The NES is the first diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative developed by businesses to bring clarity and consistency in their efforts to tackle inequality and promote inclusion.
Harry Gaskell, managing partner of Ernst and Young's UK and Ireland advisory practice and head of D&I believes the "biggest strategic challenge" for employers in the next 10 years is D&I.
"As global business challenges become more complex, solving them requires calling on the widest spectrum of views and opinion to offer diversity of thought and perspective."
To be awarded the NES, each company will undertake a robust assessment against a defined set of criteria across seven standards. Trained NES assessors will then review documentation, ensure legal compliance, conduct comprehensive interviews and sample staff through in-depth surveys.
Gaskell added: "We believe that as the world becomes more complex, no individual can know all the answers, so building diverse teams becomes more important and helps us win in an increasingly globalised market.
"Beyond that we want to reinforce our commitment to help our clients create sustainable, high performing environments for their people."