than double the national average. We also redesigned our Parenting Leavers and Returners Workshops so men and women could share experiences and showcase that primary parenting and parental leave is an opportunity for both mothers and fathers.

Flexible working:

We know flexible working is critical to attract, engage and retain the very best talent. We have a dedicated UK Homeworking team who support both line managers and employees and ensure everyone benefits from real-time remote collaboration through technology — as well as over 75 smartphone company apps.

Investing in our people:

We invested heavily in people development in 2016 to ensure we reach our diversity and business ambitions. We also overhauled our performance management model to take a strengths-based approach, giving opportunity for everyone to develop and progress. We ensure that diversity is embedded in our end to end people processes, and we have dedicated career counsellors to provide ongoing career mentoring, as well as a range of formal learning opportunities that are supplemented by individual coaching and mentoring. We don’t intend to ‘fix’ women but educate the ‘system’ to ensure there is no bias through unconscious bias training and culture change.

We’re really proud to be recognized as the highest performing professional services organization and are working harder than ever to become the most inclusive organization in the world!

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