EXCLUSIVE: Deloitte UK enhances organisation culture to reduce gender pay gap


Employee Benefits Live 2017: Deloitte UK has implemented agile working and an unpaid leave programme in order to improve its organisation culture and gender diversity.

The audit, financial and tax advisory organisation focussed on introducing work-life initiatives and enhancing its overall organisation culture after focus groups with their female staff discovered they were struggling to juggle home caring responsibilities with work, and also women who held senior positions were found to be disengaged with the organisation due to its corporate culture. This was reflected in the organisation’s recruitment statistics, which show that only 36% of new graduates entering the business are women, as well as in its gender pay gap data.

Speaking at Employee Benefits Live 2017, Emma Codd (pictured), managing director for talent at Deloitte UK, said: “We had to actually do something to change. And we did loads of things already, so we had women’s networks, we had some programmes, but the reality was they hadn’t made a difference, they hadn’t moved the dial at all. We knew that we had to do something very, very focused. So we spoke to our women. We spoke to a lot of our women and we analysed and we asked.”

To address culture within Deloitte, the organisation implemented a series of work-life balance related initiatives. This included an agile working policy that sought to trust both men and women to complete their work in a more flexible way, with employees judged on output. The organisation also introduced its Time Out policy, which enabled employees to take a month of unpaid leave whenever they wanted.

The focus groups had also revealed that in some cases, banter and everyday comments among employees made female employees feel negatively about themselves, therefore Deloitte UK introduced respect and inclusion advisors that allowed employees to speak to someone on a one-to-one basis, where they could raise issues that they perhaps did not want to speak to HR about. Also, 6,000 senior leaders within the business underwent training around diversity and inclusion.

“Culture was the one thing that underpinned everything. […] Diversity is principally an output of culture. If [employers] do not have an inclusive culture underpinned by respect, [they] can forget ever achieving diversity in my personal view,” Codd continued.

Deloitte UK also changed its recruitment programme in order to include more gender neutral language and introduced a return-to-work programme that included transition coaching for employees who were returning to the workplace as new working parents.

Codd noted that these initiatives have produced results over the last three years, with female partner levels increasing from 13% in 2014 to 19% in 2017. More female graduates are now being recruited into the business and its most recent engagement survey also showed that women were more engaged with the organisation than men.

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Deloitte UK’s gender pay gap data for 2017 revealed a mean gender pay gap of 17% and a mean gender bonus gap of 52.2%. Codd attributed this gap to two positive initiatives that were having an adverse impact on gender pay data. This included the fact that more women were taking up salary sacrifice benefits in order to purchase extra leave, which skewed salary figures, and the organisation’s agile working policy also impacted the bonus pay figures as more women were engaging with this way of working. Deloitte UK’s gender pay gap data was published on its staff intranet, alongside information that detailed what the organisation was doing to tackle the gap. Deloitte UK voluntarily reported its gender pay gap in 2015 and 2016, as Codd observed that tackling gender diversity within an organisation is a long-term project that can take between seven and 10 years to address.

Codd said: “Changing this will rely on every organisation focussing on its pain points, but the one thing I would say is please do not assume this can only be fixed through a programmatic approach. To me, for most organisations I’ve spent time with, in fact all of them, it’s also around making sure that culture actually supports everybody to succeed.”