The networking question that many BAME individuals dread
Diversity and inclusion relates to the similarities and differences that exist between people. This includes not only race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and faith but also social and educational background, nationality, marital status and family or care responsibilities. It acknowledges that most individuals do not belong to a single identity group but in most cases, to several. Appreciating diversity means demonstrably valuing and respecting our people, our clients and our community for all identity groups.
Kingsley Napley believes that building diversity is critical for our long-term happiness and success as an organisation. The impact of a diverse workforce ensures that we both attract the best possible talent and retain and promote individuals who understand that they are valued on their potential and performance regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or sexual orientation.
By encouraging our people to be authentic and honest about their identity we benefit by having a deeper understanding of the diverse needs of our clients. In practice this means we have more meaningful dialogue amongst colleagues and we can be innovative in our approach to problem solving because we ultimately better placed to consider the widest range of options in order to address our clients’ needs.
Sadly, all too many of us have worked in organisations where such an approach is not encouraged. There is a familiarity for most of us with organisations where females are encouraged to act as “one of the boys”, where parents are discouraged from talking about childcare and family responsibilities, where gay and lesbian colleagues avoid using gender specific pronouns when referring to their partners, and where those with disabilities hide their characteristics out of a fear of discrimination should those matters become known. The impact of such cultures is proven to make individuals feel demoralised, undervalued, and ultimately less committed to their employers and the workplace.
I have always felt 100% supported at Kingsley Napley to be open and honest about who I am, what is important to me and what I expect from my workplace. That honesty has been met by a genuine commitment from from the firm to help me reach my potential in my performance and in my contribution to the firm. I am encouraged to know that my experience at Kingsley Napley is not exceptional.
We aim to celebrate diversity at Kingsley Napley and we do not encourage our colleagues to blend into the crowd. We aim to create an environment where individuals can be open and honest about their own identity and thereby feel confident and natural in their work environment.
Commitment to achieving diversity is a journey. We appreciate that in some areas we still have some ways to go to achieving this goal, but we also celebrate the important steps we have taken on this journey to date.
We are very proud to be a signatory to the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter. We celebrate the fact we have a high representation of very capable women in senior leadership roles. In 2014 we committed to becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion. The programme, run by the gay equality charity, helps employers to develop inclusive workplace cultures for their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff in order to ensure that all staff can perform to their full potential. Another initiative is our Association of Professional Working Parents which provides a valuable networking opportunity and support group for internal and external professional working parents in a relaxed and friendly environment.
These achievements are not just “lip service” to our diversity and inclusion ambitions. Our ranking in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For demonstrates that my perception is reflected in the views of our people. The feedback from participating in this process for the past two years reveals that overwhelmingly our people feel valued in the workplace and believe they can make a valuable contribution at Kingsley Napley. This is an achievement we are all very proud of but we know there is still work to do and we are looking forward to continuing this important journey in 2015
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