Diversity: how Deloitte does it

Deloitte logo.

In the  June 2013 Strategy Session, I tried to write a different type of diversity story: Beyond Benetton: why diversity is more than a pretty picture. Deloitte’s Gina Campbell gave me a great interview focused on the global accounting firms specific diversity initiatives in its Calgary office. Read on the full text at Alberta Venture, or scroll on below…

Gina Campbell co-chairs the Diversity Counsel of Deloitte Calgary. The accounting firm is a global powerhouse, so it has a variety of diversity initiatives deployed globally, nationally, and regionally. Here are some of the best practices active in the firm’s Calgary office that you can learn from, no matter your industry or size:

– Make sure the leaders get it. “We’re spending a lot of time with our leadership group about diversity,” says Campbell. Not just ensuring the leaders understand diversity and inclusion—but that they know how to leverage the differences provided by a diverse workforce. “The tone from the top is key.”

– Showcase best practices. “There are pockets within our company where people have really figured this out, their teams are diverse,” Campbell says. The Diversity Counsel ensures other teams and all leaders hear these stories and are able to learn from them. Maybe what Team A is doing isn’t perfect—maybe it isn’t replicable for you—but you can always learn something from it.

– Support your people. “We give our staff opportunities to network internally, and externally, with different clients or different groups,” explains Campbell. This means supporting everyone from career moms (the firm has an internal support group that meets reguarly) to hosting events specifically focused at female clients or clients from specific cultural communities, or flying the Deloitte flag when staff attend LBGT or other events.

– Diversify your calendar. Muslim, Jewish, and Hindi holidays pop up on the Deloitte’s calendar as much as Christmas and Easter, and the firm organizes internal events celebrating or highlighting these events about once a month. “It’s not just a party,” laughs Campbell, although food tends to play a key role. The really important thing here is the communication around these events, spearheaded by a combination of people to whom they are personally important—and the firm’s “diversity champions,” who promote them because they’re vested in the firm’s diversity initiatives.

– Identify champions. Deloitte is a massive organization, big enough to have multiple Diversity Counsels. These counsels spearhead its ambitious initiatives and organize events. But what really spreads the message throughout the firm is a “network of diversity champions,” explains Campbell. These are employees who give a rat’s ass and more: people to whom cultivating diversity in their workplace and the world is key. Their job is, simply, to talk up whatever the event/priority/agenda of the moment is. And because they’re passionate, vested and involved—well. They’re effective.