Race Equality Awards 2016 - Inclusive Workplace Culture - EY

Inclusive Leadership Programme (ILP)


Research shows diverse teams are more innovative and produce better results but only if led by an inclusive leader; this requires the best people from the widest talent pool. EY has been working to build an inclusive culture over the last five years and has set a target of 10% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) new entrants to the partnership.
The Inclusive Leadership Programme (ILP) is a long-term culture change programme which aims to reduce BAME attrition rates, remove any differentials in performance ratings and promotion outcomes for BAME employees, and equalise employee engagement for BAME and White colleagues. 

The ILP has three phases:

  • Phase 1 – targeting the partner population and support functions and ensuring they lead the change
  • Phase 2 – equipping all managers upwards with relevant knowledge and tools
  • Phase 3 – integrating inclusive leadership into all aspects of the business and reinforcing the messages from earlier phases

Phase 3 included a five-week internal multimedia Summer of Inclusion campaign in summer 2015 and 2016, encouraging everyone to own the inclusive leadership agenda and be aware of their behaviours. The campaign used posters with challenging questions, plasma screen presentations, videos, TED-style talks, book recommendations, and focussed on different ILP topics each week.  Meanwhile, EY is incorporating inclusive leadership into its core curriculum and processes,
New joiners are made aware of the ILP through targeted communication, and inclusive leadership activity is regularly communicated in EY’s internal daily news.
Partners were involved in the programme design and pilot and actively shared their inclusive leadership stories and actions in the Summer of Inclusion campaign. Senior Partners sponsor the ILP and each business unit leader sponsors the ILP in their area. Leaders have diversity and inclusiveness targets on their scorecards which are linked to performance ratings. They are also aware of inclusive leadership within performance management processes and work to counteract unconscious bias in this and other key decision-making processes.
EY has participated in external research on inclusive leadership in organisations, proving the link between high levels of inclusive leadership and high levels of self-perceived productivity and engagement, and has also shared its inclusive leadership journey with the Business Disability Forum, the Post Office and the National Union of Students.

Since the inception of the ILP, 86% of Partners and almost 1500 Managers have undertaken the programme. BAME partners have risen from 3% in 2012 to 7% in 2015 and 31% of BAME employees receive the highest performance rating (previously 26%). In EY’s People Survey, the number of BAME employees saying they felt they had a promising future at EY rose 13% and those saying EY has an inclusive environment rose 7%.
An Inclusiveness Champion is now present at every review committee and data on proportional promotions is reported up to the Board on a comply or explain basis.
EY is now planning an annual activity to keep the conversation going and is participating in ‘Creating Inclusive Cultures’, a group of organisations working collaboratively to harness the power of D&I.