Sun, 16 October 2016
Karyn Twaronite, the Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Officer at EY talks about the importance of having a diverse organization, how to measure diversity in your company, and what steps you can take to move forward in this space.
Karyn Twaronite is the Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Officer at EY, formerly Ernst and Young. EY provides auditing, accounting, tax, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions and advisory services to companies of all sizes around the world. They have 230,000+ employees in over 150 countries. One thing that makes EY unique is that two thirds of their employee population are members of Gen Y.
Twaronite’s role at EY is really about helping the company to appreciate the unique differences and talents of all their employees in over 150 countries. She and her team help EY learn how to allow teams to best leverage those differences in order to create higher performing teams who can provide the best client service, innovations and creative problem solving techniques. This process doesn’t just stay in the talent department. Inclusiveness and diversity affects client relations, human resources, quality of service and market/brand recognition.
How does EY make sure that their team is diverse and inclusive? As Twwaronite mentions, diversity and inclusiveness in itself is very simple, however it is made into a complicated issue due to our human nature. EY has locations all across the world and so they deal with all different types of mindsets when it comes to the subject of diversity. Some countries are more open and excited about it than others. Overall, EY takes a look at their company as a whole with studies, surveys, discussions and data to find where they have gaps in areas where they could be doing better. Once they find those areas it is important for them to implement change from the top of the company down. Twaronite says at EY benefits are for everyone, not just some people. They go to great lengths to make sure they look at not just the typical subjects of diversity such as gender and nationality, but also areas such as educational experiences and differing areas of expertise.
When looking at diversity programs Twaronite says there are 3 Cs, compliance, character, and commerce. When diversity programs first started it was all about compliance. Companies were focused solely on numbers, and while that is still important to look at, it cannot be the full picture. The second C is character. It is important for your company to take at look at itself and figure out if diversity and inclusion is something you care about and believe in. This step is very important, but again it is not the full picture. The third C is commerce and it is something that is fairly newer. It is being able to look at diversity in how it impacts your topline and bottom line. How are you attracting talent, are you attracting diverse talent, do you have representation of a lot of countries around the world? This is not only important in regards to employee experience, but also in the way of quality of service for clients. Clients nowadays are looking for diversity in teams. EY has noticed that clients pay attention to the diversity of their teams and they have several examples of how their diversity has won clients over.
How can your company measure diversity? There are several ways, but one of the most valuable things you can do is have your employees talk about themselves and their past experiences. Sometimes a team that looks homogeneous may be more diverse than you think. It is also important to conduct surveys, look at trends in your market, and keep track of data analytics.
There is still a long way for us to go globally to make improvements in the way of diversity and inclusion. There was a study done in February that was sponsored by EY where 22,000 companies from 90 different countries were studied and two major things were determined. First of all they found that 50% of these companies had no women in management positions. Secondly, they found that companies with management teams made up of 30% or more of women had 6%+ more net margin.
The problem is that as humans we have biases and preferences and moving past these can be very difficult. Learning to work with a diverse team of people who have different mindsets, backgrounds, and experiences can make the process longer and trickier. Also, not all companies have the awareness and education needed to understand how to put diverse teams in place. But companies need to realize that the results are far more successful than with homogeneous teams.
When you implement diversity and inclusion into your company you improve employee experience. Employees are more successful when they feel that they can use their unique strengths and skills everyday. Also, when companies are more inclusive their employees feel a sense of belonging which is extremely important in building trust and productiveness.
What steps can companies take to become more inclusive and diverse? Twaronite gives three pieces of advice. First, look outside of yourself. Make sure you look at your industry and market to see what other companies are doing. Find some companies that you admire in this capacity and learn what programs and policies they have in place. Second, look inside of your company. Find some problems within your company that you want to solve. Find the most critical gaps and focus on those. Do you need to improve how your team deals with customer needs? Do you need to better balance out your teams?. Third, use data to measure your growth. Listen to your employees, conduct surveys, pay attention to analytics to make sure you are not just putting a plan into place, but that you are taking action.
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