raceAhead: New Research From Accenture For A More Equitable Workplace

To prime your mind, sorry, your soul, for International Women’s Day 2018, I thought I’d flag some research we’ll be discussing tomorrow at Accenture’s IWD Event.

In Getting to Equal, Accenture surveyed more than 22,000 working people with a university education in 34 countries to better understand how they feel about their company’s culture.

As a result, they’ve found 40 distinct factors that they say are statistically shown to lead to happier employees who are more likely to stick around, and where marginalized groups are more likely to reach parity.

Since 40 is a lot for a breezy newsletter, here are 14 of the practices their research suggests are statistically likely to be most meaningful.


  • Gender diversity is a priority for management.
  • A diversity target or goal is shared outside the organization.
  • The organization clearly states gender pay-gap goals and ambitions.


  • Progress has been made in attracting, retaining and progressing women.
  • The company has a women’s network.
  • The company has a women’s network open to men.
  • Men are encouraged to take parental leave.


  • Employees have never been asked to change their appearance to conform to company culture.
  • Employees have the freedom to be creative and innovative.
  • Virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice.
  • The organization provides training to keep its employees’ skills relevant.
  • Employees can avoid overseas or long-distance travel via virtual meetings.
  • Employees can work from home on a day when they have a personal commitment.
  • Employees are comfortable reporting sex discrimination/sexual harassment incident(s) to the company.

Now, none of these sound groundbreaking until you realize how few companies do any of them with real transparency, accountability or commitment, and how much of an impact these changes can have.

According to Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s human resources chief, female employees of companies who take this stuff seriously are four times as likely to reach senior manager and director levels, and see an average pay increase of 51%.

In a world where women have to have two degrees to get the same salary as a man with one, this would be a pretty big boost.

Says Shook, the commitment must come from the top, but the work falls to everyone. “When we commit as individuals to make change, collectively we lift each other up, paving the way for workplace equality.”