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Top employers for Working Families 4/5: Accenture


Winners of the prestigious Top Employers for Working Families awards 2012 were announced last Tuesday. In recognition of the companies who go the extra mile for working families, we profile five of the best in a special series. Today it is the turn of professional services firm, Accenture.


Global professional services

9,500 employees in the UK

Nominated for: Innovation

Accenture recognises the diversity of its employees and is committed to providing a working environment that is tailored to support all of its people in achieving the flexibility needed for a truly balanced workforce.

The professional services company has rolled out an innovative programme of video-conferencing technologies to provide viable, alternative ways to hold face-to-face meetings, meaning tricky travel arrangements, time zone difficulties and the logistics of getting lots of people in the same place at the same time are now a thing of the past.

Through top video-conferencing and communication options, Accenture has seen an increase in meeting attendance and productivity, as well as employee engagement.

"We've been examining how we can leverage technology and all the advantages to support flexible working for a number of years," says Fiona O'Hara, head of human capital and diversity. "We don't have a global HQ, for instance, because we like to have our office near where our clients are. We are quite virtual in our approach.

"Last year we ramped up our video conferencing, upgraded all our teleconferencing facilities and increased the number of facilities," she continues.

"We hosted a big senior leadership meeting in London for 400 attendees from all over the UK. These are our top 400 leaders in the UK so it was a high-profile enterprise, an annual meeting, but we'd never done it this way before.

"The feedback has told us it's an excellent strategy. It enables people to participate without travelling and the associated costs. From a business point of view, that makes a lot of sense.

"You've got to make that leap of faith. People don't have to be present in the office to do a good job. We're testament to the fact that it works."