12 minute read 10 Sep 2020
Urban landscape of colorful buildings.

The importance of Diversity and Inclusiveness

By

EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

12 minute read 10 Sep 2020

Greater diversity and inclusive environments drive better decision-making, stimulate innovation and increase organizational agility – crucial to helping our stakeholders respond to the now, prepare for the next and reframe their future.

Diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) are core to who we are and how we work. To help EY clients tackle their toughest challenges we need the best ideas from the broadest group of people, who in turn, should feel that they belong, that their unique contributions are valued and their voices are heard.

At EY we have been on our D&I journey for decades. And while we have made substantial progress, under our global NextWave strategy and ambition we have committed to increasing D&I progress throughout the organization.

Including varying points of view in decision-making, operations and actions is fundamental to establishing long-term value for EY people, as well as long-term client, social and financial value. This helps us to fulfill the EY purpose of Building a Better Working World and enables all our people to have exceptional experiences.

EY people, clients and external stakeholders expect more inclusive workplaces; and we also expect more from ourselves: more accountability and more transparency. EY’s inclusive values underpin our actions and guide us daily.

The EY Global Executive, EY’s highest leadership body, has made a visible commitment to EY people and to the market to accelerate D&I at EY through signing the Global Executive Diversity & Inclusion Statement. Not only does this reinforce that D&I is a key business lever, it ensures that we hold ourselves accountable for progress, starting with the tone at the top. 

colourful boats on Phewan lake Sunrise

EY Global Executive Diversity & Inclusion Statement

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A further step up to enable greater accountability across the EY organization is the launch of the Global D&I Tracker which helps us track progress with consistent diversity and inclusiveness metrics and reporting across the organization globally.

We generate more progress, faster and more consistently around the world in alignment with the D&I Roadmap and Culture Change Continuum (pdf), EY’s approach and methodology for D&I that sets out our journey. 

The roadmap is brought to life across EY by the EY Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Steering Committee (GDISC), co-chaired by EY Global Chairman and CEO, Carmine Di Sibio and EY Global Vice Chair – Diversity & Inclusiveness, Karyn Twaronite

Its members, drawn from across the organization, are charged with bringing the roadmap to life across EY by exploring challenges, surfacing successful practices and collaborating on solutions to accelerate positive progress. In 2020, EY was again named the top organization for Executive Diversity Councils by DiversityInc magazine.

Diversity and inclusiveness means growth

The ability to invite, leverage and learn from different perspectives is key to delivering for our clients.

Read more

  • Defining D&I at EY

    Diversity is about differences. At EY we think broadly about differences, such as nationality, language, education, gender and gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, generation, age, socioeconomic background, working and thinking styles, religious background, abilities and disabilities, experiences, career paths, technical skills and identity dimensions defined and constructed by some societies in ethnic, color, cultural, or racial terms. There are also differences according to geography, service line, sector and function.

    Inclusiveness is about leveraging these differences to create an environment where all EY people feel, and are, valued for who they are, have a sense of belonging, and are inspired to contribute their personal best in every encounter.

EY’s commitment to address discrimination and advance social equity 

Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, has pledged to make sure at EY our actions match our words both internally and in our communities. As tragic violence in the US sparked protests and demonstrations around the world, it highlighted a long history of injustice across societies. Recognizing that EY has the power to be stewards of change and do more to advance justice, inclusion and equity, we have made commitments across the EY organization to drive strategic change within EY and the communities where we work.

To support these commitments for further progress, we’ve also set up the Global Social Equity Task Force (GSET). This group will help accelerate EY’s commitment and prioritize cohesive global actions specifically addressing inequity and discrimination, including racism. It includes a cross-section of EY leaders spanning geographies, service lines, functions and representing a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.

As two country examples of our broader global response, see EY’s commitments to anti-racism actions in both the US and the UK.

Businessman and businesswoman discussing project

Chapter 1: Inclusive leadership in times of crisis

Strengthening inclusive leadership behaviors is key

Inclusive leadership amplifies the positive impact of our connections with one another, and is essential to cultivating a sense of safety, trust and belonging, especially during challenging times.

The world has experienced unprecedented events this past year, including the pandemic and the global resonance of tragic violence in the US, signaling that the broader issues of inequity and racism are not unique to a single country or group. Through these difficult times, EY leaders have come together to actively listen to the stories and needs of those impacted to affirm connectedness, solidarity and support for EY people in a time of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Inputs from these sessions will mobilize action plans and support EY’s global commitment to act as stewards of change against injustice and discrimination, and to strive for equity across the EY organization.

As we navigate together through times of global crisis and help EY clients do the same, strengthening inclusive leadership behaviors is key – from role modeling and holding others accountable, to equitable decision-making, to checking-in and building connections with empathy and curiosity.

The importance of belonging

Cultivating a sense of belonging at work is the key ingredient to increase engagement, productivity and innovation.

Learn more about belonging

EY Pride building

Chapter 2: Supporting inclusion across differences

Driving positive change

EY people are made up of diverse talent and perspectives. We recognize all differences through raising awareness, building understanding and sparking conversations internally with EY leaders and people, and externally with clients about inclusion in the workplace.

We are proud of our progress and know these are ongoing conversations. Below are a few examples of our actions.

  • How can embracing disabilities expand our capabilities?

    EY co-founder Arthur Young trained as a lawyer. After losing much of his eyesight and becoming deaf, he could no longer practice courtroom law. He turned to the emerging profession of accounting, which offered opportunities to use his skills in new ways. His disability drove him to innovation and entrepreneurship, which remain cornerstones of  the EY organization today.

    Today, more than one billion people around the world are living with a disability, including EY people and clients. Eighty percent of people with a disability acquire it between the ages of 18 and 64 – their prime working years. We have a responsibility to promote a dialogue – within EY and with other organizations – about how disability inclusion leads to better business outcomes and greater feelings of belonging and inclusion.

    In 2019, EY signed onto the Valuable 500 (pdf), a global campaign calling for 500 of the most influential businesses to ignite systemic change by unlocking the business, social and economic value of the one billion people living with disabilities globally.

    We committed to put disability inclusion on our leadership agenda to ignite change and unlock business value.

    We also united our global workforce for a Global Disability Inclusion campaign and proudly recognized the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) on 3 December 2019, to signify our solidarity and commitment to disability inclusion. More than 30 local events around the world took place, from New York to Dublin to Brisbane. Amplified by EY leaders’ voices around the world, the campaign also generated discussion on how organizations can advance disability inclusion.

    Around the world, local disability inclusion efforts include our focus on dyslexia, our Neurodiversity Centers of Excellence and partnering with disability inclusion organizations in Hong Kong and Singapore to recruit and hire talent with disabilities.

  • 25 years of advancing LGBT+ workplace inclusion

    Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people around the world still face social exclusion and discrimination, just for being themselves.

    In a time of uncertainty and potential isolation, this can be amplified.

    This year EY continued to champion and support the LGBT+ community around the world and advance LGBT+ inclusion through marking 25 years of Unity, EY’s LGBT+ network.

    Founded in 1995, the network was one of the first of its kind in the private sector in the UK and was the first employee-led network at EY. There are now 4,750 members in more than 70 countries and territories around the world.

    Through Unity and other global advocacy efforts, the ambition is to serve as an example to EY clients and other organizations who are looking to increase their LGBT+ inclusion efforts and to offer guidance to others.

    To support this work, EY has sponsored and co-developed research to show the impact of advancing LGBT+ inclusion, including Opening up the World, Out in the World, Making It Real Globally, and Out Leadership’s Ally Up: Ally is a Verb research, launched in June 2020.

    This research and history of convening gives the EY organization a unique opportunity as a founding sponsor in the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality (PGLE) and original signatory of the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to elevate visibility of the impact of LGBT+ inclusion.

    Focus on allyship

    As a part of EY’s LGBT+ inclusion efforts, we also focus on authentic and powerful conversations with allies within and outside of EY.

    • In the Global Delivery Service practice in India, a webinar series used storytelling to bring focus on allyship and creating safe spaces for LGBT+ employees. Stories shared ranged from colleagues with gay children to family members who are proud allies as well as workplace allies leading inclusion efforts at clients, and more.
    • Patrick Winter, EY Asia-Pacific Area Managing Partner, joined Unity leaders for a ‘Breaking the silence’ webcast to share and hear personal stories within EY about how we are speaking out and standing up to discrimination and harassment.
    • In the Americas, more than 100 EY professionals have participated in the online Ally2Advocate program, a self-directed interactive tool that allows participants to expand their allyship skills and self-identify as LGBT+ allies. Unity also hosted a global webcast on Bi+ inclusion to raise awareness and build allyship for bisexual communities.
    • And across EMEIA, a network of LGBT+ allies has been created to affect the culture change needed to support LGBT+ people in being themselves at work. More than 2,000 allies have registered from across EMEIA, and an allies’ website holds a directory of members and additional materials to help EY people be effective LGBT+ allies. 
    Supporting LGBT+ professionals and families

    In the US, EY’s progressive policies support a more inclusive working world, such as our Pathways to Transition program which offers assistance with gender affirmation medical care, and our Pathways to Parenthood program, which offers support with surrogacy and family leave for all. Watch Joe Matuszewski, an EY US partner, share his family’s story of adoption.

  • Accelerating women’s equality

    A critical component of the EY D&I agenda concerns the advancement of women.

    Based on our experience and the momentum of our Women. Fast forward (WFF) platform, EY is guiding how every person – women, men, trans women, non-binary and gender non-conforming people – and organization – corporations, non-profits, governments, schools and others – across the world recognize and advance women through specific commitments designed to accelerate change.

    Three pillars make up the WFF platform:

    • Women entrepreneurs, including EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women, a global community of nearly 600 members, including women founders who are working on everything from cures for Alzheimer’s to protecting companies from cyber threats.
    • Women in business, including the EY Women Athletes Business Network, which supports and celebrates the unique leadership skills of female athletes. Since 2016, EY has hired 19 Olympians and elite athletes. Learn how winning on the playing field can translate to success in the boardroom.
    • Women and technology, including the Women in Technology program (WiT) program which focuses on closing the gender gap in technology and creating an environment where girls and women are encouraged to enter, remain and thrive in the sector.

    Accelerating equality is an economic imperative that creates higher growth, increased prosperity and stronger communities. This acceleration is key to building a better working world and helping our stakeholders to challenge: what more can they do to ensure that #SheBelongs?

    Everyday #SheBelongs

    EY calls on all EY people and networks to make sure that #SheBelongs. We believe that gender equality is not a problem to solve; rather gender equality is the solution to business and society’s most complex challenges. This year we celebrated one of these special days, International Women’s Day, externally and across our organization globally – to drive awareness of the importance of gender equality.

    By thinking differently, acting differently and engaging differently we can all help ensure that #SheBelongs. #SheBelongs is more than a hashtag – it’s a reminder that today more than ever, women belong at all levels of decision-making. We are proud to take an active role in advocating for women and leading by example so that #SheBelongs.

Summary

Including varying points of view in our decision-making, operations and actions is fundamental to establishing long-term value for EY people, as well as long-term client, social and financial value. This helps us to fulfil our purpose of Building a Better Working World and enables all EY people to have exceptional experiences.

About this article

By

EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization