Racing Towards Diversity Racing Toward Diversity - Fall 2014 : Page 22

“Just as important as the economic shift is the demographic shift. Gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation— you name it, workers are different moving forward. We built our strategies on those two big shifts.” Diversity comes naturally to a global firm like Ernst & Young, which already embraces a wide variety of nationalities and cultures. “Working with someone who is a different gender or ethnicity, or who has a different sexual orientation, is very similar to, for example, me working with a straight man from France,” Turley said. “We all have different perspectives. In the future, all of our people are going to be on teams that are more diverse. “The scary part is that if you don’t really work at it, diverse teams don’t excel. They are rarely middle of the pack. They are either off-the-charts great or they’re awful.” Success or failure depends on developing an inclusive culture. “You need a certain kind of culture to make them great,” he said. “That is what we try and build, a culture that’s going to bring all these different ideas from all these different perspectives to the table. That’s how the magic, the innovation, happens, and then we deliver better service. It is not a hard concept when people get it but you have to repeat it again and again and again so that people around the world from Ernst & Young understand how important it is.” Turley was already building such a culture at Ernst & Young in the 1990s, when he implemented a mentoring program for women despite resistance from some male employees. He once challenged an audience in Saudi Arabia to alter the culture and elevate women, suggeseting an economic boost. Ernst & Young also expanded a long-standing entrepreneurship program by establishing one particularly for women. “The real truth about D&I at Ernst & Young is that we started by focusing on women,” he said. “Half of the people coming off university campuses were women. We were having a talent drain that was dramatic. By the time people were with us 12, 13, 14 years, and starting to get promoted to partners, our percentage of women was less than 10 percent. It was a horrible waste of human talent. “So we started working on women. 22 Racing Toward Diversity Magazine www. RacingTowardDiversity .com

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