Race Equality Awards 2018 - Progression Award: Accenture

Award Type: 

Award winner 2018 thumbnail

What was the issue?

Accenture has a global talent ambition to be the “most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world” by 2020, and aspire to build a workforce that reflects the clients they serve and the communities they operate in.

Their data shows that while they are well represented for BAME talent (24% of our workforce; 19% in Management; and 17% on our UKI Board) Black representation is weaker at senior levels (8.5% of all graduate joiners are Black vs. 1.9% in Management

Accenture's intent is to drive greater representation of black employees at senior levels in the organisation, with a specific focus on (a) increasing career progression; and (b) improving retention at all levels.

The action taken. 

Accenture took a data-driven approach to bring together  African-Caribbean Network, HR teams, and global I&D Centre of Expertise to design and implement the ‘Accelerate’ programme, blending biannual classroom-based training through a cultural lens,
monthly virtual leadership development webcasts, and mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes. Specific programme elements include:

  • Leadership targets for the progression and retention of black employees across all business units, that form a part of performance management and remuneration decisions. Our targets are to have equitable promotion and retention yields for ethnic minority and majority demographics, and these pillars are then underpinned by robust policy/process, leading HR data analytics, employee networks and strong programme management.
  •  “Closed door” sessions with  Black employees, facilitated by Global I&D Lead and BAME Managing Directors in a “Chatham House” environment, to understand cultural challenges and perceived barriers to progression.
  • Biannual classroom-based training facilitated by Managing Directors and UKI Leadership members, providing Leadership Development Training through a cultural lens. The  2018 mid-year delivery sees Accenture bringing all 398 black employees together for a
  • single day, facilitated by senior leaders, external SMEs and third-parties including BITC to support progression and build community camaraderie.
  • Monthly virtual sessions anchored to performance management timeframe to support targeted career progression. Content varies by career level, along with accompanying interventions e.g. Senior Managers take a 2-day course, with a networking dinner with members of the UKI Executive Board on the first night; have a scheduled 1:1 follow-up with their Business Unit lead as a course post-requisite; are offered 1:1 Gallup Strengths Coaching; and have regular HR reviews to ensure they are working in the right roles, with the right clients, and with the right sponsors to support career progression.
  • Accenture continue to conduct monthly ethnicity reviews in each of the 12 business areas (against targets) chaired by their UK I&D executive sponsor (a senior business leader driving the BAME agenda locally), their HR Lead, their Recruitment Lead and AACN
  • Liaison Lead (I&D Executive and AACN link) - outcomes fed into UK board (business leads held accountable against targets). I&D Executive sponsors, Business and HR, Leads run a 3R programme to biannually review of BAME employees to ensure they have the right role, right sponsor, right account (correct client team) to be promoted.
  • Structured inter-network mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes with senior business leads.
  •  #inclusionstartswithi campaign to drive an Unconscious Bias 2.0 programme across all line managers, using specific scenarios around race.

What was the impact?

  • 10% black headcount growth in the first six months of 2018 company year. 34% black headcount growth over the last five years.
  • Positive progression yield (promoted more BAME candidates relative to total BAME representation), including four new Managing Director (partner) promotes.
  •  25% more black promotes than 2017.
  •  Lowest attrition gap (variance in Black attrition rate vs “All” attrition rate) since 2013.
  • 97% of our African-Caribbean headcount have been through the programme since its inception at an average rating of 4.86/5.00 across all sessions.
  • 57 Managing Directors actively engaged in the programme; including all 17 UKI Executive Board Directors.
  • Featured in The British Black Business Awards “The Middle Research” as a case study of best practice.

Maintaining momentum
Accenture continue to use participant feedback from all interventions and HR metrics on Progression, Retention and Representation to drive a culture of continuous improvement across all initiatives.