Malcolm Forbes, an American entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes Magazine, was once quoted saying that: ‘Diversity is the art of thinking independently together’
This shows us that diversity entails the understanding and recognition of individual differences. Furthermore, it’s not simply enough to understand the differences but to create an environment where diversity is intrinsically valued.
In order to promote diversity, hiring a mix of talent is vital. I would go so far as to say that a diverse workforce can enable an organisational competitive advantage. In consulting, we look to add value to our clients by adapting and understanding local markets. Therefore, we look to draw upon our experiences and background to bring professional services to the market.
So how does this link to diversity? A diverse workforce can bring together experiences and ideas from many perspectives.
When analysing diversity, we can use the iceberg model.
This model clearly shows the different layers of a person’s character, breaking it down into externally visible aspects and hidden aspects that should also be considered when assessing an individual.
The iceberg model shows that in fact only 10% of the individual traits and facets are visible – represented by the iceberg tip that is situated above the water.
However, 90% of the iceberg lies beneath the surface and thus hidden to the external world. This means that we are judging people by only examining the tip of the iceberg and that is something we want to avoid!
How does this apply to the Consultant Development Community you might now ask?
The underlying meaning of the CDC is the belief that beneath the surface is where the value lies.
At Capgemini, we are part of a collaborative environment which I would define as a flat hierarchy with approachable people and an entrepreneurial flair. We have a range of different backgrounds that provide a variety of insights into the client environment which enables the CDC to provide service quality. By collaboratively bringing these different viewpoints together we excel at the work we do.
Moreover, shared values alongside a diverse background are engrained in the CDC’s efforts to determine what’s beneath the surface.
I believe “cultural fit” is important when choosing a company. That way, you will not have to park your values at the door. When joining the Capgemini Graduate Programme you will be evaluated for the person you are including all aspects that lie beneath the surface. An example to illustrate this is the fact that as a graduate you are encouraged to share your individual skills with your fellow colleagues.
Cultural diversity within the CDC and the wider Capgemini organisation is illustrated by the employee value propositions at Capgemini:
- Be comfortable outside of your comfort zone
- Stay true to what you believe in
- Build momentum in your career
- Show how single minds make for stronger teams
- Give curiosity freedom and focus
- Aim for nothing less than leading edge
These employee value propositions are the reasons why I’m sitting in the office in Holborn or on client site working with like-minded people. The value of a person’s background reveals why people matter and why we need to understand what is beneath the surface in order to promote diversity.
Lastly, I hope this has indicated that diversity is an important aspect on Capgemini’s agenda and how the company succeeds at extracting value from a diverse and engaged workforce.