Companies can create a more inclusive workplace when employees share personal data such as gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or information on any disabilities with them. “What we can measure, we can manage”, says Javier Leonor-Vicente, Global Inclusion and Diversity Senior Manager, Pride at Accenture.
Through our webinar, What an increasingly diverse world means for companies in emerging markets, we discussed how companies are currently increasing their support for LGBTQ+ inclusion and the benefits of ED&I on business. We spoke to – among others – Teodora Rosetti-Ion-Rotaru, Executive Director at ACCEPT Romania, George Perlov, Executive Director at Open for Business, Ivan Janković, People and Culture Delivery Manager at IKEA SEE (South-East Europe), Violeta Nenita, Country Manager at IKEA Romania, Claire Harvey, Global Inclusion Lead at Vodafone Group and Leonard Rizoiu, Managing Partner at Leo HR. Find the highlights of our conversation below.
What tools do you use at Accenture to foster an inclusive workplace?
Javier Leonor-Vicente: We have two main tools that we use to measure LGBTQ+ inclusion. The first one is called Self-ID, an online tool where employees can share their identity with us by selecting their gender identity, their sexual orientation etc. We have the same tool for ethnicity and for disabilities so this tool is not only for our LGBTQ+ colleagues but for everyone who would like to tell us about themselves. Thanks to this tool we have been able to see that 25% of our colleagues worldwide identify as bisexual, which we were not aware of before. This then allows us to look at our culture and policies and check how they are inclusive for bisexuals. The numbers help because what gets measured, gets managed.
These tools allow us to monitor how many people identifying as LGBTQ+ join or leave the company. If the numbers are stable, meaning if we don’t have an increase or a decrease in colleagues identifying as LGBTQ+, then that is good. But if more and more colleagues are leaving then that is problematic and needs to be addressed. Of course, if more people identifying as LGBTQ+ join the company then we are doing something right. The average LGBTQ+ population in the world is around 8%. In the US, 35% of the younger generation, Generation Z, say that they identify as something other than straight. There is value in knowing these statistics.
The second tool we use at Accenture is the Pride scorecard, a tool that measures four categories related to LGBTQ+ inclusion every six months. These categories are inclusive culture and workplace, external engagement, leadership and talent. We measure how Accenture fares in each country in these four categories which then allows us to draw conclusions about the level of LGBTQ+ inclusion in each company. These are some of the questions we ask our HR managers every six months:
- Are there LGBTQ+ leaders?
- What are the % of senior leaders that are allies?
- Are you a member of LGBTQ+ organisations?
- Have you hosted external LGBTQ+ events?
- Do you have and promote the Self-ID program?
- Do you have and promote the Pride Mentoring program?
- Do you host LGBTQ+ awareness activities?
- Do you have LGBTQ+ inclusive benefits?
How do you encourage people to use the Self-ID tool? Do you think people are willing to be open about their identity in such a way, especially in a country such as Romania?
Javier Leonor-Vicente: I think using the Self-ID tool is a very personal choice. We can encourage and promote it but we cannot force them to complete the survey. I think people are willing to share their data with us if we clearly communicate that we are collecting it to help them.
For example, due to Self-ID, we now know the top five countries with the most transgender colleagues. We also know that we only offer the benefits that we’d like to offer in four of those five countries. So now we can work with the one country to ensure we create partnership with the right organisations and insurers to also offer benefits such as counselling and hormone treatment for our colleagues. Without Self-ID I wouldn’t know that and I wouldn’t be able to help. Remember also that we ask these questions every six months, so we get a different picture every time. If in six months, the Self-ID shows that the percentage of bisexual colleagues has increased then that is a good sign. These fluctuations in data give us an overview of how well Accenture is doing in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion. As I said before, whatever we measure we can manage.
But ultimately, it is a personal choice. When we started the Self-ID tool five years ago, only one per cent of our global employee population would use it and now we are at six per cent. So it does take a while for it to pick up. It is useful for managers not to present the Self-ID as a tool only for LGBTQ+ employees. It truly is for everyone who would like to disclose anything about their identity with the company that will allow us to properly take care of them as employees. We would like our employees to feel seen, safe, connected and confident or courageous. Self-ID allows us to achieve that, we do it for the employee so they feel they belong. And this needs to be properly explained, not just in an email but properly communicated by the managers and leaders of the company.
In an emerging market, what training could managers receive to help employees feel more comfortable sharing their personal information?
Javier Leonor-Vicente: The answer, in a nutshell, is communication, communication, communication. We start by explaining the security of the system, that we cannot trace who answers what and encouraging employees to use Self-ID starts from the top. Reginal leaders need to communicate with their teams that this is a tool that will allow the company to create better programs for their needs. Managers and leaders can organise workshops to explain how the tool works and why it is useful for creating an inclusive workplace. Don’t get scared if you don’t get a large response at first; it is very much a process that is ongoing.