Investing in Inclusion: accreditation success for law firm
High performance, productivity and happier colleagues are all good reasons to invest in workplace inclusion, but what steps can be taken to progress our inclusion and diversity goals?
Today we are interviewing Hogan Lovells, an international law firm, who achieved Bronze level accreditation in the Inclusive Employers Standard. They explain how the inclusion accreditation has helped them and why they would recommend it to other law firms.
Please can you tell us why Hogan Lovells decided to invest its time to participate in the Inclusive Employers Standard?
Instituting best practice processes is one of the five pillars of our Global Diversity & Inclusion plan. We recognise that having robust processes in place is key to ensuring all of our colleagues, regardless of background, have the best opportunity to thrive. An audit of our current processes in the UK was partly underway when Inclusive Employers told us about the IES inclusion accreditation. It was a timely opportunity to undertake an external benchmark to assess the work we have been doing. It’s supported us to measure and improve our progress but also to identify and celebrate areas of success.
Do you think the Inclusive Employers Standard has supported you to achieve your inclusion goals, if so, how?
Yes, it has been extremely helpful in providing an independent view of where we are as a firm in progressing the achievement of our goals. The Inclusive Employers team have provided practical advice on how to tackle those areas where we need to do more whilst maintaining momentum on the areas where we scored well. The team sharing knowledge of best practice within other organisations has also been a valuable part of our action planning.
Would you recommend the Inclusive Employer Standard to other law firms, and why?
Yes, it’s a rigorous process and time well spent. The 35 questions across the six pillars make for a comprehensive audit covering a broad range of inclusion measures which need to be evidenced. This makes for a robust benchmark. The follow up feedback process was insightful and threw up a number of helpful recommendations.
Embedding inclusion is an ongoing process, how did the Inclusive Employers Standard help you to identify the areas you needed to focus on?
Having been at Hogan Lovells for around 18 months at the time we made our submission, we felt we had a good awareness of the areas where we have made progress and those where more focus was needed. Hearing the feedback from the Inclusive Employers team against the six pillars of Engage, Equip, Empower, Embed, Evaluate and Evolve provided greater insight to the key areas for improvement and I used their feedback to inform our inclusion and diversity plans for 2021.
Since completing the Inclusive Employers Standard in 2020, what steps have you taken?
We have shared the results with the leadership team and created a plan of short and medium term actions for those areas where our scoring was lower. The feedback provided by the Inclusive Employers team provided an external view and practical actions to share with our internal stakeholders who own the relevant processes. We have worked in partnership with these colleagues to further embed inclusion and diversity through specific policies and practices to achieve our inclusion goals. These link directly to our published goals to improve representation of women, ethnic minority and LGBT+ partners.
What has been your key takeaway from participating in the Inclusive Employers Standard?
It was great to hear positive feedback on those areas where we are excelling and moving towards Silver and, in some areas, Gold accreditation. When seeking to achieve our inclusion goals, we’re working on behavioural change which takes time. The introduction of chargeable hours credit for I&D hours ensures diverse lawyers are credited for disproportionately undertaking I&D activities that benefit the firm; whilst incentivising all our lawyers to get involved. Our Bronze level accreditation demonstrates that the hard work of the team, our underrepresented people and our allies is paying off and has given us renewed energy for tackling those areas where we need to be doing more.