Challenges such as social mobility, diversity, access to healthcare and climate change cannot be solved by governments in isolation. Business has a critical role to play in developing an inclusive and prosperous society but without trust, we cannot work together to address these issues.
Our research shows there has been a negative shift in feelings among millennials about business’s motivations and ethics. In particular, there is a mismatch between what they believe responsible businesses should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities to be.
To increase trust, we believe businesses needs to use their expertise and skills to help all levels of society to develop and prosper.
At Deloitte, our people can spend 3.5 hours per month supporting our social impact strategy One Million Futures (OMF). Through OMF, we are working with more than 50 schools, charities and social enterprises, providing them with fundraising, pro bono services and volunteering. Our aim is to help one million people over five years to access education and employment.
The lack of social mobility is one reason that trust in business remains fragile. As part of our OMF strategy, we launched research (Fair access to work) to help address the challenges people face in breaking down barriers to employment equality. We also promote social mobility through our recruitment practices. These include blind recruitment, apprenticeships and programmes such as Aspire, Return to Work, and Deloitte Military Transition and Talent programme.
There are many things that can damage trust in business. How a business treats its employees is just one of them. We trust our people to organise how, when and where they work. Our people are judged on the value they bring, not the hours spent in the office.
In addition, we have a gender balance action plan, which spans recruitment through to promotion. Our industry-first Return to Work programme is in its fourth year and we have created sponsorship programmes for female senior managers and directors. Our focus is not just on gender. We have ten diversity networks, connecting people across gender, race and sexual orientation.
Our Leader charter sets out the behaviours we expect from everyone at Deloitte. We have put 6,000 of our senior people through inclusive leadership workshops and created Respect & Inclusion advisors. Separately, our junior advisory group brings fresh perspectives to the UK Executive’s decision making. We also have mandatory firm-wide ethics training.
We measure our OMF impact in the ‘futures’ we have supported, which are verified by an external organisation. Since OMF began, we have supported more than 480,000 futures and contributed more than £10 million to society. In year two, over a third of our people volunteered to support the programme. Some examples from OMF include a pro bono project for homeless charity Depaul UK, free English lessons for refugees and mentoring for young people in 19 schools across the UK.
Our annual impact awards recognise teams and individuals across all grades, for making an impact that matters for their colleagues, clients and society. Winners’ stories are shared in our annual Impact Report and demonstrate the difference Deloitte makes. The report focuses on how we increase trust and confidence in the capital markets, support inclusive growth and build skills needed to help the UK thrive.
One Million Futures aims to help a million people get to where they want to be, through education and employment. Since its launch, we have focused our programmes and initiatives on what matters most to Deloitte, raising aspirations, improving skills and developing leaders. Through this, we have been able to better engage our people, harnessing their valuable skills and knowledge. As a result, we have a greater and more authentic impact in society.
Our key lesson would be to think about the skills and expertise of your business, use them to engage your people and make a positive difference within your organisation and in wider society.