Avanade employees passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and the Avanade Orange.
In 2015, Avanade Australia took on an initiative to launch a Diversity and Inclusion program which would not only support our Gender Initiatives but provide a comprehensive and holistic view of our employees and their associated needs. Having grown rapidly (and expecting more growth in future years) the workforce had changed and included an array of diversity and inclusion interests.
Two key aspects were important (a) that the program was flexible and allowed for growth and change as new challenges arose and (b) that the program was sustainable and had the support and influence of the employees - meaning anyone and everyone could participate.
Interestingly this is not a program grown from HR, although we work significantly with them, but a program supported by team members passionate about Avanade and its culture.
Avanade leads in providing innovative digital services, business solutions and design-led experiences for its clients, delivered through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has 27,000 professionals in 23 countries. Visit us at www.avanade.com.
Initially a core team was developed with a co-chair arrangement. It was important that team represent our offices (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra) and that we had executive championing of our efforts. In addition, through much discussion several responsibilities were identified: (a) Gender; (b) Family friendly policies (now Flexibiility and Well being); (c) Culture; (d) Corporate Citizenship; and (e) Outreach (ecosystem/stem). Since the initial structure we have further grown to include (f) Male Champion of Change; (g) LGBTI+.
Being an organisation that has staff posted largely offsite and with clients it was important that we spent time on our communication to ensure we were reaching our 300+ employees. Utilising several methods such a regular Yammer of issues; email; sponsored events; town hall presentations and active offsite team activity we experience significant internal recognition including a (90+%) recognition of our D&I activity in an internal survey.
To ensure we were also reaching clients interested in this space our flagship marketing event is held on International Women's day and we encourage our teams to share our activities with our clients and participate in joint activities (ie: we recently spoke at APRA AMCOS Waltzing Matildas event).
(1) Annual dinner: Clients joined Avanade to address STEM, diversity and business outcomes
(2) Superannuation: introduction of paid contributions whilst employee is on parental leave
(3) Parental leave: introduced inclusive language to policy to provide the same level of paid leave, regardless of gender.
(1) Sharing on yammer: regularly acknowledge, and discuss cultural events celebrated by our employees
(2) LGBT+ : Nationwide campaign focused on LGBT+ awareness and Avanade’s LGBT+ Ally Program.
(3) Marriage equality: Signed letter voicing Avanade's support for marriage equality.
Males champion of change (MCOC):
(1) Pledge for Parity: IWD pledges were supported by a subsequent call series entitled "Putting your #pledgeforparity in to action" which sought implementable outcomes.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Avanade Foundation and Giving Program launched.
(a) UN Women: Breaking Barriers Webinar encouraging women to pursue STEM careers.
(b) Red Cross: employee blood drive (Avanade has saved 50 lives) .
(c) Ovarian Cancer Australia: Morning Teals raised in-excess of $1,600.
(d) The Smith Family: "Toy and Book Appeal” provided presents for 238 children and raised approximately $6,000. Avanade also gifted 16 computer monitors.
Flexiblity and Wellbeing: Policy influence.
a) travel for new parents;
(b) private breast feeding facilities;
(c) caring for aging parents
The response to the program development has been outstanding.
(a) The D&I program has provided a lovely and alternative way in which we can engage our clients. Contributing to their program or producing something together has been a great way to strengthen their understanding of what Avanade stands for and our partnership.
(b) The program ensures we get together as a team for morning teas and other charity events. We always take photos so there is a shared behaviour with our offsite teams.
(c) In addition, the cultural posts on Yammer mean staff never feel they are the only one celebrating an event/holiday. They can share their experience and others can support/share their experience. Where possible we will also include a fun event like - Halloween; Diwali; Chinese New Year and decorate the office and share food.
(d) Our external connections and membership with organisations such as FITT (Gold) and university programs mean we are able to also offer our team the chance to build skills; network and be rewarded for their activity in public.
There has been little resistance to the D&I program creation. There is always more we can do and this can sometimes result in disappointment where there are not the resources to commit. With the development of the program we are becoming more aware of our planned activities, expectations of our people and desired outcomes.
(a) Our FY17 goal is to increase participation of employees and therefore take on more projects. At this stage there is a core group who put in a lot of their own time and energy. To do this we are targeting our new graduates and employees and making sure , in induction, they are made aware of the program and we identify those interested parties: The added value of the program is the elevated profile individuals receive through communications and events. The leadership attribute shines through and we have seen the program support promotional goals.
(b) As we are clearer on our calendar, activities and desired outcomes we are now able to clarify and place a dollar value on our activity. Where in the past finding money was difficult we are now in a position to clearly articulate a desired budget.