The firm has
I would say it’s become more
neutral and more balanced.
It’s become a lot less of a
macho organization, a lot
more of a “Let’s challenge
each other and make
the right decisions.”
because when you think about a global strategy, there
are two trends that are really shaping the future. One
is the shift in capital from the west to the east from
the north to the south, developed markets to emerging markets. Just as important is the demographic
shift that people coming out of universities today
around the world are much more diverse around
gender, ethnicity, orientation. Those two shifts are the
transformational priorities that drive Ernst & Young’s
They drive where we’re investing in the emerging
markets. They drive where we make the bets, where
we take global funds and invest hundreds of millions of
dollars. That is key. But just as important is being the
best organization we can be and the best in the profession in the world in terms of diversity and inclusion.
It’s all around being able to work together effectively
with people that aren’t like you, whether that’s somebody who is a white male like me but who is French.
We might look alike but our cultures are fantastically
different in a very rich way.
VISCONTI It’s a big shift for white males in this country because our generation was all about the “melting
E&Y’S JIM TURLEY
pot” and now it’s about valuing differences as assets.
TURLEY It’s an enormous shift because we’ve also
been taught over the years that if you treat everybody
the same, then you’re doing the right thing. Guess
what? If you’re treating everybody equally, they’re
interpreting it very differently, so it’s not equitable.
We’ve seen a lot of research that the teams we’re all
going to be working on in the future, whether it’s here
in the United States or around the world, are going to
be more diverse around every dimension of diversity.
Historically, too often you’d have a white male who
would keep the ideas off the table and try to dominate the conversation instead of really collaborating.
Getting the culture right is very important.
VISCONTI Your firm’s website focuses on talent
management, and the Ernst & Young global talent-management study ties management to return on
equity for investors. What metrics would you advise
companies to track to recognize ROE, and how does
diversity talent relate to talent management?
TURLEY The metrics are always tough. At first, it is
vital to tie talent management and diversity and inclusion to business strategy and how it drives directly to
the transformational priorities.
We do global people surveys regularly. We find it
is a great way to actually measure not just feelings
of comfort and perception but how the organization
is being received. We can slice and dice that data by
geography, by country, by city, by gender, by ethnicity, by nationality, and just in the last cycle, we began
asking voluntarily for people to self-identify if they’re
LGBT or have a disability. Separately, we look at things
like retention statistics, performance-evaluation statistics, and where we assign our people. In our world,
if you’re not getting the right job assignments when
you’re younger, then your own development is not
going to be what it can be.
VISCONTI There’s still a dearth—not just at your firm
but in your industry—of women partners at the top of
the company. How do you keep women engaged? How
does your leadership style encourage and tell those
women that this is your trajectory?
TURLEY First, you have to be totally transparent about
it and admit that we aren’t where we need to be and
want to get. Having said that, we’re actually seeing
some good success in women in some very visible and
very important leadership roles.
Look at our Americas board, for example; it’s about
25 percent women. When you look at the seven geographically based business units in the United States,