Adoption of Diversity and Inclusion must start at the top of an organisation

New Delhi: ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) hosted a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion to focus on the role of leadership in driving a diversity and inclusion agenda in the workplace. The panel consisted of Ms. Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA, Mr. Nicolas Dumoulin, Managing Director, Michael Page India, Mr. Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation and Mr. Yash Mohan, Director HR, BNY Mellon India, and moderated by Mr. Gaurav Kapur, Head of Policy, ACCA.


The discussion drew insights from ACCA’s recent Leading Inclusion report, which is based upon a series of roundtable discussions, including one held in India, as well as a survey of ACCA members, Affiliates and future members which was conducted in October, 2020.


With a total of 756 responses from India and 10,049 responses from the global community, the survey highlighted that a substantial number of respondents feel that accountancy and financial professionals see themselves as a part of an inclusive profession, however at the same time think that much more needs to be done.


Some of the key points discussed during the webinar included ways that organisations could focus on to develop an inclusive and equitable workplace, ensuring diversity and inclusion were high priorities on a business’ agenda within the corporate culture.


Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA said, “Authentic leadership that embraces diversity and inclusion is key to being impactful. Having the right measures and targets and being transparent about what they are can drive change. It’s not an end in itself, but it is about making sure that you are helping to establish the right culture. When you are talking to investors and stakeholders on key reputational elements, you can show them the progress you are making and that’s going to have a positive impact on the organisation.


‘At the end of the day it comes down to the culture. There isn’t a switch that you can flick on that will resolve all of this, but you can develop organisationally and individually so that will allow genuine inclusion flourish.”


The survey also stated that nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents saw a strong link between the diversity and inclusion agenda and organisational success. For half of the respondents the link to diverse teams was one of their top three factors, with just over 40% making the link to better decision making.


Panellists also shared insights on their perception of the principles of Diversity and Inclusion, the trends prevalent in each of their industries, as well as highlighting multiple obstacles that organisations are currently facing, and may face in the future, if precautionary steps are not taken.


Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation opined that “The IT industry has a female workforce of 35%, up from 20%, which was 15 years ago. Technology such as AI or cloud based hiring is being used to reduce unconscious bias during hiring, and in fact during the workforce attraction phase itself. Corporates should also work towards hiring the right talent, but also plan for how to advance employees in their career growth. Organisations should also measure retention and attrition levels to ensure embrace inclusivity in all aspects, to be an equal opportunity employer.”



Md. Sajid Khan, Head of International Development, ACCA said, “As an organisation looks towards building a sustainable business model, there is a growing recognition of the need to have a strategy and culture underpinned on the principles of diversity and inclusion. Organisations are realising that diversity and inclusion are not just a good-to-do exercise, but are recognising it as an inherent strength and driving force towards corporate success.”



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