One of Accenture’s core values is ‘Respect for the Individual’, where differences are celebrated, and employees are actively encouraged to share their unique perspectives. Shelley Godden, Security Delivery Senior Manager, sees promoting individuality is vital for businesses to keep moving forward:
“Having diverse teams is the key to innovation, and a key part of team success is maintaining respect and empathy for individuals.”
She talks us through how she sees this play out in the workplace at Accenture and the positive impact it has on the company.
Finding her tribe
The first time Shelley realized diversity was at the forefront of Accenture’s culture was during her initial induction.
“I traveled to Melbourne for my onboarding/orientation. I met some of my new colleagues in security and they let me know they were hosting the monthly Women in Security meet-up that day. It was so refreshing being in a room full of friendly, smart women with a wide range of experience and stories about how they came to be in security. They were all keen to get to know me and offer me support.”
And it was during that very first meeting that she knew she’d made the right decision to work at Accenture:
“We had a guest speaker – one of our security leads from the US, who had made time to talk to us about her career and let us ask questions. I heard about the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives we were driving, and in this moment, I knew I had found the workplace for me!”
A global reach
With almost 700,000 employees across fifty countries worldwide, Shelley had expected working at Accenture to feel “a little bit like a cog in a machine.” But her experience turned out to be the complete opposite:
“Accenture is a truly global company. Rather than disconnected teams around the world, we work as One Accenture – whether it’s across industry, skills, or location.”
Shelley says one of the challenges and blessings of working across continents and cultures is staying aware of, embracing, and respecting those cultural differences:
“It’s so important to be respectful of other people’s perspectives and embrace our differences. This is how we challenge our own ideas, spark creativity and discover new ways of approaching challenges.”
Support from the top down
Shelley says the message of inclusivity and support for one another is felt right the way from senior management:
“I feel proud every day to work for a company that isn’t afraid of standing up for its values in the public domain. Our CEO Julie Sweet has been very public in her comments on important global topics and issues.”
From “big picture issues like sustainability and social justice” to “supporting our local communities,” Accenture employees are encouraged to look for ways to create a more equal world and to promote the causes that they feel passionate about, receiving “an annual day of leave to volunteer on any initiative we choose.”
Accenture is invested in helping women thrive in the workplace through flexible working arrangements, support and training, and their aim is for a gender-balanced workforce by 2025.
Find out about these and other employee incentives and benefits.
Create your unique career path at Accenture
As a Senior Manager, Shelley is responsible for delivering complex security projects for private and government organizations and is also an advisor in her area of expertise. As a keen follower of politics and global events, she “loves being amongst the action both inside and outside of work,” and feels lucky that she has been able to shape her career to reflect her personal interests and to be involved with “meaningful projects that have an impact on everyday lives”.
Steering her own career path was something she was advised to do even before she joined Accenture, and it’s something she has found to be true of working there:
“Accenture offers you nearly any type of support, training, and the project you could think of, and our leaders support and present us with growth opportunities. It’s really up to you to seek out the things that best align to where you want your career to go and make them happen!”
As a leader herself, Shelley also acts as a “people lead” or “career counselor,” supporting several mentees through their professional journeys.
“I think people would be surprised by the flexibility when it comes to our technical field. People may expect to come in with their existing skillset and stay on that path (which is also totally fine!), but there’s a wealth of opportunities to reskill or upskill yourself in new ways and forge a new career path.”
Shelley believes exploring new skills and opportunities not only benefits the individual but helps the wider business “evolve and stay up to date with the latest demands and challenges of our customers”.
Supporting our allies
With Diversity and Inclusion on all business’s agendas right now, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate those companies who are genuinely making a difference from those who are just saying the right things. With that in mind, Shelley says it’s important to “work with integrity, to take responsibility for our words and behavior, and to always match our actions to our words”.
“There is a supportive and safe environment for everyone to thrive at Accenture, regardless of who they are. As an LGBTQIA+ ally I am impressed by the number of groups, events, and initiatives lead by our Pride team. With the most recent one, I attended being a trivia event for Trans Day of Visibility where we were all quizzed (and schooled!) on our knowledge of trans history. We have regular training for LGBTQI+ allyship and our Pride team are rolling out regular Transgender and Gender Diverse allyship training. It’s normal for everyone to share their pronouns.”
Acting with integrity also extends to the benefits and incentives offered to Accenture employees, which Shelley feels go a long way to reflecting the world we live in now:
“I’m happy to work somewhere that looks to make employee benefits more relevant for our current world.”
These include “initiatives like longer-term parental leave and ensuring this covers both parents” and “the recent rollout of gender affirmation leave”.
“These initiatives show Accenture doesn’t just promote that we are an inclusive workplace, but that we have real examples of how we promote this inclusivity.”
Final words of advice?
In closing, we asked Shelley what advice she’d give future Accenture employees – and her focus returned to always voicing your perspective and taking advantage of the many opportunities at Accenture for career advancement:
- Don’t wait to be asked and put forward your ideas.
- Utilize every opportunity that comes your way.
- Take ownership of your own future and career.
- Don’t be afraid to network and start building your contacts and relationships.
“Everybody at Accenture wants you to succeed and will support you along the way!”