How Accenture is making student recruitment more sustainable

Jul 11, 2023 | Attraction & marketing, Case studies, Home Featured

Accenture explains its award-winning approach to sustainable student recruitment.

Sustainability is embedded into every part of Accenture’s early talent recruitment strategy.

We created a sustainability sub-team; empowering passionate recruiters to make positive change in this space to pioneer and champion the sustainability agenda across our early talent operations.

To hold ourselves accountable, we signed up to the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance (SRA) pledge to ‘Review, Reduce and Report’. We reviewed our current processes, looking at our mix of digital vs in-person events, who travels and how, and our pre-existing suppliers.

We raised awareness within our team, creating a sustainability hub so recruiters could access information needed to make sustainable decisions and the options for sustainable suppliers.

We also introduced a newsletter and hosted regular team meetings to discuss our sustainability goals. At an organisational level, colleagues have access to sustainability training, helping us make better business and individual decisions.

To further knowledge sharing, we hosted roundtables. Key takeaways included how we more mindfully engage with students, through campus events, virtual insight days and promotional materials. This highlighted the importance students place on sustainability, and some in-person engagement.

We then reviewed how we incorporate sustainability into early talent initiatives, for example running ‘Sustainability at Accenture’ sessions during our insight weeks and internships.

 

Greener ways of engaging students

Our key sustainability decision was maintaining a focus on virtual events, completely removing paper-based flyers, replacing suppliers and merchandise with more sustainable alternatives or where possible, not using them at all.

Research shows that students reject recruitment freebies

We ensured that the majority of our internships also ran online to reduce environmental impact, while increasing our ability to reach a broad and diverse audience.

This included our ‘Accenture LIVE’ series of 11 events, nine initiatives including ‘Empowering Black Futures’ and ‘Empowering Female Futures’, and three summer internships. These were hosted on Microsoft Azure cloud, selected because it runs with renewable energy.

Although our talent attraction is largely delivered virtually, we have in some cases gone back on campus with the specific aim of establishing meaningful connections with students where this is particularly important.

For example, a growth in our technology hiring UK-wide has identified areas of the UK we need to build stronger brand presences and connection with STEM students.

We have removed the use of flyers or merchandise and replaced these with QR codes as a source of information. Additionally, we give away edible gifts as an alternative for merchandise, sourced through local suppliers, for example ‘Positive Bakes’.

To be set up as a supplier in our internal portal, all businesses complete a form outlining their key ethics and sustainability practices.

Everyone attending events must make ‘climate smart’ travel decisions, meaning public transport should be used and the person attending the event is partly selected on their proximity. Through our Accenture ‘travel tool’ we can see which option is the least carbon intensive.

Our assessment and onboarding process continues to be completely virtual. From assessment centres to paperless online contracts, to our new joiner platform Enboarder, which allows us to communicate with students directly through text message or email.

 

Impact

Within the early talent team, we introduced new processes and strategies to effectively reach and support our target audience, whilst having the smallest environmental impact possible.

We focused on four key approaches:

Digital first

We continue to take a digital first approach with the majority of our events being held virtually. We did include limited in-person activity to support our new regional offices, both in the form of larger brand awareness and smaller events with diversity-focused societies.

For 2022/2023 we held 27 virtual events with 5000 attendees and 20 in-person events with 1000 attendees

Reduction of materials

Within the team we made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of material that is used and sent to candidates. Where we send welcome gifts, we use local suppliers with a sustainable business model.

We went from printing over 29,000 flyers and brochures in 2019, to 0 flyers over the last two years.

Travel reduction

Event faculty is sourced on a proximity basis. Our assessment centres also continue to take place virtually.

On average, we saw 2,389 candidates (based on previous two years’ data) attend assessment centres during the campus season, therefore massively reducing our carbon footprint.

Sustainable skills sessions

With each insight week we incorporated a learning/awareness-based sustainability session run by our corporate function team.

So far, six sustainability sessions have been organised, upskilling every team member and ensuring they have what they need to factor sustainability into every decision.

 

What’s next?

Accenture strives to take full responsibility for environmental, social and governance matters, starting at the top with our board overseeing our ESG strategies.

This helps to ensure we reach our goals and reflect our objectives in day-to-day work. This is true for our early talent recruitment team.

Our pledges include:

Sustainability focused programmes

We will continue to embed sustainability in everything we do and increase students’ awareness and confidence in this area.

This year we implemented recruitment initiatives including a green coding hackathon and continuing to run our sustainability sessions during insight weeks.

Reduction in travel miles and merchandise

Recruiters will be encouraged to continue with the virtual first approach, make climate smart decisions and allocate themselves to their nearest university location.

We’ll encourage everyone to use small, ethical, local businesses for new joiner activities, welcome gifts and other promotional materials.

Training & Development

We will incorporate further sustainability training into the early talent team’s learning and development strategy. And encourage all members to complete Accenture’s Sustainability Quotient training to support them in making more sustainable decisions.

 

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