Workplace and diversity: opening minds

We know that winning in the marketplace and delivering value to our clients is all about our ability to put before our clients a high-performing, diverse team made up of people who bring fresh insights, different thinking styles, different experience and that kind of experience, those insights, don’t come from a homogenous group.

Sarah Churchman, Employee Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion
We believe it is right to be a diverse and inclusive firm and that this will help us build better relationships with our clients to give us a competitive edge. We start from the simple premise that talent has no age, race or gender and is not ruled out by disability.

Diversity is critical to PwC's business strategy. PwC launched Open Mind 1, mandatory e-learning to 16,000 UK Partners and staff in March 2011, recognising that our inherent biases mean that we as individuals are not as open minded to difference as we like to believe. It was designed to make individuals aware of the impact of bias on their relationships acknowledge situations where they could be more open-minded to difference and motivate them to take action to be more open-minded.  The level of interest, debate and positive feedback the training provoked both internally and externally, was unprecedented.

Building on the success of Open Mind 1, and to continue to engage our people in moving the dial on diversity, PwC launched the 'Opening Minds – diversity is good for growth' campaign in March 2013. The campaign involved creating a movement based on communications and awareness-raising of the business case for diversity and how PwC needs to value the difference of its diverse talent to support its business growth targets. Central to this was a film featuring four scenarios covering issues such as pregnancy, cultural awareness, sexual orientation and disability.

The film demonstrates that we all have a responsibility to actively challenge the assumptions we may have about others, and uses the characters to show how we can all display bias – and be on the receiving end of it. For example, a woman who feels undervalued by her colleagues in one scenario might be involved in an instance of different bias towards someone else in another situation. Through this, the film helps challenge a belief we all like to hold – namely that “I’m open minded, and it’s other people who are the problem”! There are follow up nonscripted ‘interviews,’ with the characters from the main film which gives the viewer more insight into the key characters and how they felt.

Central to the campaign was the launch of the Open Mind 2 e-learning. This training builds on similar messages to Open Mind 1 but emphasises the business case for diversity and uses psychological illusions, tests and an explanation from a psychologist to give an insight into how our unconscious processes can introduce bias into decision making.

This campaign is focusing on driving behaviour change to address the cultural barriers to diversity and creating a diverse and inclusive working environment at PwC. If you are interested in discussing this or receiving further information on it, then please contact either Sarah Churchman on 020 7212 3788 or Sarah Moore on 020 7213 8195.

Contact us

Emma Thorogood

Emma Thorogood

Partner, Head of Purpose, Community and Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)7990 563 100

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