Society is diverse and the variations within are many. We see that in our own organisation and also at our clients - our conversational partners increasingly have different cultural backgrounds. Our Connected Cultures encourages the connection between colleagues with (widely) diverse backgrounds. Connected Cultures is a network where PwC colleagues can easily find each other to exchange ideas about diverse work-related and social issues. We also bring forward difficult social issues to open up conversation around them within PwC.
With this network we pay attention to cultural and religious holidays and organise an annual event around a relevant theme like leadership, profiling, networking, etc. In addition to this annual meeting, we also have periodic catch-up sessions and we meet monthly with our lead ambassadors of the different business units to discuss the developments there. Furthermore, we pay extra attention to the onboarding process of colleagues with a diverse cultural background. And we organise virtual walking sessions where people can exchange thoughts during confidential conversation with one of our board members.
Connected Cultures engages in dialogue with external parties about inclusion and diversity and exchanges best practices. We are also connected to the Agora network, a national multicultural network of big organisations. Agora Network is a foundation that unites talented individuals with roots from all over the world to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences and networks. People and organisations are stimulated to exploit the power of different backgrounds and perspectives. PwC works with Agora to organise an annual mentoring programme where participants learn from the diversity that everyone brings with them to the workplace.
In 2013, PwC started the Cultural Awareness programme aimed at the inclusion of talent with a diverse cultural background. We do this through for instance Connected Cultures and different awareness programmes. We have learned that small changes can also have a big impact. We now offer halal food, provide quiet rooms and have made two holidays optional so colleagues can exchange them for holidays fitting within their own religious background. We also annually present the Inclusion & Diversity calendar to our colleagues and to clients, raising awareness of the holidays from different cultures.
We all felt the vulnerability of diversity through the Black Lives Matter movement. In answer to that we started an internal chain letter where colleagues openly shared their personal stories. We also organised dialogue sessions about our inclusive culture, about the impact of our prejudices and how we want to connect with each other.
Also read the interview with PwC colleagues Pauline Mbundu and Remold Krol where they talk about the internal chain letter kick started by the Black Lives Matter movement, about racism and discrimination, inclusion and diversity.
In 2017 we started a project in collaboration with the international student organisation AIESEC to create work experience placements for young studying or recently graduated status holders.
When we think about the ethnic background of our people, there is still a lot to be won. In 2030 we want fifteen percent of our partners/directors to have a diverse cultural background. Right now that percentage is at four. We have also set goals in line with our ambition around the SDGs. Through our predictive analyses we know that our transformation to a more diverse culture must accelerate if we are to meet our ambition. We have fine-tuned our inclusion and diversity policy further to contribute to this acceleration. We put more emphasis on personal leadership skills, a diverse succession plan, sponsoring diverse talent and challenging each other on our blind spots.