By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Just ahead of Accenture’s International Women’s Day celebration on Friday, March 6, the company has released a survey that finds, among other things, two-thirds of respondents that say listening has become significantly more difficult in today’s digital workplace and more than 7 in 10 respondents (71 percent) believe the number of women chief technology officers will grow by 2030. Nellie Borrero, managing director, Global Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture helped us to understand the implications.
What is the purpose of the new research?
Accenture’s new research, #ListenLearnLead, which was conducted through an online survey
of 3,600 business professionals across 30 countries, focused on three primary things: understanding the importance of digital and its impact on business professionals, examining the difficulty of listening in today’s digital workplace and exploring leading and learning in a connected world.
We conduct annual research as part of our global celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) – a date designated by the United Nations to celebrate women’s successes and achievements and an important tradition at Accenture. It’s a time for us to acknowledge the growing number of women in our ranks – we are now 115,000 strong – and to explore topics that are important to both women and men. This year, our more than 200 IWD events around the world focus on recognizing, capturing and creating opportunities to listen, learn and lead. Additionally, our new virtual environment – an online, digital and interactive site – will feature live Accenture events, on-demand replays, a networking center, resource room and an expo hall. We invite women around the world to join us and watch our keynote address on Friday, March 6, with Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, 11:30 a.m. EST and Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC, 12:15 p.m. EST; register now at www.accenture.com/ListenLearnLead to watch live or access replays.
What’s the significance around the findings on multitasking? How is the ability to listen affected in the digital workplace?
Our research shows that nearly all employees (96 percent) think they are good listeners, yet the vast majority (98 percent) admit to multitasking during the workday. And, while most believe multitasking helps them accomplish more at work, the truth is more than a third (36 percent) say the constant distractions diminish their ability to do their best, which results in a loss of focus, lower-quality work and even diminished team relationships.
In fact, 80 percent of respondents say they multitask on conference calls by checking work and personal emails, using social media and reading news. As a result, people miss important information as evidenced by the nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents who report that listening has become significantly more difficult in this digital environment.
Can you explain the findings around accessibility and technology?
Our survey found that technology both helps and hinders effective leadership. While many respondents see technology as a benefit for leaders, enabling them to communicate with their teams quickly and easily, 62 percent of women and 54 percent of men view technology as “overextending” leaders by making them too accessible. Interestingly, information overload and keeping up with rapidly evolving technology also were viewed among the top challenges facing leaders today.
What are the other significant takeaways? What trends are shaping up for the future?
The good news is women are speaking up and advancing their careers. An equal number of women and men (54 percent) asked for a promotion, versus last year, when men made this request much more often. Additionally, more than half of all respondents (52 percent) said that, compared to last year, their companies are preparing more women for senior management this year. These companies understand that having women in senior management helps make their companies become stronger, smarter, more innovative and better-performing across all dimensions. In fact, 71 percent of our respondents said they believe the number of women chief technology officers will grow by 2030 – an excellent sign that people value the contribution of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.
Shifting focus to a generational perspective, our research found that millennials were more likely to ask for a raise and a promotion (68 percent and 59 percent, respectively) than their older Gen X (64 percent and 52 percent) and baby boomer (59 percent and 51 percent) colleagues. At Accenture, we know that millennials seek a variety of experiences, including professional growth. As more of them enter the workforce, every organization will need to address this differently. For example, Accenture has a virtual Careers Marketplace, which drives transparency into our career management process and encourages people to stay at the company. It enables our people to find that next adventure, whether it’s a new project assignment or a permanent position. That means no one needs to leave Accenture to find a new job, which is good for the both employees and for our business.