Diversity Manager, Linklaters LLP
As the world and business changes, new Millennial talent is coming in, and they want different things from before: they want a vibrant workplace that is open and diverse.
As the world and business changes, new Millennial talent is coming in, and they want different things from before: they want a vibrant workplace that is open and diverse. Businesses need to recognize this, or they will never be able to attract, retain and develop, the right talent. They will lose out to businesses that are bolder, that welcome diverse communities, and show them they understand where they are coming from.
At Linklaters we need to attract the best talent, and the best talent is looking for dynamic and diverse environments. The best talent will have a gender, an ethnicity, a sexual orientation, a disability or not – and understanding this is important. The best talent is not just about what school you went to, it is about how you experience life and what you bring to the firm – because our business is made up of people.
Inclusion is a topic that often gets less attention than diversity. But diversity needs to exist in an environment where people are included, valued, recognized and understood. To me, it is about being able to be yourself 100% wherever that is. For some minority groups – and for the less visible aspects of diversity – that is a lot more challenging.
That is why all aspects of health and well-being is something we are really big on. It is about more than resilience and stress: it is about how you experience life and how that has an impact on the job that you do. It is really the interaction that happens everyday with my line manager, with my team, those people I spend my time with, that determine how I actually feel working in a business.
You hear people say, ‘I don’t care if you’re black, white, polka-dot, gay, straight, as long as you do the job.’ But there is enough research to prove that people do care about those things – which is why we do training on unconscious bias all across the firm: we want to make sure our decisions are as free from bias as possible.
We recently launched an Allies Network to make sure that colleagues who are extremely supportive of LGB&T rights have ways of being able to show it, that aren’t tokenistic. We are highlighting ways in which they can be actively inclusive – as opposed to just passively non-discriminatory.
If I am in a place where I feel recognized I am going to be much more loyal to the company I work for, to have a much more positive outlook to being in that environment. If you get that right as a business, you have people who perform better because they spend their emotional, creative, mental energy on things other than worrying about whether who they are, fundamentally, will prove to be a problem for them, or a challenge to their progression.