Deloitte is shifting away from traditional diversity groups built around gender, race, ethnicity, veteranship or sexual orientation.
After 24 years, WIN, the women’s initiative at Deloitte, will end. Over the next 18 months the company will also phase out Globe, a diversity group which supports gay employees, and groups focused solely on veterans or minority employees.
The firm has emphasized that it is still focused on increasing the numbers of women and minorities in its workforce but not by keeping everyone separate.
Instead the global giant professional services firm will embrace the so-called “Inclusion Councils” which will bring together a variety of viewpoints to work on diversity issues. It is also an attempt to bring into the conversation and get a broader buy-in from the majority of its white male employees.
The firm has allayed any fears and instead confirmed that it will still focus on gender parity and underrepresented groups albeit differently. The new approach is partly influenced by it’s millennial workforce which comprises 57 percent of all employees.
Beside Deloitte’s leadership which associates the diversity groups (Employee Resource Groups – RGG’s) with Baby Boomers and Generation X, the firms’ millennials have expressed their dislike toward the same and termed it corporate demographic pigeonholes.
Deloitte hopes that through this new initiative, it will bring all it’s people on board and end up with more allies, advocates, and sponsors.
The traditional diversity groups had a bottleneck in that the majority of its business leaders who are white could not effectively advocate or sponsor certain initiatives which they knew nothing about since they were never part of the conversations.
This move by Deloitte about the need to turn the page has left many global diversity advocates surprised.
DiversityInc an online diversity publication has criticized the move and termed it a mistake.
Instead of abandoning the traditional diversity concept, the publication had advised Deloitte to focus on increasing inclusion of white males and others in its business resource groups.
PwC, a competitor of Deloitte, doesn’t plan to change its diversity system which focuses on women and minorities. It says that it’s affinity groups are focused on business outcomes and that they always come together to sponsor events that provide cultural awareness, mentoring, and opportunities to network.
Unlike Deloitte, PwC still believes there is tremendous value in having individual diversity groups to provide more leadership opportunities to their members.
All eyes will be on Deloitte to see how this actual diversity approach will change and how it will translate to it business numbers and employee engagement stats. It will also be interesting to see if other large companies will soon follow suit.