DEI initiatives: How Mazars, Haysmacintyre hope to win the talent war

DEI initiatives: How Mazars, Haysmacintyre hope to win the talent war

DEI initiatives can help accountancy firms put their best foot forward with the youngest generation in the workforce, experts suggest

DEI initiatives: How Mazars, Haysmacintyre hope to win the talent war

A recent Deloitte report has highlighted the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for attracting talent as the impact of the ongoing talent war in accounting bites.

According to the data released by Deloitte in 2022, 80% of individuals considered inclusion efforts as a crucial facet while selecting an employer.

This is echoed by Sonal Dhulashia, head of inclusion, diversity and wellbeing at Mazars, who states that implementing DEI initiatives is no longer a box-ticking exercise for firms as it now plays an important role in attracting and retaining talent.

“Those joining the workforce look for employers who genuinely care about this agenda. They look for firms whose values align with theirs, a place where they see role models who look like them, firms where inclusion is spoken about and role-modelled, and a place they can be themselves and be valued for their unique perspective.

“A place where they feel empowered to be the best version of themselves,” she adds.

Suki Allday, chief people officer at Haysmacintyre echoes firms must learn to adapt to be competitive in the talent war.

“From mentoring and well-being support to benchmarking benefits and revising our approach to the exam process, we have several initiatives in place to support our staff and differentiate the firm.

“We are very much people-led and recognise that what employees want now is different to 20 years ago, and if we want to stay competitive, we have to keep adapting our offering.”

Cutting through the noise of rival firms can be difficult, according to Allday, but it is vital that employers are vocal about what differentiates them from the major players in the market.

Internal DEI is always a focus

Recognising an employee’s achievements, however significant, is always a key focus at Haysmacintyre, said Allday.

“We’ve widened our discretionary bonuses to include trainees, which only a handful of firms apply.

“Another successful programme has been our ‘spot bonus’ scheme, an instant recognition process to award a voucher to recognise when someone goes above and beyond. We want employees to feel that their effort is always appreciated,” she added.

Mazars employs a similar strategy and emphasises the comfort of its current workforce as much as recruiting new talent.

Dhulashia states that Mazars’ Inclusion, Diversity, and Wellbeing Partner Goal is implemented from the top down and strives for internal encouragement.

“All partners get invited to two sessions per year, where they are offered the opportunity to learn, exchange insights and create connections that lead to the improvement of our agenda.

“As part of this, we have DEI partner sponsors across our service lines, that are visible leaders in different parts of the business, ensuring that people are listened to, aware of firmwide inclusion activity and feel represented.”

Additionally, Mazars has launched a programme called Empower which aims to share the diverse career journeys of its partners and team members.

More: Accounting industry must take “proactive” approach towards gender equality 

“These sessions give team members the opportunity to hear that not all career journeys are linear and showcases that there are many diverse and unique careers stories at Mazars. We want to share these to inspire our team,” says Dhulashia.

Supporting younger talent  

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 74% of millennials believe that having a culture of inclusion makes their organisation more innovative.

Mazars has tapped into this opportunity and is regularly involved in initiatives supporting the young generation entering the workforce, regardless of their background. The firm recently participated in several schemes, including the Able Interns Pilot and Access Accountancy.

Allday says Haysmacintyre has introduced an Early Talent Taskforce (ETTF) to assess how they can better meet the needs of early talent.

“Part of the challenge we have encountered in the war for talent, is in communicating and marketing how we are distinctive from larger firms.”

“One of the goals of the ETTF is to review our processes to ensure we are aligned with what candidates want out of their careers and refresh our early talent value proposition to meet needs and attract the best of this cohort.”

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