The following is written by Deloitte Canada, Host Sponsor of The Gender Equality Forum 2017.
At Deloitte, we recognize that inclusion is key to solving the most complex and pressing issues facing our clients and communities. We aspire to be the most inclusive professional services firm in Canada, one essential reason we believe Deloitte is the sought-after destination for Canada’s top talent.
We actively support and advocate for gender equality in corporate leadership and on boards. Achieving this will benefit our firm, our clients and our country. That’s why Deloitte contributed to the development of the Women’s Empowerment Principles – and why we were among the first organizations to sign the statement of support in 2010.
In fact, inclusion is so important to our mission that our Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Frank Vettese, assumed the role of Chief Inclusion Officer last year. He has long shown unwavering support for women and for championing diversity and inclusion at Deloitte, receiving the prestigious UN Women’s Empowerment Principles’ Cultural Change for Empowerment Leadership Award in 2015.
This championship approach has been adopted by our firm’s entire leadership team. They are held accountable for advancing diversity and inclusion within the firm on a number of fronts:
- By ensuring new partner admissions are increasingly diverse each year, including building the representation of women and visible minorities.
- Leaders of our service areas are as accountable for inclusion goals as they are for others, such as financial growth.
- By signing the Catalyst accord in April 2014, the firm altered its board by-laws with a commitment to having at least 25 percent women on our Canadian Board of Directors. At present, we have exceeded that goal: we currently have 40 percent women on our board, and 22 percent on our leadership team.
The business case for inclusion
We believe diversity and inclusion is a business imperative. Our 2016 report, The future belongs to the bold, for example, ties inclusion to business performance. The report shows that courageous companies drive stronger outcomes by following five tenets, including “unite to include.” Our research also found that courageous businesses pursue growth more aggressively than their fearful peers. And that while only 11 percent of Canadian businesses were found to be truly courageous, 30 percent are on the cusp of it.
Encouraging diversity of thought is also a key driver of growth as having people from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences, thinking styles and capabilities increases our ability to think innovatively. We also know a focus on inclusion and gender equality helps us recruit and develop top talent, allowing us to better reflect the composition of our clients’ organizations and broadens our perspectives to improve decision-making.
To that end, we have implemented a number of internal initiatives to support diversity and inclusion across the organization. An example of this is our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are self-governing communities that conduct sessions featuring role models and provide an opportunity for employees to build professional networks. Our women’s network, canWIN, recently conducted a pilot session in collaboration with Catalyst called, Engaging Men in Gender Equality, to help male colleagues understand how inclusion matters and how men can play a key role in creating change. We also have a Career Moms & Deloitte Dads group dedicated to the needs of working parents and the societal impacts of caregiving roles.
Many of our diversity & inclusion initiatives are aimed at developing and meeting the needs of women, and helping them cultivate their leadership skills, business acumen, professional networks and career opportunities. However, we must also ensure that the elements of professional development that have been historically missing for women – such as career advocacy and help navigating career paths – are in place.
We know we are having an impact in the marketplace by developing thought leadership on inclusion, embedding it in our market strategy and leading the dialogue on inclusion in external forums and with our clients. We continue to foster deep relationships with a cross-section of inclusion-related organizations. For example, Deloitte Canada is one of the founding partners, along with Catalyst Canada and McKinsey, of #GoSponsorHer, a campaign designed to drive increased levels of sponsorship of women with a publicly stated commitment via social media. In addition to serving as a sponsor himself, Frank Vettese also challenged the 32 other members of the leadership team to sponsor a high-potential woman in the firm as part of this program.
Finally, as we cultivate and deepen relationships with key external organizations, we are focused on driving diversity and inclusion in Canadian society, building a better future for us all.
The courageous challenge is to shift the positioning of Diversity and Inclusion to one of Diversity to Inclusion. One continues to count our differences …the other welcomes us all, mentors us all and unites us all on a courageous path forward to build Canada at 175. Without a union of the full diversity of our country, inclusion is hollow, but without shifting from a measuring of differences to a unification of strengths, we will not achieve the future that we need. – Duncan Sinclair, Vice Chair, Deloitte