People: Creating a better normal

Through the many challenges of the past several months, successful businesses have focused on people—identifying ways to support employees, clients and other members of society during the COVID-19 crisis and helping them prepare for the world after it.

The pandemic accelerated new, more flexible ways of working and increased awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace. But, perhaps more notably, the dual health care and economic crises heightened awareness among business leaders of the importance of other issues—including trust, empathy, training and development, diversity and inclusion, and having a purpose beyond profit.

Throughout the pandemic, employees have revealed more about themselves; remote workers shared glimpses into their private lives while essential workers vocalised their personal struggles. This has elicited empathy during a time of crisis that advances understanding and helps create a deeper relationship between managers and team members.

Everyone wants to feel they can be themselves and to thrive in their careers. Deloitte’s culture is supported by its ALL IN diversity and inclusion strategy, which is focused on providing all Deloitte people with equal opportunities to grow, develop and succeed.

Through ALL IN, Deloitte aims to increase the recruitment, retention, promotion and recognition of underrepresented groups and achieve gender balance across the organization. The strategy also empowers LBGT+ colleagues to feel confident and thrive at Deloitte. And it promotes mental health resources that are critical to creating an inclusive workplace.

Enhancing flexibility is another way companies can address mental health and improve their employees’ environments. The pandemic reinforced that some jobs, often the most essential ones, cannot be done remotely. But teachers, doctors, consultants and others proved out of necessity that many tasks can be more flexible than previously imagined.

When COVID-19 hit, organizations adopted technologies that enabled seamless collaboration; adjusted schedules to accommodate team, client and family obligations; and encouraged teaming and job sharing to meet changing business needs.

In doing so, many business leaders observed what Deloitte has long known: People who can work from any place at any time are more productive, creative and efficient. In Deloitte Global’s 2020 Millennial Survey, two-thirds of millennials said that working remotely enables a better work/life balance. Half of all respondents said they’ve felt more able to bring their “true selves” to work by having their offices at home. There also are tangible cost and environmental benefits to working remotely; reduced commuting, for example, can save families money, time and reduce CO2 emissions.

As an increasing number of Deloitte clients shift to alternative working arrangements, practitioners have leveraged this know-how to offer valuable guidance to ensure these transitions are seamless. And as society reopens, Deloitte will continue to provide the insights they need to make flexible work not only a back-up option, but also a valuable solution.

Even with the temporary closure of all Deloitte University facilities in the wake of COVID-19, the organisation continues to provide its professionals with training opportunities, launching Cura, a virtual platform to deliver customised learning content instantly to approximately 330,000 Deloitte people. Deloitte has also maintained its commitment to professional development and promotion programs, understanding that building leaders for the future is more important than ever.

Business leaders today, however, must do more than just prepare their own people for the workplace of tomorrow. Deloitte is committed to empowering people everywhere to think creatively, use technology efficiently and communicate effectively so they can prosper in this new world.

In communities around the globe, access to quality education and job opportunities has not been equal. This ultimately contributes to a less diversity in the workforce generally. At Deloitte, we believe we make the greatest societal impact when our professionals use their skills and knowledge to help those from traditionally underrepresented segments of society achieve their aspirations and reach their potential.

Through WorldClass, Deloitte people are engaging in concentrated efforts to develop job skills, improve educational outcomes and expand opportunities for 50 million people worldwide by 2030. During FY2020, WorldClass touched the lives of more than 7 million people through nearly US$105 million of investments in WorldClass activities, including almost 770,000 hours of volunteer and pro bono time.

We also encourage Deloitte people to mentor members of their communities, connect with nonprofit organisations focused on education, and engage in candid conversations about the effects of systemic racism.

Deloitte launched a number of initiatives to aid people in response to COVID-19. In the past, Deloitte firms around the world hosted Impact Days, or annual days of service. We’ve reimagined our approach to giving back in response to COVID-19. Focusing on Impact Every Day, Deloitte has provided lifesaving supplies to essential workers on the front lines; donated airline ticket balances that enabled medical professionals to travel to treat patients; and provided additional support to organisations with which Deloitte collaborates through WorldClass to help the 1.5 billion children whose educations have been impacted by lockdowns.

The pandemic has amplified the need for employers to actively invest in their people, support communities, uplift citizens and tackle society’s most complex challenges. It’s shown just how connected people are around the globe and how quickly business leaders can respond in a crisis—lessons that can guide the development of a better future.