We work hard to ensure a progressive approach to our working lives. To help our people realise their potential and enable them to grow throughout their careers. To develop a culture of trusted leadership where our people feel safe, connected and supported. Where they are treated with respect and kindness in a manner consistent with our values. A place where they enjoy working.
We take our social and moral responsibility to eliminate discrimination very seriously, and promote equality, diversity and inclusion across the firm, recognising that individuality and difference brings strength to the teams we work in, to our firm, our clients and our communities. This is embedded in our approach to recruitment, promotion and development.
We are committed to maintaining an environment where people are recognised for their talent and contribution, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
We ensure we make an impact on social mobility under three common headings:
The health and wellbeing of our people has escalated to the top of the Firm’s agenda over the last couple of years. We recognise the particular challenges posed by a fast evolving working and living environment, and have recently launched a comprehensive three-year health and wellbeing strategy across the firm.
We are committed to supporting our colleagues through change, promoting activities and healthier working practices which holistically improve their wellbeing and build resilience.
Our policies and procedures embed a culture of zero tolerance towards bullying, harassment and unnecessary stress, giving everyone a platform from which to achieve their potential and make positive contributions.
We support a range of different approaches to juggling work, family and life responsibilities, that help our people succeed in ways that work for them. This includes a supportive and flexible hybrid working policy.
We are increasing investment in professional development, providing support, guidance and encouragement for individuals to learn, gain confidence and fulfil their potential. Increasing our annual spend on training and development year on year helps our people deliver their best professionally, whilst living their best life personally.
And we have fun along the way, supporting and encouraging social activities, team building, fund raising and sports teams. Supporting performance through investment in the our people was recognised in our latest IiP review, and we are delighted to have achieved IiP Gold status for the first time recently, making progress on our Silver Award which we first received in 2014.
To implement our wellbeing strategy – a 3 year plan targeted towards positively improving the wellbeing of our people, using analytics to shape our ongoing activity.
To increase our outreach into schools and colleges to talk to the workforce of the future about opportunities in a professional services firm.
To focus on our broader EDI strategy, including enrolling all people on diversity and inclusive awareness sessions.
To implement affinity networks that provide opportunity for greater connection amongst diverse workforce groups.
To maintain our focus on improving gender balance across the firm, including maintaining the high percentage of female promotions, and employing initiatives that ultimately reduce the gender pay gap.
To increase engagement in responsible business initiatives through elected committees and firm-wide incentives.
We have been working hard for a number of years on initiatives to ensure a gender balance and equality of opportunity, creating a rich talent pool on which to build the future of the firm.
25% of our Senior Management Team are female and 66% of our Business of Services Heads are also female.
Added to this, we have just appointed two new executive partners to the role in Leeds and Manchester – both female.
Also 70% of partner recruits since January 2019 are female.
Signatories of Mindful Business Charter, embedding their four pillars - openness and respect, smart meetings and communications, respecting rest periods, and mindful delegation.
In early 2022, we were awarded IiP Gold status, having been a Silver employer since 2014. This puts us amongst the top ranking employers UK-wide.
A diverse workforce can have real tangible benefits to a business, to individuals and to society.
Although there are significant challenges to affect rapid change within a business like ours, we are committed to our wish to avoid discrimination of any kind, ensuring we recruit the best talent regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
We are passionate about this and don’t want to risk being non-inclusive by re-thinking our workforce in any way which doesn’t have empowered and engaged people performing the work they enjoy.
It’s easy to get distracted by the newest shiny thing however we are committed to building meaningful initiatives into our strategy that really drive sustainable and incremental change for the firm and for the people within it.
For example, whilst we understand that there isn’t an instant solution to reducing our gender pay gap, addressing the imbalance remains an important focus for us and we know this also requires a combination of different approaches to overcoming perceived barriers.
We also know that to achieve change demands an active rather than passive approach. Our purpose, therefore, is to use the responsible business strategy to drive positive change through our people to our clients, communities and environments. This is why we invest in and embed practices that improve EDI and wellbeing across the firm.
Disruption caused by the pandemic has enabled acceleration of change, whilst also proving a unique opportunity to do things differently and reconsider the role work plays in our lives.
We know that people joining us want an attractive salary that’s reflective of their value but they also want to work for a business where there’s a purpose they can align with. We can set ourselves apart by delivering that.
With regards to social mobility, we are committed to providing support and encouragement for future generations of lawyers from as wide a demographic as possible. Our Solicitor Apprentice programme, Link Days, mentoring schemes, prizes and scholarships are all activities we are really passionate about. They provide a good for us to extend the work we’re doing by encouraging the next generation at an age where they can direct their studies towards a career in the legal sector.
Our six-year Solicitor Apprenticeship programme is something we are particularly proud of and I look forward to this becoming even bigger and better in the coming years.
We do challenging and stressful work sometimes and not only does involvement in these activities support social mobility, but it also helps different people within the business connect better and improves overall wellbeing.
I joined Ward Hadaway in 2016 with my colleague and supervising partner Rachel Birks. I have always admired and respected her for her commitment to supporting charitable organisations and campaigning causes.
With this inspiration and her support, I was keen to get involved in initiatives which are close to my own heart. I became involved with the British Pakistan Foundation, an organisation based in London and was a member of their steering committee.
This was designed to provide a platform for business professionals to connect across various sectors including legal, finance, technology and more. The main purpose was to ensure better representation and progression for Asian businesses and professionals in the UK.
I played a large part in the organisation’s desire to expand into Manchester where I am based. The financial support and endorsement from Ward Hadaway during this process was much appreciated. I was very proud to become a finalist in the National Diversity Awards as a result of this work.
I am also on the steering group for the Asian Business Development Network at the Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce, organising events and workshops to help promote businesses and professionals within the region. Most recently I arranged a virtual event on D&I all with the endorsement and backing of the firm.
Giving back to the communities in which we operate has always been, and will continue to be, a key priority for Ward Hadaway.
Environmental damage is one of the greatest challenges the world faces. And as a founding member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance and accredited to ISO14001, we are keen to play our part.