One Year On From Signing The Race At Work Charter We Share Our Progress
One year on from signing Business in the Community’s (BiTC) Race At Work Charter, we wanted to continue our commitment by sharing progress on this hugely important issue.
In June 2020 we published our Race at Work commitment to improving diversity and inclusion at Irwin Mitchell. Since then we've been continuing to deliver against our commitment as a part of our work to be a leading responsible business through our approach to diversity and inclusion.
Charlotte Delaney, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Irwin Mitchell said: “The commitment to diversity and inclusion across the group is really encouraging. We’re collecting more and more data, sharing it transparently with colleagues and taking a pro-active approach to making tangible improvements not just at Irwin Mitchell but also in the communities we serve. The legal industry has a long way to go to be more reflective of society but our colleagues are so enthusiastic about our grassroots activities and want to make a real difference.”
Below are some of the activities we’ve done to meet our commitments this year…
1. Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
We've appointed Susana Berlevy, as our executive sponsor for race. Susana is also leading a mentoring circle as part of our involvement with the BiTC Cross-Organisational Mentoring Circles Programme. While Susana is leading on race and D&I our Executive Board have all taken part in special Let's Talk about Race discussion sessions to learn more about race at Irwin Mitchell.
2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
We once again published our ethnicity pay gap and are encouraging colleagues to share their equality information so that we can better analyse any diversity and inclusion hot spots. We are also measuring diversity and inclusion on our balanced scorecard which sets out the over-arching business objectives and KPIs for the whole Group.
3. Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
We have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and are reviewing our policies to make sure our approach to preventing any form of racism is adopted throughout.
4. Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
We’ve refreshed our diversity and inclusion strategy and will be rolling out inclusive leadership training to colleagues and leaders – our recruitment team has also taken part in inclusive recruitment training with BiTC.
5. Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression
As part of our partnership with BiTC, we run mentoring programmes in schools with high numbers of pupils who are more likely to end up unemployed once they leave the education system and from ethnic minority backgrounds. These programmes help build confidence, public speaking and networking skills, preparing them for life after school.
We've partnered with WCAN (Women in the City Afro-Caribbean Network) and Aspiring Solicitors to reach a more diverse group of students. We've also engaged with university societies, including race-related societies, sharing our trainee brochure and internal events.
We've joined the Black Solicitors Network and created a bespoke package to increase applications from existing and aspiring black solicitors.
We're taking part in BiTC's Cross-Organisational Mentoring Circles Programme, which is specifically for ethnic minority colleagues. Ten of our colleagues are currently being mentored by BiTC Race Champion partner organisations.
We had an event last October during Black History Month celebrating Black Talent within the legal industry and IM Respect continues to work on a series of Black Talent events.
We're developing a reciprocal mentoring scheme, where colleagues from minority groups mentor our senior leaders - piloting this with our own diversity group IM Respect.
We’re reviewing all our People processes and analysing the outcomes of these, including performance reviews, promotions and recruitment, to make sure that we eliminate any potential bias or barriers from our people management decisions.