Putting puzzles together is one of the oldest human pastimes. No matter how big or small, solving one takes strategy and skill. Some people start with the corners, and others start with the middle pieces. The key to completion is consistently combining pieces to create a clear, cohesive picture. Sometimes, putting that perfect image together isn’t easy. But most things that are important don’t come easily. It takes planning, patience and seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.
Trent Johnson, Augmented Insights Senior Manager within Accenture’s Technology practice and a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocate, saw the bigger picture. His vision helped lead to AWARE, the Accenture Workplace Accountability Resource Experience. AWARE is a human capital management solution using Oracle Analytics Cloud technology to provide data that helps organizations better understand workplace culture and create a more inclusive and equitable environment. The tool includes more than 80 dashboards that cross Core Human Resources & Workforce Management, Talent Management, Attrition, Equal Employment Opportunity, Compensation, Recruiting & Onboarding and Learning.
Recently, AfroTech had the opportunity to sit down with Johnson to talk through his role at Accenture and the work he’s doing with AWARE technology.
It Was All a Dream
With more than 10 years of experience across the organization, it’s safe to say that Johnson enjoys his work at Accenture. But he knew there was more that he and the team could do to increase inclusivity at Accenture and, as a professional services company, provide these resources for other organizations to use.
“If racism was a client, Accenture would assemble its best resources to fix the problem. It’s just what we do. This is what I shared with my practice leadership when we were ideating what AWARE has now become,” Johnson pointed out.
Studies from Harvard Business Review and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have determined more equitable spaces lead to greater levels of productivity. When people feel safe, they’re more likely to positively contribute to the organizations they’re a part of. While Accenture has long had inclusion and diversity practices in place, Johnson saw an opportunity to enhance not only Accenture’s own understanding of inclusion and diversity but inspire clients to do the same.
“Having diverse representation is a part of the equation. But innovation only wins when you feel like you’ve brought your best and whole self to work, and you feel encouraged to offer your ideas,” Johnson said.
It’s the Impact for Me
While Johnson spends his work day using his technical expertise to manage and implement large-scale analytics projects, he’s equally committed to advocating for DEI initiatives. He was able to combine his passion and skillset to bring AWARE to life as its technical lead.
For Johnson, building this tool was less about work and more about purpose. As a Black man, he has a deep connection to the product and is confident in its ability to improve the diversity of talent pipelines and create more equitable cultures. Johnson was able to share his perspective with C-suite executives on the hidden talent that exists within systemic bias at organizations of all sizes and successfully demonstrated the value and impact AWARE has in remedying this imbalance.
The impact that AWARE can have on organizations goes beyond numbers. It offers three perspectives into an organizations’ bottom lines: discovery, comparative and predictive. AWARE is not only the right thing to do; it helps businesses reach holistic goals.
“DEI is a catalyst for how we will all work and collaborate in the future,” Johnson explained.
While AWARE is already making its mark on the workforce by empowering teams to have more inclusive recruiting and retention capabilities, it’s also evolving into a better product. As the Accenture team speaks to clients, they’re able to consistently add capabilities, features and value to the platform. For example, the team is incorporating third–party data sources that will allow companies to benchmark against the market, community and labor statistics. They are also adding predictive metrics to help organizations course correct when needed and improve their culture.
Culture, Passion and Skills
Fighting racial disparities in corporate America is more than just a public statement. It takes intentional effort and continuous innovation to build more equitable spaces and increase the representation of Black and African American people in the technology field. “I’m encouraged when I see Accenture’s support of our team’s vision. It speaks to how important this initiative is within and with our customers,” Johnson points out.
Accenture’s commitment to accelerating equality for all serves as a critical point in Johnson’s work. Building AWARE with his team was an opportunity to combine skills, passion, and impact. This reflects how, as technology continues to evolve, it can be leveraged to drive systemic change. This is the real value of technology; and that’s what he encourages for those who are looking to enter this industry.
“I encourage anyone aspiring to a career in analytics to first become a master of data. Technologies will never cease to evolve, but the strategy around how we collect, structure and present data is where the value lies,” Johnson explained.
Accenture helps companies become the next and best version of themselves. Visit here to learn more about Accenture’s inclusive culture and how you can match your ingenuity with the latest technology to make incredible things.