Diversity is the key to unity
That’s certainly the case for us at Shakespeare Martineau.
Having a diverse workforce should simply be in our DNA. It should not be a separate agenda item for a committee or sub-committee. It’s a worry that some firms, which have set up equality, diversity and inclusion committees may have done so to tick boxes and, ironically, are trying to create inclusion through segregation.
Diversity of thinking and mindset in law firm management is paramount. Without it, how can we grow as people or as a business? This may come from more obvious sources like gender and ethnicity, but not always. True diversity comes from the things you can’t see, as well as those you can. However, it’s important not to confuse diversity with inclusion; they are different. Inclusion is ensuring everyone has the same equal opportunities to get to any position in the organisation – a level playing field, as such. Diversity is ensuring that those people are varied and representative.
At present, we as a firm have three boards, which are all are very diverse – both in thinking and characteristics – and have equal gender representation. The challenge is ensuring we have the right conditions and talent pipeline to keep it that way long into the future.
To achieve this, it is essential to bring everyone in and listen deeply and broadly across the organisation. By filling the business with positive, passionate people, we are able to succeed in everything from employee engagement to financial performance. Treating everyone as individuals and looking past the boxes they tick to what’s on the inside, isn’t just important on a personal level, the business can also benefit massively. After all, we cannot play to an individuals’ strengths if we don’t know what they are, and that is crucial to unlocking everyone’s potential.
In our current situation, acknowledging people’s differences is vital to making sure they have the support they need to stay motivated – and, most importantly, healthy – during COVID-19. Everyone’s circumstances are different, whether they live alone or have children to take care of, and this diversity is still our strength. Just because we are apart, does not mean we cannot make it through this together.
Shakespeare Martineau has launched a free legal helpline offering bespoke guidance on a range of subjects from employment and general business matters, through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.
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