I&D: 60 second interview - Will Smith, Managing Partner People and Purpose, North & South Europe, Deloitte LLP
Will Smith, Managing Partner People and Purpose, North & South Europe, Deloitte LLP
As part of our plans to drive forward a more inclusive vision of doing business in London, we’ve launched a series of short interviews to find out what some of our members and Board are doing to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D). Today we hear from Will Smith, Managing Partner People and Purpose, North & South Europe, at Deloitte.
Q: Why is having an inclusive and diverse working environment so important?
It’s not just about the proven business benefits, inclusion is fundamental to who we are as an organisation – fostering inclusion is one of our shared values.
Q: What has your career journey highlighted for you in terms of the value of embracing diversity?
When I was growing up through the organisation I didn’t see any LGBTQ+ role models at senior levels, so I never knew that it was possible for people like me to succeed.
Q: What was the spur for your business in becoming more proactive on I&D?
People are the core of everything we do and if our people thrive, so does our business. Our diversity and inclusion journey started many years ago but we recognise that as society continues to change we have to do the same.
Q: When it comes to improving diversity at a senior level, what does your company do to support people from under-represented groups in their journey to the top?
We have a whole range of initiatives throughout our business as we recognise that it’s the powerful combination of many small actions that will make the difference. From setting targets publicly (we are committed to having 40% female partners by 2030 and 12% of Ethnic Minority and 3% of Black partners by 2025) through to formal internal sponsorship, development and coaching programmes, the range of different activities is huge. But as well as supporting people from under-represented groups, we also focus on fostering inclusion across all of our people, for example through firmwide programmes on allyship and, through our employee networks, celebrating the impact on our culture of having a richly diverse workforce.
Q: What are the most innovative steps your company has taken on I&D?
We are currently broadening our activities so that we don’t just focus on individual groups but also think about the intersections between groups and broader inclusion across the whole organisation. We want our people to develop inclusion skills that are characteristic-agnostic andfocus on areas such as advocacy and allyship as well as removing unconscious bias. We are also bringing together our focus on inclusion with wellbeing and putting this at the heart of our programme to respond to the future of work post-pandemic.
Q: Are there any other companies that you feel are at the forefront of this journey?
I don’t think there is any organisation that has completed this journey yet and in many ways it isn’t a race to be the first: if businesses collaborate and work together in this area I believe we can achieve better outcomes overall for society.
Q: What is a key piece of advice for companies just starting their inclusion and diversity journeys?
Don’t try to solve everything at once. It’s important to focus on the overall environment and infrastructure with broader inclusion initiatives than to spend all of your effort focussing on just one under-represented group. And honest, authentic leadership at the most senior levels within the organisation is a critical enabler.
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