Valuing diversity means providing a workplace that respects, includes and values differences, recognises and nurtures the contributions that individuals make and fosters a work environment that maximises the potential of all men and women. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is central to us achieving our strategic vision, that is, to be a world-class independent Australian law firm that clients value for its people and performance. Our immediate area of focus is on gender equality.
Through the firm's Diversity Committee, senior leaders oversee the design, implementation and monitoring of programs and initiatives to achieve our diversity objectives. Chaired by our National Managing Partner, Jesse Webb, the committee meets four times per year and reports to the firm's Executive Committee and Board.
Our Employee Advisory group strengthens communication channels from and to our people on issues that affect our workplace. This group is representative of our workforce and provides insight into different employee perspectives, offering ideas and feedback that assists us to focus our efforts in this space.
Our targeted strategy aims to achieve the following objectives:
- improve the retention rates of our highly talented women
- increase the number of women in senior roles, and
- educate and equip our leaders with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage and build diversity at the firm.
- Phillip Salem
- Mark Hickey
- Roland Hassall
- Adam Fuller
- Kristina Miller
- Belinda Michalk
- Alan McKelvey
- Kerry Haddock
- Chantal Tipene
- Sharon Stockman
- Katrina Cooper
- Kate Rimer
- Julie Kneebone (Employee representative)
To meet our objectives, the firm will focus on the following five areas:
- leading diversity
- diversity in leadership
- talent, succession and retention risk management
- supporting and promoting innovative work practices, and
- building client, partner and staff confidence.
To deliver outstanding legal services to our clients, it takes a team of outstanding people with a broad range of ideas and experiences. I'm committed to ensuring Sparke Helmore has a diverse and inclusive culture, which includes gender equality, to support everyone in the firm to be the best they can.
As part of our strategic plan, we are implementing a range of initiatives to enhance the firm's diversity and integrated gender equality. This strategy has been developed with input from the firm's Diversity Committee, focus groups conducted with the firm's top female talent, the Board, Executive Committee and some of our partners.
We also considered:
- results from the firm's most recent engagement study, which centred on diversity
- industry best practice, drawing information from sources such as discussions with consultants at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency
- advice from diversity experts at Symmetra, and
- the NSW Law Society's Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession Project findings and recommendations.
By valuing diversity we create a workplace that respects, includes and appreciates differences, and supports our people to reach their potential.