Accenture sees diversity as a key element in corporate success
The company has clients from many countries and cultures, and “We put together teams representative of those,” says an HR director
'In this challenging economic environment we realize that the war for talent continues,” says LaMae Allen deJongh, managing director of U.S. human capital and diversity for Accenture. Diverse employees are appreciated by diverse clients, among others, and “These assets have legs and can walk out the door anytime!” That’s one reason among many why the company wants to attract and retain diversity, and why it gives high priority to its employees, their work environment and their comfort and quality of life.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, working to help its clients become or remain high-performance businesses and governments. There’s no central Accenture HQ, but the company maintains facilities in fifty-two countries and has clients in more than 120 countries.
Hiring in 2010 will be related to specific client needs, but IT pros will continue to be very important, says John Redmond, U.S. diversity recruiting lead. “If you look at us from a technology consulting perspective, you’re looking at deep technology capabilities and strategies: solutions for optimizing IT infrastructure and streamlining and integrating the business process into more technical areas. We can address every function imaginable, from warehouse management to CRM and HR,” Redmond says.
Because Accenture’s services are so broad, it’s particularly interested in people with skills in legacy systems, he notes. “Some people think that Cobol and JCL and CICS are dead technologies, but we have folks making them relevant in today’s environment. We need people who know everything from legacy skills to bleeding edge .net, Java and all the ERPs, SAP and Oracle possibilities. All those skills, from soup to nuts, are available from us.”
The company might bring in techies on the analyst level, which requires three to five years of experience, or consultants, managers or senior execs with fifteen-plus years of experience. New college grads go through “robust training” for their specific roles, Redmond says.
In its diversity recruiting Accenture is closely aligned with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE). “We leverage local city chapters and college chapters, and also take a regional and national approach with them, including their annual career fairs,” Redmond says.
Partnerships with historically black colleges and universities include Clark Atlanta, Spelman, Morehouse, Florida A&M, North Carolina A&T, Hampton, Howard and Prairie View. Accenture also works with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which has an annual career fair in New York, NY for public HBCU students.
To promote diversity awareness among employees, Accenture’s comprehensive orientation introduces a “strong culture of core values,” deJongh says. Employees have a “shared accountability to promote an inclusive and diverse environment, and that starts when they
first come in,” she adds. Leadership development and management training also focus on diversity issues.
Accenture’s diversity council is made up of eight to ten senior leaders. The company’s diversity advisory forum brings together about twenty next-generation leaders to drive initiatives forward, deJongh says. They link up globally via telepresence technology.
Accenture also has employee resource groups focused on African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, women, men, LGBT, interfaith, work/life, military veterans and people with disabilities. A group for “experienced hires” focuses on incoming employees.
Mentoring exists, but mainly on an informal basis. “We’ve learned over the years that it comes down to the right connection, and the one you make for yourself is best,” deJongh says. But every employee does have a career counselor: an assigned coach who has “shared accountability” for that person’s development.
The company has a strong commitment to work-life balance, including telecommuting, flextime and job sharing. There’s paid time off for employees to deal with personal crises, and Accenture provides domestic partner benefits.
Employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities, Redmond adds. “It’s part of
our core values. People are amazed by the efforts of our folks in communities where they live and work.”
DeJongh reiterates that Accenture, with clients from many countries and cultures, sees diversity as a key element of corporate success. “We offer the best talent with distinct experience, culture, background and perspective,” she says. “We’ll put together a team representative of those. Collaboration is important, and at the end of the day it comes down
to a comfortable fit.”
||No formal HQ. This global company has facilities in fifty-two countries and clients in more than 120 countries
||Global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing