Corporate responsibility + diversity & inclusion: an integrated approach to build a better working world

Diversity.jpgI recently had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion as part of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. Phyllis A. James, executive vice president and chief diversity and corporate responsibility officer at MGM Resorts International, moderated the conversation, which also included Jack Bergen, vice president of corporate projects at Arconic, and Caroline Chambers, vice president and diversity programs manager at Comerica Bank. Together, we explored how an integrated approach to corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusiveness can help achieve business goals.

For most of us, the business case for diversity is clear: People who are empowered to bring their full selves to the workplace are significantly more engaged in their work, and their teams perform better. Additionally, teams that draw on multiple different viewpoints and experiences reach better solutions. At EY, we embed core principles of inclusiveness and measurement of diversity in all of our processes, including Corporate Responsibility. Truly, diversity and inclusive leadership are part of everything we do.

But we can always do more—and I’m proud that at EY we are activating the power of shared skills-based volunteering experiences to inspire our people to embrace inclusiveness at a personal level.

Part of the EY promise to our people is to provide “exceptional experiences that last a lifetime,” and our global purpose is to “build a better working world.” Shared skills-based volunteering experiences have the power to do both. Volunteering brings together professionals from different cultures, mindsets, belief systems, ranks, and functions, many of whom might not normally work together. On their assignments, the teams learn more about each other, expand their networks, and also make positive societal impact.  

For example, groups of EY mentors are helping underserved students achieve their dreams of higher education through College MAP, our private-sector mentoring program. About 40 percent of our College MAP mentors are considered diverse, and one in three identify as first-generation college graduates, which makes the mentors’ insights particularly valuable to underserved students entering college, many of whom face culture shock and unique challenges not encountered by their more privileged peers. Since 2009, 1000+ EY volunteers have mentored 1,200+ underserved high school students, and 90 percent of them go on to college (compared to relevant peer groups in public schools where the high school graduation rate averages around 70 percent). Within EY’s walls, the professionals who mentor through College MAP report that they feel significantly more engaged at work, have longer tenure, and are more likely to recommend EY as a great place to work.

We also provide opportunities for our people to volunteer with nonprofit organizations that share our inclusive vision. Last year, hundreds of EY professionals volunteered thousands of hours with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)—an organization that provides entrepreneurship mentoring to underserved students.

Through shared skills-based volunteering experiences, we not only encourage our people to bring their whole selves to work, but also provide our people with opportunities to strengthen their communities. That helps our volunteers learn inclusive teaming skills and promotes a sense of personal satisfaction, so that we work better together and bring out the best in everyone.

Learn more about how EY Corporate Responsibility is building a better working world.