Company: Ernst & Young
Innovation: EY Unplugged
Date Introduced: 2011
Award Recognition: Award of Excellence

Knowing the onboarding experience is key to career success—yet particularly critical for entry-level ethnic minority professionals—Ernst & Young LLP created EY Unplugged in 2011. EY Unplugged is a learning program that provides tips and tools to ethnic minority professionals during their first year with the firm.

Access and visibility to ethnic minority role models are critical factors in retaining and developing ethnic minority staff. EY Unplugged helps the staff connect with these leading executives in a meaningful way, while providing learning essential to their integration into the firm.

EY Unplugged initially was developed for the firm’s black and Latino professionals in response to a recommendation from its partner-led Inclusiveness Advisory Council. More than 200 black and 200 Latino entry-level staff attended the program in its first two years. Nearly thirty black or Latino executives—half of which attended both years—and other top-performing professionals from various ranks led learning and development sessions on the “unwritten rules and expectations” to be productive and effective; an awareness of the values, beliefs, preferences, styles, and unconscious biases in themselves and others; and the resources and opportunities available to staff at the start of their careers.

As one participant noted, “A lot of minorities don’t think they can be amazing here because you don’t see people that look like you, but this learning program helps you realize you can and that there is a network.”