Accenture is making inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training mandatory for all new employees, with the aim to complete the training for its entire workforce by 2019.
The training is being rolled out as a pilot program, beginning with Accenture’s technology hiring managers and employees who recently joined the company through an acquisition. “The next phase is to do it with all of the new employees throughout the next year and then making sure that we also tackle all current, existing employees by the end of next calendar year,” says Nicholas Greschner, Canada human resources director for the company.
The biggest value is the unconscious bias component of the training, says Greschner, noting it’s a conversation that needs to happen more than once. He’s completed the course a few times over the past five or six years and says each time has offered conversations about making a difference in peoples’ perspectives.
“What we cover during those courses is the role that it plays, what are the common biases, what is an unconscious bias, because everyone has it, and then it’s followed through by a one-week challenge to make sure that people can put in practice what they’ve discussed as part of the training,” says Greschner.
The end goal is for Accenture to be known as the No. 1 diversity and inclusion employer in Canada, he adds. The company is committed “to build a leadership team that better reflects the diversity of our workforce, including the makeup of our client teams in respect to gender, ethnicity, aboriginal status, sexual orientation and persons with disability,” as well as to reach overall parity between men and women as much as possible across the company, says Greschner.
“Why are we doing this? We’re doing this because we all have a goal to meet, and it’s important to us as an organization. There are so many benefits to building a diverse workforce that has been quoted in so many different publications, but inclusion and diversity is a business imperative for us,” adds Greschner.