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Accenture in India and its Focus on Omni-connected Employee Experiences

Accenture in India and its Focus on Omni-connected Employee Experiences

The company believes that the focus should be on creating omni-connected experiences for its employees so that they can contribute regardless of where they work from

FLEXI WORKING: Lakshmi C., MD and Lead-Human  Resources, Accenture in India FLEXI WORKING: Lakshmi C., MD and Lead-Human Resources, Accenture in India

At the age of 28, Shyamala Iyer underwent nine surgeries and 13 chemotherapy cycles to fight breast cancer. She lost all her hair and was mentally distraught. After a discussion with her team leads, she joined back work at Accenture in India to take her mind off the treatment. “I was given the flexibility to work according to my pace. And when the time came, I was promoted. That made me realise that the work I do matters more than any leave of absence that I may have taken,” says Iyer who is a HR Partner Specialist, Corporate Functions at Accenture in India.

Accenture prides itself on its HR policies that focus on strengthening its culture of equality and belonging for all, the holistic well-being of its people and investing in their learning and career growth. It is because of the experience of employees like Iyer that Accenture in India is one of the top names in the BT-Taggd Best Companies to Work For in India ranking this year.

In 2017, Accenture announced it will achieve a gender-balanced workforce across the world by 2025. It is close to achieving that in India, where it employs more than 250,000 people. Over 45 per cent of Accenture’s employees in India are women and they comprise over 24 per cent of its leadership team, including Chairperson and Senior Managing Director Rekha M. Menon. Between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021, 49 per cent of Accenture’s all new hires in India were women. Last December, women represented 48 per cent of all promotions and 33 per cent of promotions at the MD level in India. “We sustained our focus on strengthening our culture of equality through the last year by being even more intentional about how we attract, grow and develop our diverse people—women, people with disabilities and from the LGBT+ community,” says Lakshmi C., MD and Lead-Human Resources, Accenture in India. The company has curated unique learning and development programmes for women. Last year it launched CyberHER, designed to build deep technical skills amongst women employees in cybersecurity. Its High-Tech Women Edge and Quantum Impact programmes focus on fast-tracking the careers of high-performing women technologists.

Accenture also focusses on supporting people from the LGBT+ community and people with disabilities. “In early 2021 we modified our parental leave policies, such as our maternal, paternal, adoption and surrogacy leave, to focus on the importance of caregiving versus gender-binaries,” says Lakshmi. Its life insurance nomination now includes partners of people who identify as LGBT+.

“We have enabled our people with disabilities to work effectively from home with the help of the right technology and tools including assistive technologies and ergonomic adjustments,” says Lakshmi. It also understands the importance of flexi working. “No one size fits all and therefore our approach to how, when and where our people work will vary by business, team, and the type of work our people do. Accordingly, we are not setting one date for all our people to return to office, because it will vary,” says Lakshmi. Accenture has had flexible working policies for certain roles even before the pandemic, which changed to nearly 100 per cent. To enable work from home, it extended a $250 allowance to purchase furniture, etc. “When we think about the future of work, we look beyond spaces and places and focus on creating omni-connected experiences for our people to form connections with each other and with our clients so that regardless of where one works, everyone can contribute equally,” says Lakshmi.

Accenture is setting up a presence in cities such as Jaipur, Indore and Coimbatore. “We are ensuring that our people have a healthy balance between the flexibility they need and the in-person connection time which is vital, both to their professional development and growth, and to the success of our client relationships. Our presence in these select cities will provide our people with work options that fulfil both these needs,” says Lakshmi.

Accenture provides its employees the options to move across teams enabling boundary-less career opportunities. Says Mohona Dey, Senior Manager-Functional Strategy, Accenture in India, who made a shift from sales to consulting when she joined Accenture, “The transition was made easy thanks to the accelerated learning path that Accenture offered to me and the hands-on exposure of working across industry sectors.” Last year, Accenture extended a one-time thank you bonus to all employees up to associate director level and promoted a record 120,000 people globally. “Besides our annual December cycle, we added multiple rounds of promotions through the year so as to be more agile as we made investments in our people’s growth and accelerated career progression for our high performers,” says Lakshmi.

Accenture is also focussed on building a pipeline of future leaders. “For all critical leadership roles, we periodically look at matching aspirations, skills and opportunities so as to create business resilience. Our ongoing performance achievement process helps us capture aspirations, which then helps us keep our succession plans refreshed,” says Lakshmi. It runs leadership development programmes for existing leaders as well as future leaders. There is a special one for women. “For high-potential women, we adopt a 4R approach—Right Skill, Right Role, Right Client and Right Sponsor and have 6-9-month-long on-the-job learning programmes to accelerate their advancement to leadership roles,” she says.

While Accenture does not share country-wise attrition rates, it was 14 per cent for the company as a whole last year. Accenture globally has a strength of 674,000 people. Millennial and GenZ employees make up nearly 90 per cent of the workforce of Accenture in India.

The company encourages employees to set personalised priorities; the performance management process helps managers to focus on these priorities and share continuous feedback. “Our purpose, which is to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity, shapes our overall growth strategy and priorities,” says Lakshmi.