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The 9 Ways a Diverse Workplace Will Enable Your Legal Team to Thrive

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Before we look at ways to build a diverse workplace for your legal team, it’s worth thinking about what exactly we mean by a ‘diverse workplace’. There are so many buzz words around at the moment that it's hard to know what they all mean – and if they communicate the same thing to everyone.

The ‘company culture’ that diversity and inclusion bring have gained momentum as de rigour in the world of work for candidates looking for employment. A recent workplace study found that 56% of employees valued a good company culture fit over salary.

Workplace diversity means employing people with a wide range of diverse characteristics. These could include age, gender, race, religion, cultural background, language, sexual orientation, education, ability, etc…the list goes on.

But it’s not just a fad – there are tangible benefits from offering a diverse workplace in the form of achieving higher productivity and profits for those who embrace workplace diversity in their law firm. And workplace diversity was one of the key trends last year – with no signs of stopping as we head towards 2020.

So, how will building a diverse workplace for your legal team encourage them to flourish? Here are 9 ways diversity can help your law firm achieve success:

 

1. Increases Creativity

Diversity is one of the critical ingredients for creativity. Diverse solutions come from having multiple options that are provided when you have a group of individuals with different thought patterns, world views and ideas.

In your legal team, having employees who are all very similar in terms of mindset and life experience inevitably leads to a smaller viewpoint overall.

Conversely, harnessing the personal creativity-diversity techniques of a group of people who recognise that everything can be viewed in multiple ways can lead to the generation of more creative ideas. If your Fee Earners and Solicitors come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, they will inevitably have a wider pot of knowledge from which to draw fresh ideas and solutions.

 

2. Allows Different Perspectives

Different perspectives are beneficial when it comes to strategic planning.

The ability to see things from alternative points of view will allow your firm to better judge which direction it should take in goal planning. Having varied options, and a clear idea of results from those options will enable your firm to decide which is the best route to take to achieve the required overall result.

 

3. Makes Problem-Solving Easier

Again, the scope provided by a diverse team makes it quicker to problem-solve. Because different individuals think in different ways, it’s possible to quickly come up with various potential solutions to a problem, from which a final decision can be made.

This Harvard Business Review report confirms that diverse teams solve problems faster than cognitively similar groups.

 

4. Encourages Innovation 

A melting pot of novel world views can open doors to innovation. It can be inspiring to be part of a group that sees things in a different way and can come up with creative innovation that otherwise may not have been considered. The ability to think outside the box and from a different angle can enable diversity of ideas to come to light.

Additionally, in an environment where diversity and inclusion are nurtured, it's likely that individuals are more inclined to voice their ideas without fear of reprisal or ridicule. For example, junior members of the firm such as your Legal Secretary or new Personal Injury Assistant are more enabled to come forward with ideas if they believe they will be listened to and encouraged to contribute.

In a forward-thinking legal workplace, you are more likely to achieve innovation through group participation – you never know what ideas your team may hit upon!

 

5. Engages Employees

The link between diversity and engagement is an obvious one. Where employees experience inclusivity they automatically feel engaged and loyal to their firm.

A law firm that has engaged employees will benefit from a strong team with shared values. Along with diverse and inclusive traits comes a nimble and agile team who can turn things around quickly, achieving more in less time and with access to multiple possible solutions – driving your firm forwards.

 

6. Improves Company Reputation

Your Employer Brand is how you are perceived by the outside world. To ensure your law firm is seen in a positive light as knowledgeable, reliable and at the top of your game, it's essential to ensure that your employer brand is truly reflecting your worth and achievements.

Having happy and motivated employees helps your law firm retain its status and reputation. In addition to the better service they will inevitably provide your clients, their online chat and information – formal and informal - alongside word of mouth and personal recommendation to friends and family, will help position you as the go-to firm.

 

7. Achieves Better Retention

A law firm who offer a diverse and inclusive workplace is going to make their employees feel valued and appreciated as individuals. Happiness in work leads to better retention levels, with staff showing loyalty to a fair employer and staying with them to build their career. Employee turnover can be costly, so investing in your diverse team is pivotal in achieving better retention rates.

 

8. Attracts New Talent

Ultimately, a law firm with a great reputation for diversity and inclusion, who has engaged employees, good profit margins, innovative ideas, a superb reputation and high retention levels is bound to attract new talent to want to work there.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you…

 

9. Increases Profits

McKinsey & Co found that where companies had more diverse teams, they also performed better financially.

Diverse teams are better able to win new talent to the firm. This, in turn, helps to improve client service, employee satisfaction and make decision-making faster.

All this gives a forward-thinking, diverse law firm an advantage over competitors and enables them to achieve more profit as a result: a cycle of increasing returns.

 

Conclusion

Bringing a mix of skills and experiences to the workplace is good for business, providing an admirable company culture for your law firm. It's worth noting that this starts at the top, too. Diversity at senior level is more likely to introduce new product innovations than are those with homogeneous “top teams.”

In the millennial age, offering diversity and a great company culture means harbouring an environment where all employees are respected and valued, where there is a vision shared and worked towards by everyone, and where communication, transparency and teamwork are paramount.

While I’m not suggesting that achieving excellent diversity across your law firm will be easy, it’s something to consider working towards. The benefits are multiple, and your employees will thank you for it – as will your Senior Partners when they see the benefits reflected in the firm’s reputation and profit margins.

 

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking to build a better working environment for your legal team, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, the transition can be smoother and quicker.



Thanks

Lynn

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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