Active Inclusion: The incredible journey

Back in February, the CEO for our Application Services business, Paul Margetts, made a pretty bold statement externally “Having a diverse workforce is a good business practice – it’s as simple as that”.
He also committed to “targets [which are] are bullish – for example, increasing the proportion of female graduate and apprentice hires to 40% by 2017.” Paul has been a force for action within the business, setting not only targets at our junior talent levels, but also for the rest of the business.

We’ve recognised within Capgemini that we are at the beginning of a journey to get our organisation to the place we want it to be. This journey is “Active Inclusion”. Deliberately named, because this isn’t a passive hope that things will change, but conscious activity to make a shift to complete and genuine inclusion through concerted efforts and tough changes.Ahead of our Work Life Harmony week which starts on the 3rd October, I’ve been feeling quite reflective about our active inclusion journey so far… I’ve talked about the start of my own active inclusion journey in my previous blog “Jobs for the Girls”, and whilst my role started off looking at ways of achieving a more gender balanced recruitment pipeline; as an organisation, and an Active Inclusion team, our activities have been shaped by three key facts:

  1.  We can’t solve any of our inclusion challenges through recruitment alone. Whilst reaching out to a broader group of people is a brilliant way to change the dynamics of your recruitment pipeline, it’s only going to take us so far. We needed to take a long, hard look at our culture and practices internally.
  2. This isn’t just about women. Sure, our most visible challenge might be about the gender balance of our organisation, but a diverse organisation isn’t just one which has a good gender balance. To get the best possible results for our clients, we need truly diverse teams to come up with brilliant and innovative solutions. This isn’t just about gender – it’s about race, background, beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and the many other facets which give rise to  the  richness of experience which shapes us as people, and drives creativity in teams.
  3. This is not an “HR Initiative”. Active Inclusion addresses a genuine business need, focussing on the future of talent in our business. Everyone in our organisation owns and drives these efforts, enabled by the HR and Comms teams, and most importantly, supported by our clients.

So, our mission:

We want to attract, retain and develop the best talent, from all different backgrounds.

Simple eh?

Or not – there is no one silver bullet for this. We’re a business. A pretty strong and efficient business. If there was one fix for this, we would have already deployed it. The work of evolving a business into a truly inclusive and diverse workforce is less a silver bullet, more a tiny chisel and hammer, chipping away from a myriad of different angles. To effect this change, you need a truly robust programme of activity, and terrier-like persistence, because changing the way your organisation looks and feels is hard work.

So how are we doing it? Well, we’ve identified a number of different streams of activity for this work. These reach all the way through our employee and client journey, right from shaping the future workforce through our schools activities, to ensuring that all our employees have the same opportunities to develop their careers once they join us. All these streams of work are now in flight, and seeing some brilliant results, with the proportion of women in the 2016 graduate and apprentice intake up 9% in a year, and an increase in the proportion of women being recruited into senior roles in our business.

That said, we know we are just at the start of this path – our employees genuinely are at the heart of everything we do, so we wanted to ensure that they all had their say, and we did this through running an active inclusion survey. This looked at the perceptions and experiences of all our employees in the UK, and gave everyone the opportunity to have a say in where we go next on this journey. We got a great response rate from the survey, and the input we’ve received is going to shape our agenda moving forwards.

It’s been an exceptional six months, we’ve seen some amazing shifts in the ways we work, people are galvanised and excited about this journey, and I, for one, can’t wait to see where it takes us next… Watch this space #ActiveInclusion

About the author:

Tricia Driver, Talent Diversity and Inclusion Lead, at Capgemini UK

In my role as Capgemini’s UK Talent Diversity and Inclusion Lead, my focus is ensuring that we attract, retain and develop the best possible talent from as broad a population as possible. We know that teams with a rich diversity of backgrounds and profiles are the ones which come up with cutting edge innovative solutions. We have a terrific offering for all our employees, and we want to make sure that message is out there in the market place for everyone to see. I believe that inclusion is about more than just the absence of exclusion. We have to make a proactive and concerted effort to ensure that everyone in our organisation feels completely free to be their real selves at work. That’s why I am so passionate about ensuring visibility for all kinds of relatable role models – everyone needs someone to look up to.

 

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