Deloitte: Exploring Cultural Diversity in partnership with Photovoice

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Business Type: Professional Services
Location: Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2.
Offices also in Belfast, Cork, Galway and Limerick
Mission Statement: Deloitte is led by a purpose: to make an impact that matters. This purpose defines who we are. It endures—transcending the everyday and binding us together. It gives us our reasons to exist. We believe that we’re only as good as the good we do. Our mission is to make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our profession, and in the wider society by delivering the solutions and insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.
No. of Employees: 2,300 in Ireland

Overview of CSR Initiative:
Project team: Respect & Inclusion Council, Photovoice participants and Dr. Maria Quinlan, UCD. The project was designed to enable us to see beyond the “otherness” of foreign national colleagues, to see individuals and to spark a greater personal connection to those from different backgrounds.
Resources required: Researcher & participants’ time, cameras, event/design support.
Challenges: The initial challenge was to encourage people to volunteer to participate in a Photovoice project without knowing exactly what Photovoice was or how the outputs might be used. The project would involve sharing personal experiences, giving up 8hrs of billable time and using photography. The next challenge was to create a safe space where people could be honest and open with each other and with the research team. The final challenge was to agree how to disseminate the results and implement actions as a result of the findings.
Benefits: Photovoice is a methodology that is typically used in social advocacy settings and has not been used in a corporate setting in Ireland (or possibly elsewhere) before. The methodology encourages people to use their voice and provides them with a platform to do so through the medium of photography. The richness of the data gathered was powerful and engaged leaders and colleagues in a way that is not possible with numbers or words. The combination of a visual image and a personal story captioning the image really touched people as to what their colleagues’ experiences were. The launch therefore provided a forum for conversations to happen in a way that hadn’t been done before. It broke down barriers and the individuals shone out from behind their nationalities or ‘otherness’.

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The high profile launch also signalled to everyone the priority given to inclusion by the firm’s leaders and sent a clear message that we strongly value everyone’s perspective and contribution. The findings from the research have also been used to shape inclusive leadership training for our leaders, to review our onboarding supports for all new joiners and our approaches to team building and social activities to ensure they are as inclusive as possible to all our people.

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Outcome: As a result of this project we have a new Cultural Diversity Network. We have also noticed a big change in awareness amongst our leaders in terms of ensuring foreign nationals are being fairly represented and included across formal and informal activities within the firm.

How was/is this initiative promoted?: This project was promoted initially by email and firm newsletters in order to attract people to volunteer as participants. The findings were then promoted via a high-profile launch event in Deloitte’s offices, opened by our CEO. A2 sized poster boards were created which have been on display in lift lobbies throughout our offices to continually promote the outcomes. We also created a printed and electronic catalogue of the research findings and photos which have been shared with our own people, with clients and other stakeholders. The project was also highlighted in our first Respect & Inclusion report published in January 2019.

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report? Deloitte publishes a specific Impact Report annually outlining all the CSR activities undertaken during the year. This report is shared internally and externally.

CSR Dimension:
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.

• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.

Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?
Deloitte’s Photovoice project supports the Workplace dimension of CSR. The project was primarily focused on giving people a stronger voice within the organisation in order for the firm to understand their perspective and enable us to continue building an inclusive culture. The project also aimed to engage the wider workforce in the inclusion agenda more broadly by trying something innovative and visual that would capture people’s imagination and empathy.

Business Impact:
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
The Photovoice project has helped us to engage our people in the inclusion agenda to a far greater extent. Our participants came from across all our departments and from 9 different countries in 4 different continents. Our leaders were enabled to see beyond the “otherness” to the individuals behind and therefore sparked a desire for greater personal connection to those from different backgrounds. The feedback has been so positive that we have been encouraged to run a second Photovoice project (with parents in the workplace). The Photovoice project has also helped move us to a new stage in our cultural maturity around inclusion. While before we may have had to push the inclusion agenda to our leaders, we now have leaders coming to our Respect & Inclusion Council asking if we can support them to drive greater inclusion by opening up conversations within their teams, reviewing training programmes, speaking at events, etc.
Longer term we hope to be able to measure the impact through retention and promotion statistics for minority groups.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
This project relates firstly to SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities by enabling people to share their own experiences of discrimination on their path towards a career at Deloitte. Although no-one shared experiences of being discriminated against at Deloitte, the stories they shared did help people to think about how unmanaged unconscious biases have the potential to discriminate against people or result in people making decisions that could lead to perpetuated inequity.
The project also related to SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing by supporting Deloitte to consider what else the firm can do to create a culture that supports everyone’s wellbeing through inclusion and a sense of belonging.

What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?

The key learnings have been around the importance of giving people a voice and a forum to be heard to enable the firm to get beyond the hard metrics to really understanding what will make a difference to people’s working lives. Having support from the CEO has also been critical to our ability to share the results and use them to implement change. We also learnt that it paid off to take a risk and try something different by having the right leadership support from the start and beginning with a small group.

Our advice would be to get buy-in and sponsorship from the top of the organisation, to engage with a diverse mix of people from across the organisation and to focus on doing one thing initially – perhaps a pilot. Then tweak and build from there.

Download a copy of this Case Study as a pdf.

Case Study provided by Deloitte
January 2019

Examples of work produced during the Photovoice project:

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