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'There is absolutely concern around the globe’ over inflation: Accenture CEO

Accenture CEO Julie Sweet joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss inflation worries and the health of the global economy.

Video transcript

- Another issue, Julie, we're seeing in the economy right now is inflation, whether or not it's transitory or not. And I think that the transitory discussion is sort of in the rear-view mirror. It seems like it's a little bit more here to stay than people initially thought. What are you hearing about inflation? What is your take?

JULIE SWEET: Sure, there's absolutely concern really around the globe. And also, it's been a long time since this was-- many of us are old enough that we remember when inflation was something that we talked about. And again, there's a couple of things that clients are needing to do, is to first of all really plan differently and look at things like their supply chain and have different forecasting abilities. And it comes back always, again, to understanding the market and being much more agile with being able to respond to the market.

- You're going to get out your whip inflation now pin, huh? Remember those?


- Yes, right.

JULIE SWEET: It's really-- you know, it's just like when I was trying to tell my children what it was like to be in gas lines in the '70s every other day. So it's-- sometimes youth is great, and sometimes a little wisdom is good.

- Let's talk about employees and employment. So much going on there right now. I mean, there's the Great Resignation, huge demand for employees, attrition, people being hired away. We're seeing that all across the board. And then there's RTO, Return To Office, and hybrid work. What is your plan for your employees right now at Accenture? Talk about all those people that you've added.

JULIE SWEET: Well, first of all, I want to introduce you to a new term. It's called phygital, physical and digital. Now, why does that matter? Look, we were, pre-pandemic, one of the most global remote working companies in the world because we have teams from all over the world. We haven't had a headquarters in three decades. But we've learned a lot about how you raise your game in both onboarding 100% virtually but also creating new connections.

And since we do believe it is a permanent experience that all companies will have more people who work remotely, we've really rethought what's that experience. And so phygital is talking about how you think about the physical and the digital together. So super simple example-- when you started a new job pre-pandemic, you showed up someplace. And you had the excitement. You went home. You said this is what the coffee is like, and this is who I met.

Well, we have all these people who are shutting their laptops and then the next day opening their laptop from Accenture, and there was no physical connection. And so we said, well, how do we solve that? And our new employees now get a welcome box. And what does it have in it? Sure, it has its computer, but it has these little signs that are like the posters they would have seen in the office-- our sustainability promise, our leadership essentials. It has Accenture swag.

So when they set up their office, they have a physical connection in addition to a digital connection with their new teammates. At the same time, we just ordered thousands of Oculus headsets. Why? Because our onboarding is now going to include virtual reality. And virtual reality-- super cool these days-- we're using Microsoft and Mesh-- is about having a shared experience with colleagues who can't be together with. And it's different than just talking like this. And so really thinking about how you build connections and you bring the physical and the digital world together differently, we think, is the long-term success for how you both engage, attract, and retain employees.