Diversity drives our business forward. We’ve been speaking to people from different backgrounds in different offices across our organisation to find out exactly what diversity means to them and how it impacts our customers. In the following blog, Patrick McConville discusses his experiences and the power of a collaborative community.
Accuity sees the value in exposing people to new opportunities, learning new markets by working ‘on the ground’ in that territory, and opening new offices in regions with great potential.
Last year, an exciting opportunity arose for me to move from New York to California and open a West Coast office, expand our RegTech presence, and build a new team. I couldn’t turn down the chance to expand my skill set and diversify my career.
By encouraging people to travel and embrace new cultures, Accuity is creating a workforce that’s rich with knowledge, understanding and ideas, and allows diversity of experience to drive the business forward.
East vs. West
Though the move was exciting, it was quite an adjustment.
I quickly found that working with a bank in New York is a completely different cultural experience to working with a West Coast FinTech. For example, people’s communication styles are very different, processes are non-traditional, and the nature of the work is more diverse across the disruptive field of alternative payments.
To make this kind of move successfully requires a lot of support, which I am thankful to have had from my colleagues at Accuity. I relied on our support and sales enablement teams to help me research this new market and line up contacts to get me off to a fast start, as well as helping to refine my approach and learn the language of this innovative audience.
It is widely recognised that having a diverse workforce is good for business. I recently read that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are outperforming their competitors by 15 percent, and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are outperforming their peers by 35 percent.
I have noticed that customers are increasingly telling us that diversity is very important to them; for example, they often ask us questions about our diversity initiatives as part of their due diligence efforts, before choosing to work with us.
I believe that the more diverse your workforce, the more your customers can see themselves in you and relate to you, and that provides a competitive advantage. Businesses can’t ignore this issue and we must all continue to strive to work with as many different people from as many different backgrounds as possible.
The Power of Community
It makes me proud that I work for a company that embraces diversity and actively invests time and effort in initiatives that empower and celebrate people from all walks of life.
Accuity has a range of employee resource groups and forums that focus on diversity and inclusion – from an LGBT+ group, to the Women’s Empowerment Network, to various religious, health-related and parenting groups.
Supporting these internal communities has so many benefits. When people are not afraid to be themselves at work it breaks down barriers, offers support, and unleashes creativity. It also helps the wider organisation learn from the experiences of others, enriches our culture and fuels innovation.
Additionally, it is important to our business that we pay attention to the wider communities that surround us. All employees at Accuity get paid time off each year as part of Accuity Cares, which enables us to participate in community outreach and fundraising. It’s fantastic to work for a company that encourages people to support those in need. Importantly, the volunteer projects we get involved with also give a real sense of perspective to the work we do, and can be a fantastic team building experience.
Nurture Your Network
If I could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in their career, it would be to focus on forming strong relationships. This definitely helped me when I decided to make the cross-country move as I could leverage my network to help transition to a brand new area – both personally and professionally.
Building a network effectively will not only teach you a great deal about others in your team and the company and community as a whole, but those people will be there to support you as you progress in your career, encounter future challenges, and embrace new opportunities.