Speaker 1: Welcome to the Inclusive Growth Show with Toby Mildon. Future-proofing your business by creating a diverse workplace.
Toby Mildon: Hello there, and welcome to this episode of the Inclusive Growth Show. I’m Toby Mildon, and today, I’m joined by Emma Codd. Now, Emma was my boss when I worked at Deloitte. She was the managing partner for Talent, for the UK firm. She’s since moved on to a global role within the professional services firm, which we will be talking about, as well as talking about diversity and inclusion, and how important it is for senior leaders to really be accountable in responsibility for D&I in the workplace. So, Emma, welcome to the show.
Emma Codd: Thanks, Toby. Really nice to be catching up.
Toby Mildon: I know. It’s lovely, lovely to catch up with you. Emma, can you let us know a bit more about your career backgrounds, because working in diversity inclusion is a relatively new role for you, because you have a background in accountancy as well. So it’d be good to get to understand a bit about how you, how you got into your current role.
Emma Codd: Yeah, of course. So I sort of got into it by stealth, I suppose is the best way to describe it. I’m actually not a trained accountant, but I joined Deloitte back in 1997 with a game plan of staying there for three years. [chuckle] The rest was history. And I joined the Forensic Department, so I’m actually a risk consultant by background, and had spent many years helping clients to identify and mitigate corruption and integrity risk. And I really loved it, and thought I would never find anything else that I loved as much.
Emma Codd: And then in 2013 our then CEO, David Sproul, so that’s the CEO of Deloitte UK, asked me to go and see him, have a meeting with him, and at that stage, he offered me a position on his leadership team. So it… Which is the executive committee. At that time there were, I think, around 14, maybe 13 people on that, and he asked me to join that committee and to take on the role of managing partner for Talent, which effectively meant that I was responsible for everything that we did on people.
Emma Codd: Now, prior to that, my only real talent experience, I suppose, was leading people. I had a large team that I’d established when I joined Deloitte, and have managed to keep most of them and keep most of them very engaged and productive and happy. I’d also been sponsoring partner of our women’s network for a good few years as well, and actually was just passionate about culture and needing to love where you work and needing to want to go into work every day.
Emma Codd: So yeah, that’s really how I got into it. I stayed in that UK role for six years, which is pretty unusual. Normally, the roles are, every couple of years they change. I was lucky enough to carry on in the role for six years. And then about a year ago, I went into a global role and I’m now Global Inclusion Leader.
Toby Mildon: Brilliant. And what kind of… What kind of things are you doing on that global level ’cause when you and I worked together, we were very much fixed on the UK and North West Europe region, but global is such a big job.
Emma Codd: It is. We are… So an organization, we have over 300,000 people around the world. We operate in over 150 countries. You can just imagine the complexities that are involved in that level and spread of operations. So when we were in the UK, and when I was leading Talent in the UK, I remember always thinking we had a huge mountain to climb. And we did actually climb a big part of that mountain, and you were, played a critical role in that.
Emma Codd: But I have to say, moving into a global role, it totally opens your eyes. You become more aware of cultural issues and national cultural issues, you become more aware of legal issues. From a global perspective, we, LGBT+ inclusion is a really critical pillar of our global inclusion strategy, and we’re proud to have signed up to the UN standards against discrimination of LGBT people, and then we’re implementing those.
Emma Codd: And the challenges that are involved where you are… You have people, you are operating in countries where same sex relationships are against the law, and in some places punishable by death penalty. That’s a whole different ball game to dealing with the challenges that I dealt with from a UK perspective, but I love it.
Emma Codd: I am very purpose-driven. I’m a bit of a change maker, and I wouldn’t be doing any other job, having thought that I would never find a job that engaged me as much as my old client service risk job. Within a few months of doing UK Talent role, I realized how much I loved doing this work. And that hasn’t changed, it’s just, it gets better every day.
Toby Mildon: Yeah, I think, having worked with you, you’re one of those leaders who are very genuine and authentic when it comes to diversity and inclusion. So not only do you understand why it’s important for the performance of the business, but you understand how an inclusive culture is important to individuals. And so many… I’ve worked with quite a few senior leaders in businesses who, they don’t really walk the talk when it comes to behaving inclusively.
Toby Mildon: They say all the right words, but I just don’t feel like they really, they’re not really, really getting it. And that was one of the reasons why I was drawn to working at Deloitte, because Deloitte had much more of a focus on culture change than where I had worked previously, which felt a bit more kind of tactical.
Toby Mildon: And so I wanted to come and work for Deloitte to understand why culture was so important, but in that front, why do you think culture is so important in building inclusive work places?
Emma Codd: I love that question. I am passionate about this. I, look, if I had time to read lots of books, I would probably… I have actually read your book, by the way.
Toby Mildon: Thanks.
Emma Codd: One of the few though, I’ve actually have time to read. And if I did have time to read, I would probably be spouting lots of academic theory at you. But look, to me, it’s really basic. I’ve always said, we talk about diversity and inclusion, and I just think that you don’t get diversity without inclusion. Equally, you don’t get inclusion without diversity, but I think the inclusion bit what I always said when I was leading Talent for the UK firm was, this is about how our people feel when they come in to the workplace or you dial in, in the days we’re currently living in, whether you feel included or excluded, whether you feel respected or disrespected.
Emma Codd: Do you feel happy? Or do you feel sick? And that honestly… And do you know what? I felt both. And in my career, I’ve spent most of my career being in a minority. I’ve spent most of my career in meetings where I’m either the only, or I am in a minority. And the real thing for me was those things that get built into your culture over time that become acceptable. And you don’t formally make them acceptable, it’s just in people’s minds, they become, “Oh, that’s just the way it is. That’s just the way they are.”
Emma Codd: And for me, and for the UK, in particular, when we first started looking at this, we knew we… Basically all we could measure at that time was gender. So that’s an issue, if your people aren’t giving you the data that you need to see where you are on all protector characteristics, then you need to ask yourself why, about why they’re not.
Emma Codd: So we can measure gender and we could see we had a real challenge and we could see that at the top of our organization, the most senior roles, we did not have enough women, and then you could see exactly where we were losing them. And when we did the analysis, at particular manager and senior manager level, this is particularly with women, in particular, we were seeing the stark drop off. And when we actually then looked at the data, there were two reasons. There was work life balance and there was culture.
Emma Codd: And the culture bit, when you looked at work-life balance, we have policies, we have procedures, did anyone believe that they could progress in their career and work in an agile, or as we called it then, a flexible way? No, of course, they didn’t. Because the subliminal messaging, whatever it was, doing the walk of shame at 5 o’clock in the afternoon when you have to leave work for whatever reason.
Emma Codd: And so did the policies work? No, they didn’t and they weren’t working because of the culture. And that was the same when we then looked at that sort of, the people leaving us because of culture, and those of whom I could speak to that I knew and was able to chat to, made very clear to me that when we were talking about culture, we were talking about what I would term as our everyday culture.
Emma Codd: And that’s actually, when we talk now about microaggressions, the term that has been around for so long, and yet we’re hearing it so much these days, that’s what we mean, and what our people meant by culture. And they were telling us loud and clear when I asked women and others in the minority that were in our organization, “Why would you think about leaving us? Why did your friends leave us? Why may this not be the place that you wanna spend your career?”
Emma Codd: And it was always the same. It was that everyday culture, it was banter, it was the comments. And then it was the… Fear is too strong a word, but it was… There were two concerns about… I would always say, “Well, why didn’t you flag it? Why didn’t you report it?” And the individuals would say, “Well, it’s not big enough to go to HR, it didn’t feel big enough,” or they would say, “But the person that this relates to is someone that basically can decide my career, so why would I?”
Emma Codd: And you know want, I did the same, so I know why people felt that way. But the one thing I knew is if we did not work on our everyday culture, and that wasn’t just… To your point, that that wasn’t just about coming out with some clever messaging in a film, which we did do. We came up with an amazing Ask Yourself film, and we came up with constant messaging, it was actually taking action, it was creating ways to speak up.
Emma Codd: So that to me, where you talk about inclusion, it is about an inclusive everyday culture, where you can go to work, you can be as much of yourself as you choose or want to be, and you just are happy, engaged and want to be there. I think too many workplaces even now jump straight down the route of policy, policy, policy, and you need policy. Or they take an approach, which is a “fix the person” approach, which is my big bugbear.
Emma Codd: Do you know what, it’s quite easy to set up a program that… So if we make a sweeping assumption, “Oh, women don’t have enough confidence. Oh, let’s set up a program and giving women more confidence.” Well, you know, what I would rather we were doing was looking at our organizations, looking at our everyday culture, and actually fixing that before we start trying to fix the people that we employ, because in reality, those people tend not need to be fixed. It’s the culture that needs to be fixed in most cases.
Toby Mildon: Yes, it’s the culture, and it’s also the kind of the structural stuff. So like you say, if an organization isn’t very good at flexible or agile working, then that creates a barrier for people who perhaps have caring responsibilities. Or they’ve got interests outside work and they’re kind of having to constantly balance their outside interests and work.
Toby Mildon: When I wrote my book, there’s a whole chapter on culture, and I think I said at the beginning of the chapter that it was probably the hardest chapter to write, because for me, culture is this thing that I just, I couldn’t get my arms around it, it was hard to define. I think it was something that you said when we worked together that actually kind of inspired me to write that chapter, ’cause it was basically culture is the sum of our everyday behaviors, and that’s essentially what culture is, it is those small things.
Toby Mildon: And it’s really interesting how things like microaggressions make people feel, because if somebody’s on the receiving end of microaggressions, sometimes they end up feeling like there is something wrong with them, and yeah, it’s difficult to challenge. But what’s your advice for organizations that want to change their culture to become more inclusive? How do they actually go about that culture change?
Emma Codd: That’s again, a really good question, and it’s the, what’s the expression? The $20 million question or 2 million or whatever. I, look, I think if I look at what we did and back at Deloitte in the UK, I think the first thing that’s really needed is leadership buy-in. And in order to… And actually just showing very starkly.
Emma Codd: And I always said, I’ve got the leaders that will instinctively listen and hear what I have to say and will just get it, and they’ll know that there’s things that we need to do to change, and then there are leaders that I needed to show the money, and that’s the reality. And the world is full of different brilliant people and we think differently.
Emma Codd: So I did a couple of things to start with, so to me, data is key, but do not get caught up in analysis paralysis. Because one of my real bugbears is that people, I think, can use data gathering as an excuse to put off doing something else. I’ve been in so many… On so many occasions where, “Oh, let’s get some more data,” or, “Oh, why don’t we go and look at the data for this,” and you can see the relief in someone’s body language that, “Oh, I’ve got another few months where I can go and do some more data analysis.”
Emma Codd: You know what, it’s just we did it very quickly, we looked at our exit data, we looked at reasons for leaving, we looked at our engagement survey data. The verbatims were genius. The verbatims, we asked a simple question, one question, and that gave me a real insight into how people were feeling.
Emma Codd: Now, I hasten to add, people… We’re really, I love this organization, I love my firm. I wouldn’t work anywhere else. But we are like many other organizations, and there are just things that are structurally built in, in terms of the way we work, the things that… The way people communicate, the way that people lead as well, and so it’s getting the data, getting the quotes.
Emma Codd: And then I held my listening groups, and for those, by the way, I needed to show the money to, I calculated the cost of replacement of everybody that we had lost. In one financial year, at manager and senior manager level, everyone that we had lost due to work-life balance and culture, or and/or culture. And that number came out at 68 million pounds.
Emma Codd: I used that ruthlessly, every conversation I would have or I could feel that the room was moving away, I would say, “Right, I’ve got 68 million pounds in my hand on the table, should we just chuck that out the window, basically?” So that was the sort of show me the money bet, and it was very much talking to them, I was somebody that was in client service at the same time, so like many busy people, my Talent role was held alongside a client service role.
Emma Codd: And I was able to say to them “Look, I’m serving clients, I need to do this. And this is still, this is why this is so important from a client perspective.” Then it was basically taking everything we knew and working out, “Right, what’s the answer?” And I suppose, to come back to the fact that I had experienced microaggressions, honestly, throughout my career. And they’re often, don’t forget, these are often unintended.
Emma Codd: That’s the whole thing about microaggressions, I think the name itself, with the use of that word “aggression”, that sometimes people instantly jump to this being intentional, but in most of my life, it has not. What I’ve experienced has very rarely been intentional. There’s been somebody that has been using particular terminology or saying something and then, do you know what? They’ll say it to me and it’ll sit in my head, and then they’ll say something again and it’ll sit in my head and it’ll solely undermine how I feel about myself.
Emma Codd: So for me, it was basically, “Here, listen to our people,” and then work out the solution. So our people were telling us that they were experiencing these everyday behaviors that were non-inclusive, they were telling us that they didn’t feel stuff was big enough to go to HR. They were telling us that they were worried about career penalty.
Emma Codd: So what did we do? What we could either stick out a bit of leadership messaging and not have anyone walking the talk, or we could change things. So we changed things, we basically, we developed leadership, inclusive leadership sessions, and not unconscious bias training, but basically sessions where we really sat people in a room, 20 people at a time and played them some home truths. And then we got them to talk and listen and think, and think about some of the stories that they were hearing, were they stories that they had actually, did they recognize them?
Emma Codd: And then to realize that, you know what? We’re all accountable for our behaviour, and that we need to call things out when we see things as well. Then when it came to the calling out side, we knew that we had to create additional ways for people to call things out. So we basically, again, don’t forget this was back in 2013, 2014, but we basically introduced a hotline. We created respect and inclusion advisors, so people within the business that were trusted, that you could go and talk to to try and work out, “What’s the best route for me to raise this?”
Emma Codd: We in-built everyday behaviors and our expected everyday behaviors into 360-degree leadership feedback. So every year you would get this really detailed report around how you really lead. Do you call things out when you see things? And that would go into a development report for you. We made that, we built that in before director promotions, before partner promotions.
Emma Codd: And then finally, the one thing we saw as this messaging started to go through, and our CEO was amazing and you just heard a consistent message from him all the time, which was, “We will not tolerate behaviour that’s counter to our values, and regardless of the seniority of the person, of those involved.” And that was really important because we are a hierarchy.
Emma Codd: And obviously for us, the final thing was that our CEO and leadership took the right action. Because people, I think had the view, “Well, if it’s somebody that’s a big hitter, then no action will be taken.” Well, it was. And obviously, we had that Financial Times headline, whenever it was, a year or so, a year and a half ago.
Emma Codd: But that was so important, that where somebody had raised and that we always investigated, and that we were always really clear on what we just simply would not tolerate. So that’s how we did it. It took a long time. I would say if we started this around 2014, it’s still ongoing, but certainly about four years of really concerted effort and measurements and everything. But it was not a program, it was a culture focus. Focus on our everyday culture.
Toby Mildon: And that’s the thing with culture change, it takes time to shift the person. And I always say to my clients that diversity and inclusion is not a project. It doesn’t have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s a way of being, it’s a way of conducting yourself. What I really like about the Deloitte way of doing things, is that it was all about, I suppose, getting into the fabric of the organization, it wasn’t a box-ticking exercise.
Toby Mildon: You were using data to come up with the right solutions, to solve the right problems. And it wasn’t about fixing individuals, it was about looking at what’s happening systemically in the organization that’s slowing down people or preventing them from getting ahead in the organization. So why is it important for a chief executive and their senior leadership team to take more accountability and responsibility for inclusions?
Emma Codd: It’s in reality, too many organizations say the right thing, and this, I think it comes back to something you said much earlier, where it’s walking the talk. You know, this is really critical. You can go, you can look at all the amazing research that McKinsey does. So their research is excellent. And you look at the productivity gains, all of that side of things, that without doubt, diverse and inclusive organizations outperform those that aren’t.
Emma Codd: And you can’t argue with that data, it’s there’s so much of it out there. And then how does an organization actually make sure it’s within its DNA? Well, the same as with everything else, your focus is on enterprise risk. Who owns that? Ultimately the CEO and the leadership team own that. Well, that needs to be the same with diversity and inclusion. And I think sadly, there are so many organizations where that isn’t a reality.
Emma Codd: I do so many… You’ll go… Like you, you speak at various events where I’ll talk about what we’ve done, what needs to happen, and the number of conversations I have with people who lead on D&I, who are striving against all the odds to try and bring about change, and they do not feel that they have the support of their senior leaders.
Emma Codd: If this is something that is really important to an organization, it should be up there very high on the CEO’s agenda. And quite simply, it is important because again, we know it makes commercial sense. This isn’t a nice to have, this is actually something that commercially, you cannot argue with.
Emma Codd: Therefore, if you’ve got something that says, “Well, my organization is gonna outperform the norm by, well, 15 times. Oh, but I’m just gonna give that role to somebody that I’m not gonna give a lot of support to, I’m not gonna give huge amounts of budget to, and I’m gonna sort of put them away to the side in this team.” I mean, who would do that? No, no. That just makes no sense at all.
Emma Codd: And so to me, that’s why I could not have achieved any of what I have achieved within the UK. Actually the same in my global role now, the support that I have from my Global CEO, from my Global People and Purpose Leader, and others in leadership, our Global Chair. You can’t achieve it without that, it’s just that simple.
Toby Mildon: Yeah. So the person or the people that mostly listen to this podcast, are HR directors and diversity and inclusion leaders, where a business has them. I think one of the biggest stresses or frustrations that they have is that they really do get the business case for diversity and inclusion, but they feel like they don’t have that senior level support.
Toby Mildon: So what is your advice to that HR director or diversity and inclusion leader, in trying to get the chief exec to take more responsibility and accountability for D&I?
Emma Codd: I think it depends on the type of company that you’re in. I would always say get a senior sponsor that sits on your board or your ExCo, or both, if you have both. If we’re talking about a company that has a board as part of its governance structure, then actually the chair, and the IMEs, if that is the case, they will care about this. They will want to see things happen.
Emma Codd: And so, to me, it is getting those allies and sponsors, because you do need somebody sitting around that leadership table to be there, to advocate, to help make change happen. If you look at… So if you go back to why we started, which is a critical part of achieving change when it comes to diversity within an organization is about the inclusive culture, so it is about your everyday culture, that is gonna mean some really tough decisions and actions.
Emma Codd: You’re not gonna be able to get any of that, make any of that happen, unless you have that buy-in. Now, how you get that buy-in? Obviously, yes, is make sure that as I have said that you have got relevant board members, whether it’s a Chair, whether it’s IMEs, or whether it’s people on the ExCo, make sure that they are aware and aware of how critical this is, and that they are sponsoring this.
Emma Codd: But it’s also thinking about my, I suppose my approach, as I was talking about earlier, which is the “show me the money” approach. It is insane in this day and age that any leader of an organization would not understand why having a diverse business is, in some way is critical for business success, and it’s just showing them why.
Emma Codd: And with me, it was that calculation that gave me that £68 million number. And in talking with my CEO, because he wasn’t one of those people that needed the 68 million number, it was the real life stories from our people. That’s why I shared a few of those. And honestly, all I had to do was read out one and that was it.
Emma Codd: And so it’s finding the right way to do it, but honestly, I think unless you have that senior level support, it’s really difficult to bring about the change that you need to. And it can feel relentless and overwhelming, and everyone has a new program they want you to do, whereas in reality, the real change will come by ensuring the culture is really inclusive.
Toby Mildon: I think when I worked at Deloitte, I always felt quite fortunate that I felt that my role as a diversity and inclusion practitioner working within the HR team, was that I felt like I could make an impact in the workplace, because I was reporting into you and you were one of the, the top partners in the firm.
Toby Mildon: And I had, in previous places that I’d worked, I hadn’t had that level of sponsorship, I was reporting into a middle manager basically, and we just couldn’t have that impact in the organization. So this is of course, the Inclusive Growth Show. I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are about what inclusive growth means and why you think it’s important, particularly in the professional services sector?
Emma Codd: Oh gosh, I… Look, from a professional services perspective, we are client-serving business, we are our people. That’s what we have, is we have a large number of absolutely amazing people. And those people will be at their best, as I said right at the start, is if they are engaged, feel included, able to be themselves, and when we all know what covering does, we all know the lowering of productivity, it just, it is a no-brainer.
Emma Codd: For me, having an inclusive culture enables all sorts of amazing things. I was talking to somebody the other day, and we were talking about there being a colleague who’d been talking about this incredible diverse group of people that they had, and actually the really interesting thing is they not only had this amazingly diverse group of people within their team, but they also are such an inclusive leader, that the team was just knocking the ball out of the park.
Emma Codd: It’s an amazingly high-performing team, and everyone wants to know, “What’s the magic there?” And the magic is, is that you don’t just have this diverse group of people on paper, you have a diverse group of people who are led in such a way that all their voices are heard. And if there is a quiet voice, then there’ll be a way that this leader will bring that voice out.
Emma Codd: And honestly, they are really high performing, and you look at teams like that, and you just see that with an inclusive culture, inclusion, it is there as the foundation for diversity, and actually respect is the foundation that sits below inclusion, it’s the one word, I haven’t really mentioned, but that was the big push for me, was that word “respect”, respect for each other, frankly. And that to me is what inclusive growth is all about, it’s about enabling a business, enabling a team and enabling a business to be the best that they can be, where they knock the ball out of the park.
Toby Mildon: That’s cool. So just before we go Emma, I know that you’ve recently been working on the report looking at the impact of the pandemic on women in the workplace. Can you just tell us a bit more about that report and how we can get a copy?
Emma Codd: Yes, thanks Toby. So basically, have a look at my LinkedIn or go on to our website, Deloitte.com website, and go into the inclusion pages, you’ll see that report there. It’s basically a piece of research that we did, it was a poll survey, it was around 400 women in nine countries around the world, and what we wanted to do, there’s so much research being conducted into the impact of the pandemic on women in the workplace.
Emma Codd: But actually what we had realized there was very little that was actually listening to the women themselves, and we wanted to understand where women actually saw themselves in terms of the pandemic impact, and of course, the impact of the pandemic on human lives has been, we all know how horrific this is.
Emma Codd: What we were looking at was actually the implications when it comes to women in the workplace and how these women were feeling. I’ll be honest, I’m one of those women. I, in March, and I’ve got two children, they’re now 11, they were just starting… They’ve just started secondary school, literally five weeks ago with all the nightmare that that comes [0:33:58.8] ____ The ups and downs.
Emma Codd: And in March, I had… I had childcare, I had a whole support structure around me that enabled me to be happy, to be engaged, to be doing a good job, and to make sure that my children got the best bits of me. And honestly, that all went down the toilet, basically, in March. And my nanny actually got COVID, and my… And it just, that’s what we want to see. Just so many of my friends I was speaking to were and are on the verge of dropping out to the workplace because of the load.
Emma Codd: Now, I’m not suggesting it’s only mothers that look after children, believe me, but we all know the data that’s out there that’s showing at the moment, child care, caring for others, there is, it’s disproportionately women that are still performing those caregiving roles.
Emma Codd: So we’ve looked at what is, what has happened. It’s really stark. Over 80% of women, of the women that we spoke to, believe that they have… That the pandemic has impacted their working lives, and actually the majority of those say it’s happened in a negative way through increased caring, whether it’s for family members, whether it’s for children, this feeling of being overwhelmed, mental health issues, physical health issues.
Emma Codd: And it is also not just people who are carers, it’s other women as well, and they’re feeling different levels of stress, but basically, it’s not good. And the other thing that was very interesting was we used the piece of research to find out, “If you do stay and you want to progress, when you look at what’s needed to progress in the organization, do you believe this is something you want to do?”
Emma Codd: And quite interesting stats on those women that basically say that when they look above them in the organization and see what they believe is necessary to progress, they doubt whether they want to. And that comes down to microaggressions, work-life balance and all things we’ve just been talking about now. So whether we’re in the pandemic, or whether we’re… Let’s hope, whether we’re through the pandemic, the cultural issues are just as critical.
Toby Mildon: Brilliant. Well, the person listening to the, our chat today should definitely go on the deloitte.com website and download that report. Emma, thank you ever so much for joining me on this episode of the show. I’ve really enjoyed catching up with you. You’re always full of wisdom, and what I love is that you think about diversity and inclusion at a very strategic level, which I think we need more of that. This is not change that can happen overnight. We need to embed it into the culture and the DNA of organizations.
Toby Mildon: It’s not a box-ticking exercise, it’s… We shouldn’t be trying to fix individuals, we need to be looking at the business cultures and systems that hold people back. So yeah. I love talking to you about this kinda stuff. So thanks for joining me. And thank you for tuning into this episode of the Inclusive Growth Show. I hope you enjoyed listening to Emma and I. Please look out for the next episode, which will be coming up very shortly. Until then, take care and thanks very much.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to the Inclusive Growth Show. For further information and resources from Toby and his team, head on over to our website at mildon.co.uk.