Since making diversity and inclusion one of our strategic priorities, we’ve seen progress across many areas, particularly in our understanding of the issues and challenges we must tackle, working on specific objectives – for example improving gender balance in our partnership – and achieving the culture of inclusion that supports a diverse workforce.
Networks to connect our people, alumni and clients
- A&Out: As a global employer, we must provide a strong message that A&O is a safe and supportive place for our LGBT+ community. We’ve worked hard to increase the international reach of A&Out and now have more than 100 members around the world, as well as 700 allies who play a key role in creating an inclusive work environment.
- Race and ethnicity: We have active networks and affinity groups in the UK and U.S., which hold high-profile events and promote the visibility of role models and mentors. Lots of activities also take place across other offices, for example around the Black Economic Empowerment agenda in South Africa and through our ethnicity working group in Amsterdam.
- Women: We have large women’s networks in many of our major offices which host events and debates and provide networks of sponsors and mentors globally.
Listening and challenging ourselves
- Many partners globally take part in our reverse mentoring programme in which women, ethnic minority and LGBT+ colleagues are among those mentoring more senior people to provide an insight into their experiences at A&O.
- We have a long-running programme of unconscious bias training for partners and senior support professionals, and further training to ensure partners can provide effective sponsorship to everyone.
- We conduct regular listening exercises with specific groups and use our networks and development programmes as channels to understand people’s views and experiences.
Accountability and openness
- In 2018, we met our goal of having at least 30% of leadership positions filled by women: our Board is 30% women; Executive Committee 40%; Risk Committee 54%; and People and Performance Board 36%.
- We aim to see women making up at least 30% of the candidates considered for partnership each year. To achieve this, partners monitor and report on pipelines of talent, as well as the career development, sponsorship and mentoring being provided. Alongside this, lateral hires, recruitment shortlists and succession plans are supporting our goal of reaching 30% women partners globally.
- We also track talent based on race and ethnicity, and ensure effective mentoring and sponsorship are in place so that we can increase representation at senior levels. It’s also important to understand the points in our processes that may act as barriers to attraction, retention and progression so we can address them.
Everyday actions and culture
- Our global Code of Conduct is embedded in every office and upheld by our Values Partners. It focuses on creating an inclusive environment where everyone can be themselves, as that’s how we get the best from our people.
- Central to this is ensuring we all work to understand the challenges some groups can face, and play our part in bringing down barriers. For this, we need open and honest dialogue. To this end, we regularly publish interviews with colleagues from our race and ethnicity networks, women’s networks and our global LGBT+ network.
- We understand the importance of flexibility within our working lives. Our iFlex scheme brings trust and a common-sense approach that allows people to work remotely when it suits them.
- Parental coaching is embedded in all our offices to provide new parents and their managers with support in planning the return to work. Flexible working options are equally open to men and women.
If you’re interested in learning more about diversity & inclusion at A&O, or getting involved with our networks, please contact email@example.com.