Case: Diversity Competency
Accenture’s Work—Life Balance Programs”
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology ser-vices, and outsourcing company. It has over 186,000 employees with offices and operations in 200 cities within 52 countries. Accenture is headquartered in New York City.
Time and Flexibility Internal surveys at Accenture revealed that time is highly valued among employees—regardless of age—as are daily and career flexibility. Eighty-one percent of the employees
Part 1 Introduction and Ethical Foundations
reported that their job satisfaction would increase signifi-candy with additional time and location flexibility. Eighty-three percent said the ability to balance work and life impacts their commitment to stay with Accenture. Sixty-one percent indicated that sabbaticals (career flexibility) are one of the top five most-favored resources. Equally between genders, 32 percent have turned down a new position in the past several years or considered leaving because of work-life balance concerns. Seventy-one percent said wellness is a priority.
Work-Life Initiative at Accenture As a result of these findings and other considerations, Accenture developed two dozen work-life initiatives to give employees more time and flexibility. They range from flexible work arrangements to programs such as Back-Up Dependent Care and Life-works. In-home or center-based care is available for any dependent when regular care arrangements break down. Lifetcorks is a free and confidential resource that pro-vides information on a broad range of topics—from online health coaching to ergonomics assessments. This initiative also provides access to experts in many areas, including legal and financial. Future Leave is among the most successful new programs at Accenture. It provides Gen X (born 1965-1981) and Gen Y (born 1982-2000) employees and baby boomers alike the flexibility to address the personal and family issues they face at their particular stage of life while preserving promising or well-established careers. This initiative makes it possible for employees to take a self-funded sabbatical lasting from one to three months to teach English in another country, trek through Alaska, or meet family commitments. Any activity that employees believe will enrich their lives, their families, or their communities is eligible for approval. Employees may take Future Leave after every three years of work. It offers participants the option of planning ahead and putting aside savings in a special account at Accenture to fund a future leave. On average, 50 employees each quarter are away from their jobs on such sabbaticals. This number is expected to increase in the future.
Chris Tserng Chris Tserng, the Human Resources Demand Lead for Accenture’s insurance practice in North America, supervises a staff of four in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office. This office supports executives when they work at client sites across the country. Ten years into her career at Accenture and eight months pregnant with her first child, Tserng earned a promo-tion. As planned, she took eight weeks of maternity leave and four weeks of accrued vacation time. Tserng states: “I didn’t know how hard it would be to leave my baby, Nicholas. I was feeling guilty and nervous. The guilt was compounded when I learned that the sitter Pd lined up had a change in plans. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn for child care. I began to think that my only option was to consider leaving the company, the job, and the colleagues I loved.” Future Leave was the answer for Tserng, making it possi-ble for her to add one additional month to her maternity leave and paid time-off. During that extra time away, she and her husband located an appropriate day-care facility for Nicholas. Tserng adds: “It’s the best thing I ever did for my family. It was only 30 days, but it gave me the time to make important decisions about Nicholas and about my own future.” At the end of her leave, Tserng said her colleagues wel-comed her back with open arms. She adds, “A lot of our execu-tives, the men especially, recognize that once women become mothers, they do feel guilty about leaving their child and some decide not to return to work.” To learn more about Accenture, go to www.accenture .com.
Questions 1. Which key attributes of the diversity competency are illustrated in this case? Give a specific example of each attribute identified. 2. Which key attributes of the self competency are illus-trated by Chris Tserng in this case? Give a specific example of each attribute identified. 3. Which key attributes of the change competency are illustrated in this case? Give a specific example of each attribute identified.

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