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How far we've come: Celebrating being named a Leader in Diversity

  • Posted on November 23, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

As the European Inclusion & Diversity Executive Sponsor, I often reflect on how we can drive the Avanade commitment to the next level by accelerating our Inclusion & Diversity agenda to support our employees, especially those who are part of minority groups.

We are on a journey where there is still so much to learn, action and achieve, but sometimes it is worth celebrating how far we have come. Being named, once again, on the Financial Times Diversity Leaders 2023 list is an incredible recognition of all the wonderful things our people are doing minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day to make Avanade a diverse and inclusive workplace.

On Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, Avanade was recognized as a Leader in Diversity in Europe by the Financial Times and Statista for the third year in a row for demonstrating considerable leadership in Diversity & Inclusion. We ranked No. 18 among 850 Europe based companies, and even more amazingly, we ranked No. 3 in IT, Internet, Software and Services category.

Why being named a Leader in Diversity matters?

While the employers are unable to self-nominate – rankings are determined by feedback from 100,000 employees throughout Europe – the survey is independently conducted by Statista with over 10,000 employers eligible in Europe. It was through this process that Avanade Europe stood out and was nominated Leader in Diversity 2023.

The Leader in Diversity recognition is a true testament of how our employees feel about Avanade Inclusion & Diversity commitment. It is deeply embedded in the way we work and show up for each other, for our client and our communities. Inclusion & Diversity is in Avanade’s foundation.

This is not the first time Avanade has been listed among the Financial Times Leaders in Diversity. We ranked No. 416 in 2021 and No. 192 in 2022. So, how did we go from No. 416 to No. 18 in the space of two years?

How did we make such a huge jump?

I cannot hide how this big jump caught me by surprise, I was genuinely not sure I read it correctly and had to triple check that I had not misunderstood.

This was not an accident, and it did not happen overnight. Quite the opposite!

Looking back from the time I took on the role as Europe Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Executive Sponsor in 2019, a lot has happened, and it indeed went far beyond my most optimistic expectations both from a personal and professional perspective.

Operating in a complex area, as Europe certainly is, prompted us to adopt a “glocal” approach and today our Europe I&D organisation has a clear structure: In each of our regions we have active I&D Leads, Champions and Ambassadors, Employee Networks and I&D groups and councils that further cascade and localise our global I&D footprint. We think globally and act locally!

Additionally, we count on a large and constantly growing number of employees who not only support the Avanade Employee Networks’ activities (Employee Resource Groups), but also become exceptional accelerators for the changes our employees ask for and push for. In fact, they represent such an important channel for the voices, engagement and recognition of multiple minority groups, inspiring our I&D agenda and driving Avanade’s cultural transformation.

As leaders, listening and learning are essential skills. People today have new and ever-changing needs and aspirations, and we should be vigilant to acknowledge these and adjust our actions accordingly. Last year we rolled out the first Race & Ethnicity and Cross-Cultural listening tours in Europe to better understand the lived experiences of underrepresented groups and those voices and insights have informed our action plans to make impactful and sustainable change.

We are conscious and proud that Avanade is setting a new standard for the technology industry to follow, and we want to push our boundaries even further to continue intentionally developing opportunities in promoting a culture of inclusion: Recently we have focussed on initiatives aimed at breaking the silence and normalizing the conversation around some typically perceived as uncomfortable themes including menopause and men’s health.

As being bold with our ambitions to drive significant and long-lasting changes can be complicated, it is key to take advantage of special expertise provided by meaningful, and action driven partners, that can counsel and help us along the way. Our ecosystem is made up by internationally recognized operators, including the ENAR (European Network Against Racism) Equal@Work platform and Color in Tech for Race & Ethnicity Inclusion, Evenbreak and Disability:IN for Disability Inclusion, Stonewall and Out & Equal for LGBTQ+, and the list goes on.

It has been and will continue to be a long and exciting journey and I am #AvanadeProud to be part of a great organisation that truly and deeply cares about doing what matters.

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