Being the first Diversity Champion of the firm, I am privileged to be able to start my role by wishing and celebrating National Inclusion Week. It has of course got me to thinking, what do I want to achieve as the Diversity Champion and where do we need to go as a firm.
Our ethos at Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors is to enable individuals to have access to justice where otherwise they might be denied, and this has been the case since the firm was founded in 1977. We are a firm with a radical edge, to right wrongs and defend peoples’ rights. When this is our ethos and belief for our clients then we must ensure that we implement this internally to be a diverse and inclusive firm.
I am passionate to work and highlight towards reducing any disparities that minority staff may face in their progression within the firm, as well as being part of any investigation and/or training into racial harassment or bullying. Areas where this will be relevant for colleagues will be on recruitment, retention and promotions.
Whilst ethnic equality and diversification is key across all spectrums, I believe that it is vital that the policies and strategies are relevant and I intend to engage with staff and management to devise those key strategies and plans to create a truly diverse work place.
It is not enough for us to be putting strategies and policies in place, and ticking a box to say we have “done it” but also that we see changes. We should be opening dialogue and be active in our Inclusion policies.
It is my intention to secure the interest and involvement of our staff members, across all levels of seniority and departments. In order to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce we need to shift and change our mind set, as for many Inclusion simply means not excluding groups and people, but that is a narrow viewpoint.
In order to be inclusive we should be open, communicating, provoking thought amongst colleagues, engaging in conversations and working collaboratively. It is important to strive for a situation where all employees have the same experience, even if that means those who do not have problems with Diversity should experience the discomfort that others feel. This will then place all colleagues on as close to an even playing field, and where we can drive the same journey as employees.
If we are able to make small changes then we are working in the right direction, thinking about changes is not enough but we have to do this and celebrate our results.
H – Help be part of the movement to raise awareness and think what it means to be Diverse and Inclusive
J – Join together to embrace and act on the policy changes and ask questions where you are not sure
A – Actively work towards a diverse and inclusive place of work