BYP Network recently sat down with Mary Iyiola, Strategy Insights & Planning Associate Consultant, and Nnamdi Mbonu (Nam),Senior Recruiter, at ZS Associates to gain an insight into ZS’s company culture and explore what diversity and inclusion means to them.
Who are ZS and what do you do?
Mary: As consultants, our fundamental role is to support our pharmaceutical clients in delivering strategic solutions to their business challenges. This requires us to be innovative, fast problem solvers, creative with a diversity of perspectives and experiences. ZS is an environment with incredibly intelligent, passionate and driven people with a strong inclusive culture.
Nam: As a Senior Recruiter at ZS, my role is ultimately to find bright, sharp and intellectually curious candidates to fill our open roles. We like to hire people that are not only technically strong but also people who fit our core values – treat people right, get it right and do the right thing. We put a great deal of care into our recruiting process and strategy because ultimately, we want people who continue to reinforce the great culture we have.
So, let’s go back in time to 3 years ago when you applied to ZS, tell us about that time in your life and your story?
Mary: I reached out to an external recruiter to help with the logistics of shortlisting the various opportunities available within healthcare. ZS was the first role that the recruiter presented to me and, on paper, it was very much an organisation that seemed like it could tick all of my boxes. Shortly after, the recruiter called me back stating that the role may not be too suitable for me, as I did not have the right credentials/ years of work experience. However, I decided to ignore the recruiter and apply for the role of Strategy Insights & Planning Associate based in the London office. Safe to say, that I did not hesitate to call the recruiter back and inform him of my success in securing the role!
To what degree does the makeup of the ZS European Offices reflect the cities they are based in?
Mary: As a born and mostly bred Londoner, I can confidently say that the ZS London office is one of the most multicultural offices I have ever worked in. European ZSers are from all over the globe and the blending of culture is such an exciting and joyous environment to be in every day. Everyone is welcoming, open and inquisitive and it makes for a constantly evolving environment.
Nam: ZS is very diverse, people are very warm, curious and interested in learning about each other’s cultures and backgrounds. I remember in my first week at ZS almost 5 years ago I shared with a colleague that I was Nigerian. We then spoke about Nigerian culture, food and even politics. What I liked about this interaction was there was a genuine interest to get to know me and connect with me as a person and it wasn’t just a surface level conversation.
Tell us a bit more about the ZS culture.
Nam: The culture at ZS is easily the best I’ve experienced in my career. We work hard, the work can be very challenging, but we still make time to be very social and connect with each other. Our culture consists of being transparent, collaborative, not being afraid to be vulnerable, and, most importantly, having respect for one another. Our leaders genuinely care about our people and are always encouraging us to keep thinking of ways in which we can continue to improve our culture. During the pandemic the company has lived by every single one of its values and has gone above and beyond to make sure our well-being is always a top priority.
Why is diversity so important in the workplace and what do you think this means for the future of business?
Mary: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are vital to the success of any organisation. Diversity is who is in the room; inclusion is who has influence in the room. At ZS we aim to create an environment that not only has a diversity of thinking, but also a diversity of being. Diversity brings strength to the workplace. We are all different and it is these differences that we want to nurture and celebrate within our organisation.
Nam: I think from a recruitment perspective I feel ZS has gone on a journey in the past 5 years with how well the business has been doing in Europe and how we’ve had to innovate and expand. Diversity in talent has always been important to us but even more so now. We are always exploring different avenues in how we can attract the best talent, whether it be working with different schools, exploring different channels or building new relationships with organisations such as BYP.
Do you think ZS is providing these opportunities for Black talent?
Nam: A big focus for us is being more intentional and strategic in how we improve our brand awareness within the Black community. However, we want our approach to be natural and organic. We look at our relationship with BYP as a long-term consistent relationship that will hopefully lead to more BYP members showing an interest in joining ZS and then ultimately becoming ZSers.
What have been your highlights of working at ZS?
Mary: At ZS you will always have a seat at the table, an opportunity to be empowered and included in the conversations at hand. Fundamentally, your workplace should be an environment in which you feel free to be your full self, with regards to your career and beyond and as such, I believe that diversity is paramount to the strength of the foundation of any company, in order for its employees to be committed and passionate, but also to feel respected and accomplished.
To learn more about ZS or to apply for their upcoming roles, please visit their BYP jobs board here.