13 March 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team


Accenture on supporting African-Caribbean colleagues

At Accenture, the diversity of our workforce must reflect the diversity of the clients we serve, the suppliers with which we do business and the communities in which we operate. 

Accenture on supporting African-Caribbean colleagues

Diversity throughout our workforce brings enhanced organisational performance, increase innovation and business effectiveness globally. An increase in ethnic minority  representation is not the solitary measure of success – success is borne from culture shifts, changing hearts and minds and having confident conversations around race in the  workplace.

The steps we took

To achieve our ambitions we designed an African Caribbean two day leadership training on “Exploring Authentic African Caribbean Leadership” where 25 African Caribbean Managers and Senior Managers explored the key skills required to help their career progression within the organisation and to create their own leadership development plan.

This was also attended by the country MD and our Global Inclusion & Diversity Lead who is on the Global Board. Senior leadership attendance, engagement, and transparency was integral to the training and we were conscious that targeted training designed for our executive level African Caribbean employees could be misconstrued.

To mitigate this we were very clear about the training objectives and the leadership buy-in from the outset:

Goals for participants
• Explore the concept of race and authentic leadership. Participants went through a learning journey around what role, if any, their race places in their leadership style, capability and attitude.
• Create a cohesive set of African Caribbean Leaders, who know each other at a new level and jointly explore what authentic African Caribbean Leadership is/means to them.
• Expand key skills required for a successful career at Accenture and build on their personal leadership development plan.

Goals for Accenture
• To create connections between Accenture leaders and those on the course, through a shared journey and jointly experience light bulb moments.
• Any identified themes and patterns for professionals with an African Caribbean background to be fed into other Inclusive and Diversity programmes.

We gave the participants 45 days’ notice of the event to ensure attendance and an offsite venue was chosen to create an environment that was conducive to creative thinking, candid collaboration and self-reflection.

The agenda ensured we didn’t skirt round the edges of the debate but drilled down into the challenges and opportunities of being an ethnic minority within the corporate world in the UK. We covered topics including:

• Exploring what African Caribbean Employees bring to the workplace
• Ethnic Minority Leadership Journey Line & Career Coaching
• Authentic Leadership In Practice – what makes an exceptional African Caribbean Leader
• A client perspective on African Caribbean leadership
• Sponsorship & Mentorship; Getting the most out of both
• Stepping Up As African Caribbean Role Models
• Setting the Tone of Inclusive Leadership

What we’ve experienced

We received game-changing feedback across the board and the engagement and mind-set of our African Caribbean employees has shifted.

One colleague said: “I realised I have been setting a glass ceiling for myself. Seeing the African Caribbean Managing Directors and the support we have from leadership outside the black community has made merealise I can go all the way.”

Relationships are now forged between our senior leadership and our executive African Caribbean employees – our African Caribbean Network Leaders attend our UKI Executive meetings to ensure their agenda is being pushed out across all our business areas.

Since the training we have seen a step change in the engagement of individuals who took the training around their own career plans and embracing their own racial identity at work.

We intend to repeat the training and use the course alumni to train and coach our future African Caribbean Leaders so that the impact is repeatable and to truly embed an inclusive and collaborative mind-set into all our leaders.

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