Accenture HRD on the importance of employee experience

Accenture’s HRD on the tech battle for great talent

Accenture HRD on the importance of employee experience

With COVID-19 rates still soaring in other parts of the globe, the borders to New Zealand and Australia are staying firmly shut.

Plans to reopen either country are a long way off, meaning that for employers, access to fresh talent will continue to be more limited than ever before.

With emerging digital skills gaps in both countries, attracting and retaining talented employees will be critical to business success.

HRD spoke to Accenture’s HR lead, Sarah Kruger, who said the pandemic has put employee experience at the top of the priority list.

“Being an employer of choice and becoming an organisation that people want to work for has always been important, but Covid has made it even more important,” she said.

“The ability for an organisation to attract, retain and engage peak talent has become vital. Organisations, and us in particular, are starting to look at that holistically.

“One of the ways we like to think about it is in terms of what it means for an individual to feel like part of an organisation.”

Kruger said developing a strong sense of belonging is a multi-layered equation.

Read more: Burnout and imposter syndrome – the two biggest threats facing remote workers

It involves making sure employees have rewarding and challenging work to do, creating a place they are proud to work and aligning the purpose of the business with their day-to-day contributions.

“It’s also about being an organisation that puts its money where its mouth is in that we publicly state what we want to achieve – particularly in terms of diversity and inclusion,” she said.

“We state that, we measure it and we hold our leaders accountable.”

Headed by CEO Julie Sweet, dubbed one of the “most powerful women in corporate America”, Accenture is working towards a number of diversity and inclusion goals.

In Australia and New Zealand, it has committed to reaching a 50/50 gender balance by 2025.

Currently, women make up 34.2% of the almost 5,000-strong ANZ workforce.

But closing the gap goes far beyond recruitment or renumeration.

“It’s about changing the landscape and the way people operate within the landscape to make that an equal playing field,” Kruger said.

Policies like equal paid parental leave offer greater opportunities for growth and Kruger said around 65% of those utilising Accenture’s parental leave policies are men.

Read more: How to lead when your team is tired and jaded

This year, one area of focus is on the way Accenture ANZ measures the access to promotions and opportunities within its business.

Another focus is on a holistic, whole-person approach to health and wellbeing strategy.

Where workplace health and safety was once a focus on the physical, it’s now about looking after mental health too – something that can be much harder due to its invisible nature.

“We talk about how you're able to bring your whole self to work and to do that, you need to focus on the heart, the mind, the body and the soul,” Kruger said.

“You need to feel safe in bringing who you are to work, to feel included and then you're going to achieve your best.”

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