National Inclusion Week 2023: Take Action Make Impact
26 Sept 2023
Group People and Culture Director
Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith, Group People and Culture Director at Pick Everard, discusses the firm's initiatives during National Inclusion Week 2023. Here, she delves into some of the key initiatives the firm has introduced to help foster an inclusive and diverse workplace.
‘Take Action Make Impact’ is the theme for National Inclusion Week 2023. Founded by Inclusive Employers, this week is dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces. It’s a powerful message and we’ve been taking the opportunity to consider where we are now in our progress against Pick Everard’s 13 point Equity, Diversity & Inclusion plan. While we’ve been working throughout the year to broaden the discussion on inclusion and diversity (I&D) across the entire practice, National Inclusion Week also offers us the opportunity to introduce major initiatives, serving as a catalyst for additional change.
Women in Leadership Forum
This year, we’re pleased to have introduced our first women in leadership forum, with a series of specific goals. Open to Associates and above, the group meet quarterly to influence and shape how Pick Everard can be more inclusive for female talent and, in turn, elevate and mobilise their routes to progression within the firm. Tackling gender inequality and raising awareness of issues regarding opportunity, the forum provides a safe space to share experiences, network internally, drive policy and practice change and it strengthens connection across the business. Top of the agenda is the design and implementation of talks and events to inspire all Pick Everard women, as well as their allies to upskill, inform and support career development for female professionals within Pick Everard. Our events will also be made available for alumni and clients.
Several stimulating and thought-provoking conversations have already occurred within the forum, addressing topics like gender pay, flexibility, industry culture, and the significance of female role models in interview and selection procedures. There is also a recognition that the forum and program alone are insufficient, so we are incorporating discussions about I&D as a standing item on the agenda at board meetings. This allows our senior management teams to monitor their I&D data and assume responsibility for driving change as well.
In celebration of National Inclusion week, we have also been proud to share with our people this week the opportunity to become diversity champions. Our diversity champions are people who we know will be passionate about working together in the spirit of continuous improvement for colleagues who are underrepresented or disadvantaged. They’ll work closely with leaders and our people & culture team to strengthen how we deliver the Practice’s 13-point Equity, Diversity and Inclusion plan. The 13-point plan was established to direct our efforts to targeted areas in the firm’s practices and approach. At the heart of this continues to be a purpose to create and maintain a working culture where difference is valued and people are empowered to be themselves.
The inclusion of diversity champions will amplify the voices of our team members, fostering active participation in suggesting ideas and solutions. This will guide us in altering behaviours, educating, and ensuring everyone can perform at their best, regardless of their identity or background. By opening the opportunity up to allies as well, we hope to attract colleagues who have had experiences in diversity in different ways – whether it’s direct experience or through parenting, friendships or other life experiences and relationships.
Diversity Jobs Group
We’ve also newly partnered with Diversity Jobs Group to advertise our career opportunities across their job boards, extending our talent pool reach. From their LGBT+ job site to platforms for parents, as well as jobs promoting social mobility and increased ethnic diversity in workplaces, Diversity Job’s Group will be working with us to draw in a significantly larger pool of diverse talent. The organisation is aligned with our core values as a business, ensuring a transparent and inclusive hiring process regardless of sexual orientation, age, religion, race, disability and gender.
Broadening our routes to talent and expanding our colleague networks are essential in fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. We’re committed to continuing to take practical proactive steps in delivering our 13 point EDI plan and measuring the impact. For now, we celebrate how far we have come, the new opportunities we’re providing and the culture we’re strengthening. We encourage others cross-industry to keep the momentum going too.