Global Diversity Leader
Diversity creates a positive working environment in which everybody feels included, which is a key lever in terms of motivation and commitment. The fact that we are, in essence, a people business makes it even more important for us because the greatest engine of innovation is diversity of thought.
From my perspective, there are three reasons why diversity is of strategic importance for BearingPoint. First of all, by being diverse, we bring more value to our clients because a mix of talent enables innovation. Secondly, our clients are increasingly diverse and they expect us to mirror their setup. The third point is that diversity has become a competitive advantage when recruiting young professionals and the best people, as they come to us with questions on our progress regarding diversity.
In 2017, we made progress on awareness and understanding the richness that diversity brings to our performance, to employee well-being, and as a value proposition to our clients. We have selected and promoted e-learning for both consultants and management. In addition to local events including testimonials from diverse executive leaders, we have initiated a firm-wide “Diversity Innovation Challenge” which generated 49 ideas from our colleagues on how to bring more diversity into our culture. This was an amazingly high response rate which demonstrated to us that this isn’t just a top-down initiative. Our people have a real need and desire to make this successful in our business. It was also encouraging for us to see that our last promotion of new Partners was more diverse than ever.
Regarding measurement, we applied a key principle of our day-to-day client work to our own initiative. If you want to improve a process within an organization, you have to be able to measure your actions. So, we agreed on KPIs and targets for the diversity initiative at country level. We also have the target of having 20% female Partners by 2020, and a target of 40% of employees being female by 2020.
There is still much to do and we will enforce several initiatives regarding gender stereotypes, for example, by developing in-depth training around all these key topics. We aim to strengthen our network by developing a mentoring program for young women that might even include an association with selected clients. We also plan to increase our footprint on aspects other than gender, for example diversity of generations. There are so many layers of diversity. We started with a focus on gender diversity, but that’s only the beginning. At the end of the day, we want to see a rich, diverse, and inclusive culture embedded in our values and guiding principles. Diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, and generations are intrinsic parts of our firm. There is still much to do and actions speak louder than words. So in the meantime let’s be the change and celebrate differences!