Commentary from Yolanda Friend, North America Inclusion & Diversity Lead at Accenture. Accenture ranked No. 1 on The Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.
Accenture: What should organizations do to bring African Americans and Black people, as well as Hispanic Americans and Latinx people, into the fold? What support systems are available for them?
Yolanda Friend: Cultivating an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive and achieve their goals is part of our shared commitment to accelerating equality. When we lead with compassion and put people first, it creates the ideal conditions for human ingenuity to thrive and have a lasting impact where we live and work.
In the U.S., this includes remaining focused on creating more opportunities for employment and advancement for people from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Our earn-and-learn Apprenticeship Program is an incredible pipeline of talented people from diverse communities at Accenture. The majority of our apprentices are ethnically and racially diverse, and nearly half are female.
A: How has Accenture reached out to the Hispanic American and Latinx community specifically?
YF: At Accenture, we believe we can help advance the careers of our people and provide community support by building strong partnerships and collaborating with others outside our organization. This includes support of and engagements with L’ATTITUDE, the Association for Latino Professionals for America, HITEC (Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
A: What is Accenture doing to increase diverse representation in senior leadership?
YF: At Accenture, we believe the future workforce is an equal one and set bold goals to accelerate race and ethnicity representation in our workforce. At the beginning of our fiscal year in 2021, we set goals that by 2025, we will increase the representation of African American and Black people to 12% and the representation of Hispanic American and Latinx people to 13%. We also are also making progress to more than double the number of our African American and Black and Hispanic American and Latinx managing directors.
A: How is Accenture creating more opportunities for career advancement for African American, Black and Hispanic American and Latinx people overall?
YF: Accenture supports various programs led by our race and ethnicity ERGs that promote holistic personal and professional development and connect our people with shared interests, experiences and passion for advancing our culture of equality for all. This includes:
- Various development programs led by our Race & Ethnicity ERGs, including the National African American ERG’s Mentoring Program LEAP (Leading and Elevating Another Person) and the National Hispanic American ERG’s Mentoring Program, HOLA (Helping Others Learn and Achieve). These programs help cultivate a highly engaged peer network to facilitate career growth and professional development.
- Race and ethnicity-focused leadership summits, including the African American ERG and Hispanic American ERG Leadership Summits: two-day U.S. events that provide a platform for our people to support, develop, motivate and empower each other.
A: Is there something you can tell me that measures real success in Accenture by having a more diverse workforce?
YF: Race and ethnic diversity within our company is critical to our success. It helps us drive creative and innovative solutions for our clients and be more representative of the customer base our clients serve and the communities in which we work and live.