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Customer Spotlight: Building Diversity in Early Talent at Accenture

At the Inclusive Hiring conference in January 2020, Joan Moore (Head of Early Talent) and Helen Lorrigan (Candidate Experience Lead) from Accenture presented their experience working to improve diversity within early talent.

Whilst their previous screening process was solid, the team felt they could do more to assess and screen candidates on their potential and strengths, rather than pedigree and past performance. Placing diversity at the heart of everything they do is important – as well as bold targets, they value building a forward-thinking and innovative organization. Their customers, FTSE 100 companies, also recognise the value of diverse project teams.

Driving engagement and building their employer brand

Accenture run a campus engagement campaign called Discover Your Path – making it clear that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, and what you’re studying – it matters what you’re good at, where your strengths are, what your mindset is – and you can bring that to any career at Accenture.”

By helping students discover their own skills through a series of online quizzes, they are then introduced to profiles of Accenture staff with similar mindsets, showing the variety of experience and background that the organisation values. Activated through 52″ touchscreens on campus, they also created a podcast as a way to bring life to Accenture’s business, and cover important topics like mental health, how their technology and projects have improved lives, and diversity in tech.

Accenture have taken bold steps to refresh their on-campus engagement. Having stepped away from career fairs and events that didn’t create a positive ROI, the investment has been used to bolster diversity and inclusion projects. From broadening their focus away from just Russell Group universities, to running events for prospective candidates, changing their sourcing methods, and removing minimum UCAS points, Accenture have now won over 8 industry awards for their D&I initiatives, and are #1 on Refinitiv’s Diversity & Inclusion Index.

Transforming assessments

Accenture’s process prior to Headstart involved an ‘old fashioned assessment process’ – candidates completed a written application form, did video interviews, and were invited to a standard assessment center. Whilst nothing was broken, the team felt a niggling feeling that unconscious bias was affecting hiring decisions, placing a lot of effort into attraction and sourcing but not seeing the results at the other end.

They embarked on an in-depth transformation process, engaging with internal stakeholders with interviews, workshops, and focus groups, and evaluating all available data. By creating their own ‘strengths framework’, they had a much clearer idea of the skills and experience that really mattered through which they could evaluate candidates.

Reducing bias and saving time with Headstart

With Headstart, Accenture candidates apply through a modern and mobile optimized experience, and can take control of their journey. With thousands of applicants, it’s easy for Accenture’s team to manage high volume with built-in automation features, and focus on evaluating candidates through Headstart’s contextual recruiting algorithm, that allows recruiters to evaluate a candidate’s experience and academics in the context of their background.

Accenture also have much more data on the performance of diverse groups through their hiring process, so they can take proactive and reactive action as required – whether that’s sourcing for specific groups, or re-engaging candidates that have dropped off.

For assessments, Accenture moved away from competency-based interviews to strength-based assessments and situational questions – giving everyone the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and their capacity to learn, regardless of experience and background.

Accenture have seen stunning results from their innovative and forward-thinking early talent process, including huge progress in gender and ethnicity hiring – and every sign points to their continued success.

Headstart is on a mission to transform the way organisations hire! We are the world's first diversity driven Applicant Matching and Management System. We use Machine Learning and Data Science to transform the recruitment process, enabling clients to find the right high potential employees regardless of gender, ethnic status, sexual orientation or age.

With major brands like Accenture publicly supporting our mission, Headstart is already improving the recruitment experience for candidates around the world.

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