Taking responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusivity is not just a nice thing to do, or a moral thing to do, it’s actually a commercial thing to do. It’s better for business, better for the economy, better for society, better for the world.
This last year has shown just what we can achieve when we work together, when we are kinder, when we are flexible, when we represent neurodiversity in decision-making and when we trust each other to do the right thing.
Unlike a number of our peers within the sector we did not reduce the hours or salaries of our people during the pandemic, managed to top up those who we had to place on Furlough and we set up a hardship fund accessible to all and we provided a ‘work from home’ allowance; we also ensured a focus on health and wellbeing including the creation of a dedicated wellbeing hub, increased number of mental health first aiders across the firm and hold regular health and well-being sessions.
Our purpose is to unlock the potential of our people, clients and communities. We look to do this without bias, ensuring everyone is treated as an individual and has an equal opportunity for fulfilment, progression and fair reward, regardless of gender and ethnicity or any other diverse characteristic. So, for the second year running, we are again reporting on our ethnicity pay gap and by doing so continue to take full accountability and identify opportunities for positive change.
We are pleased to see a reduction in the gender pay gap in 2020 however, we recognise that there is still a gap. And while we can’t influence the personal choices of our people who may opt for lower-paid roles, we can maintain our commitment to ensuring that all people have equitable opportunity to develop their careers and move into the higher paid roles, if this is right for them.
We are proud to note that 61% of our promotions in 2019/20 were female, and 25% were people from an ethnic minority group.
We are fully confident that all our people are paid equally for equivalent jobs and that reward is based purely on skills and experience.
Steps so far
We’re still on a journey – but we’re heading in the right direction.
Below are just some examples of our actions, commitments, pledges and processes we’ve put in place to create a culture of inclusivity and equitable opportunity.
It’s these actions in the last year that have seen us recognised as ‘outstanding’ by Best Companies 2021. Thanks to independent, anonymous votes from our people, we are listed in the Best Companies to work for: top 20 law, top 100 Midlands and top 75 large companies in London.
‘Own your diary’ - Empowering our people to work flexibly to better manage work-life balance at a location and during the hours that work for them, including individuals with children and caring responsibilities.
LiveSmart - a year-round programme to support our people with a range of resources from flexible benefits and financial guidance to wellbeing webinars and workouts.
More in Common (MiC) inclusion group – Educating the firm on all diversity issues with intersectionality at its core.
Social Mobility Pledge - Undertaking outreach activities mentoring individuals, providing access to work experience and apprentice opportunities and working to adopt open recruitment practices to promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
Mental health support - Offering comprehensive mental health support through our Wellbeing Hub, 25 trained Mental Health First Aiders and external Employee Assistance Plan open to all our people; along with providing one-to-one counselling support from a trained business psychologist and counsellor.
Race at Work Charter - Signing the Race at Work Charter and committing to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying, publishing our ethnicity data and progress made and taken action to support ethnic minority career progression.
Award-winning Connectors Programme - Reverse mentoring scheme that fosters inclusion, propels innovation and improves diversity within our future leader pipeline.
Award-winning Shadow Board - Increasing diversity of voices heard at decision making level; by gaining broader perspectives, challenges and ideas making us better.
Fair Redundancy Pledge – Committed to reporting transparent EDI stats for any redundancies.
Hardship Fund – Open to any of our people who need it to provide a one-off amount, with no requirement to repay.
Wellbeing Cafes – Regular firm-wide virtual ‘Wellbeing Cafes’ for all through peer support.
My Ideas – Collaborative ideas generation platform to boost how we work and build our culture during lockdown and beyond.
Talent Inclusion and Diversity Evaluation – Significant improvement (+21%) in our Talent Inclusion and Diversity Evaluation (TIDE) score since 2018.
ED&I programme - ED&I programme with external D&I Consultancy.
Unconscious bias - training for all our people.
Diverse hiring - Diverse hiring with approximately 75% of talent recruited directly by sourcing candidates from diverse talent pools and continuing to promote inclusive our culture and working practices.
Blind recruitment - Implemented blind recruitment for trainees and removed minimum qualifications from 2021 for trainees; we recruit our trainees on skills and experience only and have removed any factors that can lead to biased recruitment decisions.
50:50 - Targeted measures to represent a 50:50 split of genders across events, content and PR.
C-19 Pledge - Providing our people practicable support and advice for personal wellbeing, financial security and mental wellbeing, proactively supporting our clients and communities during the pandemic.
Change the Race Ratio - Working to increase ethnic diversity among board members and senior leadership, publishing our progress and continuing to build on our inclusive culture.