The teams that we are working with in 2021 are more diverse than ever. We all have unique values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors. Our diversity is a strength, and having unique talent and perspectives drives organizational and individual performance forward. However, the real benefits of diversity like innovation, creativity, and financial gain can only be realized in an inclusive environment where individuals feel like they are valued and belong.
How do you set your team up to thrive in an environment where they feel like they belong?
Building that sense of inclusivity starts with leadership. Every decision we make as leaders, whether it be about business objectives, finances, or everyday actions, requires us to deeply consider the effects it will have on our team, our clients, and our community. Leaders who truly practice inclusive leadership ensure every member of their teams feels a sense of belonging and has the resources and support they need to achieve their full potential. Keep reading for three ways to foster belonging on your team through inclusive leadership.
Change your perspective. Being an inclusive leader requires us to view everything through the lens of inclusion. This lens helps you get a clearer focus on the areas where your actions, biases, or work culture need improvement. And by addressing those areas, you can strengthen your team’s sense of unity and ultimately create a work environment built on trust.
Reflect on your current behavior. It is essential that we ask ourselves the questions that will make us think about being equitable and inclusive in every aspect of our work and interactions. So, when leading with inclusion, we can ask ourselves: How are we communicating, delegating, and giving feedback? Have we created psychological safety to minimize threat responses from our team? Are we leading with empathy whenever possible?
Take action. After changing your perspective and self-reflecting, it’s time to take action to create an ecosystem built on trust where our people feel supported and set up for success. Inclusion requires active, intentional, and ongoing efforts to promote a sense of belonging for every employee, client, community member, and strategic partner. Not only does it involve policies and practices, it also requires the ability to envision and enact new ways of leading.
Across levels and functions, leaders need tools, resources, and support as they improve their ability to identify and mitigate bias, respect differences, build empathetic relationships, foster allyship, manage conflict, and bring out the best in their team.
Join us on December 9th for a community webinar in which we will discuss this (and other) key leadership lessons from 2021, as well as how to set your people up to thrive in 2022 and beyond! Whether you are preparing to move into a leadership role, have been promoted recently into leadership, or have been a people leader for many years, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn how to create a high-performing team culture where everyone feels like they belong.
Accenture is turning the spotlight on our women in tech.
Along with taking actionable steps to reset tech culture—expected to double the number of women in tech in the next 10 years—the report reminds us that learning from the voices of our women in tech drives innovation and transformation every day.
Career advice from women in tech
Meet five women at different stages of their technology careers, working in a rapidly growing industry landscape where diverse perspectives are the lifeblood to innovation.
From ethical artificial intelligence and laboratory R&D to platform partnership management, learn how these successful women are driving their career paths forward in new and exciting ways. They share important advice they wish they'd had when starting their journeys.
Technology Senior Analyst, 3 years in technology
What I do: I specialize in client-facing communication and present demos and stories to clients, engaging them in our team's work. I also help create custom websites and applications for clients, working end to end across platforms to solve unique problems.
Best part of my work: I think outside of the box and create something that was never imagined before.
My advice: Don't be intimidated by the size or the rapid pace of the technology industry—just go for it. Take classes and keep learning; there are hundreds of classes that highlight different parts of the industry. We offer all kinds of unique learning and development opportunities at Accenture.
Remember to believe in yourself. When I started in my career, I was overwhelmed by the many different aspects of technology. The best way to get rid of those fears is to try everything.
Blockchain Segment Lead, 11 years in technology
What I do: I lead blockchain partnerships in enterprise technology. My work is all about innovation and problem solving; I get to take all the pieces of information and figure out how they fit together.
Best part of my work: I come to work and every day feels like a blank piece of paper. There's so much room to innovate and create—it's an addictive feeling.
My advice: Trust your instincts. If you think something is right, raise your voice and speak up. At the start of my career, I spent a lot of time second-guessing myself, researching twice before I raised information in a meeting.
Time is important; be known as a thought leader and creator of ideas, not just one who's validating ideas. Believe in yourself—there is so much value you can contribute.
Americas Tech Innovation Lead, 23 years in technology
What I do: I lead our innovation capabilities focused on technology across North America and Latin America. This includes research and development, open innovation and rapid-prototyping capabilities to help identify, shape and scale emerging technology solutions.
Best part of my work: Technology has tremendous potential to be a catalyst for change and hope. Opportunities are growing fast; innovation is being amplified like never before and technology continues to have a significant influence in our lives.
My advice: Have confidence and don't worry too much about what you don't know. Frequently, we get in the trap of thinking, "I can't take that role because I am underqualified," or, "I don't know as much as everybody else." Take a leap into things you are not comfortable with and always be ready to learn—you'll build confidence along the way.
Responsible AI Lead, 9 years in technology
What I do: I facilitate the integration of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) into client solutions. I think about the implications of AI and work with people to create solutions, and I see the results of what we've planned and built.
Best part of my work: As a social scientist, I design experiments and interventions that make a difference.
My advice: Pursue what you find interesting. Acquire as many transferrable skills as you can. Learn how to learn—that's most important. Figure out the process of acquiring new information and leverage what you've learned in another field, another industry.
Be brave. If you are stuck in an environment where you don't feel valued, leverage your skills and move somewhere you do.
Technology Research & Development Executive, 15 years in technology
What I do: I'm a leader in Accenture Labs, responsible for a global systems and platforms research and development group. Our projects include semantic modeling, edge analytics and robotics.
Best part of my work: Tech is like magic. I'm constantly learning and finding ways to apply technology, then seeing it in action in the world. It's so inspiring to learn all the time.
My advice: Believe in yourself and advocate for yourself. Nobody knows you or values you as much as you do. It took me a long time to figure that out.
Innovation is part of our DNA at Accenture. Read more about the transformational work we do, every day.
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health has always been important, but has been an especially important topic to focus on during these last four weeks, when people of color have continued to suffer disproportionately from COVID-19 while also fighting for racial justice all across the country.
To continue the conversation, we wanted to highlight PowerToFly clients who are working to support the mental health of the people of color on their teams. Our hope is that employees and candidates seeing these initiatives will feel supported and encouraged—and that other companies will be inspired to follow suit.
Freddie Mac partners with the experts
"Supporting mental well-being is more important than ever. The global pandemic and recent civil unrest have shaped an environment that is especially ripe for generating emotional stress and triggers that may exacerbate or induce mental health conditions," explains Freddie Mac manager Sarah Crump. "We are committed to a stigma-free, inclusive culture and endeavor to support employees the best we can. We developed internal campaigns to share resources—including ones tailored for the Black community and allies—from our partner the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We also have increased communications around our Employee Assistance Program and raised the visibility of our workplace counselor."
Learn more about Freddie Mac here.
MINDBODY centers wellness in everything they do
"Mindbody recognizes the systemic inequalities surrounding an individual's wellbeing specific to mental health, especially people of a minority demographic," says manager Morgen Monie. "We are committed to providing our employees and customers an environment where you can be your authentic self as a part of our team, or when working with our team." She highlights specific initiatives available to employees:
- Employee Assistance Program: paid-for visits for team members to meet with a medical professional, councilor, or advisor in topics pertaining to all dimensions of wellness.
- Wellbeing Day & Volunteer Day: days given to employees to take care of themselves, their families, and give back to an organization of their choice
- Free telehealth access, ensuring consistent access regardless of geography
- Free virtual wellness classes taught by Mindbody team members, including yoga and meditation
Learn more about MINDBODY here.
Relativity makes it easier to ask for help
"People often feel shame in admitting mental health struggles, so it's vital to normalize having open conversations about it at home and in the workplace," says Senior Wellness & HR Program Manager Cherry Mangat. "Minorities face additional barriers such as fewer resources, less dialogue and more stigma, so they're less likely to seek help. Especially today, these factors are magnified. Relativity aims to foster an environment where everyone feels welcome, safe and free to be themselves. We've focused on key areas such as launching an employee resource group focused on mental health, adding the Headspace mindfulness app, offering company-wide training, and creating a role dedicated to employee wellness."
Learn more about Relativity here.
Procore creates a culture of inclusion
"As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I feel fortunate to work for a company like Procore that puts their employees first and encourages us to do the same for our families," says Cynthia Griffin, Senior Recruiter at Procore. "Procore's African Descent Council (PAC) has been a pivotal part of my growth at Procore and has given me a sense of belonging and community that I continue to lean on today. Through our partnerships with Joyable and ComPsych Guidance Resources, we also have access to counselors, coaching, and other interactive resources that provide us with personalized support."
Learn more about Procore here.
Smartsheet shifts priorities to center mental health
"With work and life becoming increasingly intertwined amidst a global pandemic and the fight for racial justice, employers have a responsibility to both support and actively encourage good mental health practices among their employees," says Katie Bouwkamp, Smartsheet's Director of Global Culture Communications. "Smartsheet has made this a priority, adding several employer-sponsored benefits this year, [including] BetterHelp online counseling, a paid mental health day, and a 10-session wellbeing series. We've also made space for employees to share their own experiences and resources, including an employee-led workshop on mental health during uncertain times. This combination of employer- and employee-owned initiatives has allowed for more authenticity as we continue promoting good mental health."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
PwC uses tech to support self-care
"At PwC, people are given the 'green light' to talk with a trusted colleague or expert help," says a PwC spokesperson. "The firm offers a comprehensive set of benefits around mental health and well-being through their Be Well, Work Well initiatives, including providing free 24/7 access to a coach or therapist through a mental health app and new benefits including executive coaches that provide 1:1 and group well-being sessions, access to meditation apps and the creation of an internal social networking community. The firm has also introduced racial trauma counseling in conjunction with the six actions they are taking with respect to racial justice."
Learn more about PwC here.
MongoDB destigmatizes mental health
"We want to break the stigma around mental health and provide employees with valuable tools and the support they need, at work and beyond, to face life's challenges," says Danielle James, D&I Manager at MongoDB. "We offer mental health programs where employees can receive confidential assistance from qualified professionals, including Employee Assistance programs, and free access to Headspace and therapy sessions. We host company and department-specific days off to support mental health, and regularly organize internal events to destigmatize mental health, including an employee panel sponsored by the CEO and educational sessions with health partners. Learn more about our benefits and read one employee's mental health journey."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Autodesk recognizes the importance of mental health
"Mental health is as important to our wellbeing as physical health," says Industry Marketing Manager Leona Frank. "Supporting the mental health of minority employees through robust programs and accessibility to resources recognizes the impact of racial trauma on the community. It is not easy to experience tragic and repeated examples of racial violence and injustice in our world, and then come to work and be fully present as if nothing has happened to our hearts and communities." She says that taking care of employees' mental health is "good business," noting, "Mentally healthy employees make better collaborators, can drive innovation, and are more productive. Overall, they have resiliency that allows them to respond effectively to critical business needs. At Autodesk, we are provided with tools and resources like Bravely that helps us connect with a professional coach, Flexible Leave policies, including extended paid time off, parental leave, and caretaker leave, and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that give employees access to confidential assistance."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Raytheon Technologies fosters a culture of learning through experts
"Our Raytheon Technologies Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a rich resource of information and resources to assist all of our employees," says Raytheon Technologies' Kaley Young. "We have on-site EAP consultants that provide short-term, solution- focused counseling to employees and their family members on a variety of issues, including those issues that impact employees from a minority background such as the effects of racism on mental health, medical care, and housing. Additionally, the on-site consultants [teach] seminars [like] 'Having Difficult Conversations During Times of Social Unrest.'"
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.