I&D: 60 second interview – Clare Rowe, Inclusion Lead, Deloitte UK
60 second interview — Clare Rowe, Inclusion Lead, Deloitte UK
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 are doing to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D) within their own organisations. Today we hear from Clare Rowe, Inclusion Lead at Deloitte UK.
Q. Why is having an inclusive and diverse working environment important to you?
At Deloitte, our ambition to be people centred and purpose driven runs through everything we do. We are committed to building a diverse firm, with an inclusive culture, and authentic, visible leaders at every level.
We want everyone to be their true authentic selves and reach their full potential. Because when our people feel like they belong, they’re better able to thrive.
Having more diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for our business. Inclusive and diverse teams are more productive, have stronger working relationships and find better solutions to problems.
Q. What are some of the steps that Deloitte is taking to push this agenda forward across the organisation?
We are focusing on increasing minority representation at senior levels, and achieving our externally published targets of 40% female partners by 2030, 12% ethnicity minority and 3% Black partners by 2025. We currently have 27% female partners, and 9% ethnicity minority and 0.9% Black partners.
In addition to our focus on gender and ethnicity, we also focus on disability and neurodiversity, LGBTQ+ inclusion and social mobility. But while targets help maintain our focus, we know that what’s really important is ensuring we have the right interventions in place to attract, retain and promote people from under-represented groups.
We are also committed to identifying and removing barriers to inclusion — ensuring it’s embedded across our core policies and processes, in the way that our people lead, and ensuring everyone understands their role in fostering an inclusive environment.
Q. When it comes to improving diversity at a senior level, what does Deloitte do to support people from under-represented groups in their journey to the top?
Our overarching inclusion strategy takes an ‘inclusion first’ approach, ensuring it is fully embedded in our people agenda, such as ensuring objectivity in our talent management activities and using data to help us understand the representation of under-represented groups in our pipelines for promotion. We also have specific action plans for each of our focus areas, recognising that different under-represented groups may require different interventions and support.
A great example is our Future Leaders Programme which launched in June 2022. This nine-month programme has the aim of specifically supporting women and ethnic minorities through their progression and development journey at the firm, providing a sustainable diverse pipeline of talent for senior roles. 500 women and ethnic minority colleagues from manager to director level joined the first cohort, which is providing them with a tailored development programme and senior sponsorship.
Q. Deloitte hosted the world’s first LGBTQ+ VR museum in November. What was the response?
We were delighted to partner with Antonia Forster, the creator of the Tribeca award-winning and world’s first LGBTQ+ VR museum. The museum contains 3D scans of emotive real-life objects — from wedding shoes to a teddy bear — chosen by people in the LGBTQ+ community, accompanied by their story in their own voice. The museum also includes 2D illustrations and artwork by queer creators all over the world.
The 60-minute interactive exhibition was launched in London in November 2022 and was visited by over 280 people. Following its success, the exhibition has since toured the UK where a pop-up museum was set up in various Deloitte office locations including Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast and Birmingham. Across all regions over 650 people attended the museum which included our clients, colleagues, universities, partner charities and society partners.
Storytelling is a powerful way to challenge perceptions, celebrate progress and give hope. When used in the right way, technology can change who tells the story, how it’s told, and importantly, who it reaches. The LGBTQ+ VR museum helped visitors to recognise the potential for VR experiences to shrink the distances between members of the LGBTQ+ community, bringing together people from different physical locations and cultural backgrounds. During the exhibition attendees contributed their own story of queerness or allyship to the shared large M artefact, which will one day appear inside the LGBTQ+ VR Museum itself covered in the stories collected at all locations.
Q. As we approach International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia on May 17, what more do you think businesses could do to create an inclusive working environment?
At Deloitte we’re supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion through our long-established (since 2007) Proud at Deloitte network and allies community.
Globally, the firm has adopted the ‘Embassy Model’, whereby within the walls of our firm we apply LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices for our people in all jurisdictions where we operate, but without seeking to actively influence society outside the organisation in countries where the laws are not LGBTQ+ inclusive.
Pride season is a big focus for us, and we’ll be supporting around 14UK regional Pride events this summer, starting in Birmingham at the end of May. This is just one way for organisations to show visible and vocal support for the LGBTQ+ community. Other actions might include completing awareness training to upskill on use of inclusive language or adding your pronouns to your email signature or Zoom profile.
Q. What is a key piece of advice for organisations just starting their inclusion and diversity journeys?
There’s no silver bullet. Establishing the right foundations and culture is critical as well as providing a safe way for people to speak up when they see or hear something that doesn’t feel right.
Two other key areas for us at Deloitte are data and listening. Collecting diversity data enables us to build a better picture of the make-up of our organisation, helping ensure it is more representative of society and that interventions are targeted in the areas that need it most. We also have a continuous listening approach to ensure we understand and act on what matters most to our people at key moments in their career with us.
Inclusion isn’t just the responsibility of leadership or HR, it has to be a collective priority. Inclusion starts with every one of us.