PwC’s Saratoga, diversity and inclusion challenges amid the shifting landscape of HR management

Beer carts do not lead to promotions  

Prior to the pandemic, companies across all industries marketed their diversity and inclusion scores, rankings and awards, demonstrating to clients, investors and potential recruits their efforts in this area and good corporate citizenship. Combine fewer marketing opportunities with increased scrutiny of what exactly well-run diversity and inclusion programs look like, and the human resources space has become ripe for the same kinds of disruption and digital transformation running through every aspect of large enterprises. In this environment, PwC noted three critical aspects of the current HR landscape.

First, data-focused companies adopt enterprise-changing diversity and inclusion initiatives more rapidly and successfully than companies that continue to focus on softer, less quantifiable actions, such as Friday afternoon beer carts and magazine awards for diversity.

Second, the challenges, risks and opportunities around diversity and inclusion have now reached the senior-most levels at most companies, with issues elevated even beyond the chief human resources officer (as noted in this story, which aired Aug. 17, 2020, on the WBUR radio station in Boston), in addition to being passed to line-of-business leaders and finance and risk officers, all of whom recognize that diversity and inclusion impacts all aspects of the enterprise, including the bottom line.

Third, promotion rates, turnover, performance and hiring remain the biggest and most significant gap for enterprises attempting to assess their performance around diversity and inclusion. Jeffords spoke at length on the challenges of moving minds to accept that awards and external recognition meaningfully address challenges uncovered by examining promotion rates. Most leaders, according to PwC, do not know the data on their own promotion rates nor the benchmarks for top-performing peers. For PwC, the time is ripe for tackling all three of these critical aspects.   

An established tool, Saratoga complements HR consulting

As a well-established product, the Saratoga performs a foundational, yet essential, service for PwC’s clients. Starting with data ingestion and leading to industry comparisons and trends, PwC helps clients understand which internal human resource management levers they can pull to make changes across their organizations. PwC provides fundamental consulting work, with benchmarks and recommendations, backed by massive amounts of client data as well as data PwC has collected from peers over many years.

Following up on our assessment of the newly launched PwC Products, TBR met virtually with two PwC partners to discuss the firm’s Saratoga offering, a long-held human resources management tool that has found renewed importance for enhancing diversity and inclusion efforts within PwC’s clients. Two partners from PwC’s Organization and Workforce Transformation practice — Pam Jeffords, Diversity and Inclusion, and Scott Pollak, People Analytics — along with Michelle Gorman, a marketing director, briefed TBR on trends within HR, especially around diversity and inclusion, and the specifics of the Saratoga product before pivoting to a discussion on the future of diversity efforts across PwC and its clients. This special report reflects the discussion, as well as previous TBR analysis of PwC and the management consulting space.   

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