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Championing Change at Russell McVeagh

Championing Change at Russell McVeagh


Russell McVeagh is proud to be part of a group of New Zealand's leading organisations who are voluntarily committing to a new diversity reporting framework, announced today by Champions for Change.

Russell McVeagh Chief Executive Officer and Champion for Change Gary McDiarmid says the firm supports this commitment to change and accountability which is focusing on gender and ethnicity reporting within the workforce and across boards.

"This commitment from leading New Zealand organisations to effect change is extremely powerful. Agreement on this measurable framework will help New Zealand's top organisations to identify key areas of focus for creating working environments that are welcoming and inclusive to all. This shows that this country's top business leaders recognise the benefits associated from embracing the richness of diversity and inclusion.

"Building an environment for success means continually working on strategies and putting measures in place to help a wide range of talent succeed and being able to measure progress of diversity initiatives will aid in achieving diversity and inclusion goals – and result in lasting change throughout New Zealand organisations and society.

"The reporting framework will help New Zealand's business leaders to think differently about how we are serving this country's young talent and what type of opportunities and organisational cultures we need to be developing within our organisations," he says.

As a strong promoter of gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the firm and the wider market, Gary has played a leading role in developing, implementing and tracking the success of Russell McVeagh's own firm-wide Diversity Project.

"At Russell McVeagh, we believe that continuing to further diversity and inclusion is key to our people, our clients and our continued success as a firm. In our own diversity journey, we too started with gender as an area of focus, in order to properly embed change. With our firm's female partners now making up close to 30% of the partnership, gender diversity continues to remains a key focus. By way of comparison, fifteen years ago, this was 3%. We have had some success but there is still some way to go," adds Mr McDiarmid.

Russell McVeagh's Diversity Project launched in 2014, and over the last few years has devoted partners' and senior management meetings to sessions focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives and unconscious bias training. The Board receives a quarterly report to show whether the firm have undertaken the gender diversity initiatives committed to, and as importantly, whether they are working. Employee engagement surveys are undertaken regularly to gauge how far the firm has come.

Notes to Editors:

Please find attached the related Champions for Change media release which includes further details of the Diversity Reporting Framework.

Russell McVeagh aims to lead the legal profession in terms of diversity and inclusion initiatives (for more information, please see the recently released CSR report.)

As a result of the firm's Diversity Project, to date the following initiatives have been implemented:

· Increased opportunities for flexible working.
· New training and support for those returning from maternity leave.
· 'Catch up time'.
· Smartphone allowance.
· Becoming a supporting partner of Global Women, signed for another three-year term and became a Champion for Change partner.
· New parental-leave policy, through 12 weeks of paid leave and a six-week lump sum on return to work the firm ‘tops-up’ the 18-week primary-carer government-paid parental-leave to full pay. In addition, we offer paid partner-leave for up to two weeks for non-primary carers.

· Increased training for our juniors on strategies for success.
· A mentoring framework.
· Staff 'charity days'.
· Refit of the wellness/parents room.
· Better advertising of the support services currently available.
· A partner leadership programme.
· Cross team 'mentoring'.
· Practice group diversity sessions.
· Launch of unconscious bias programme for recruitment and HR team, senior managers and partnership.
· New diversity working group.
· New Diversity and Equal Opportunities Policy and Anti bullying and Harassment Policy.
· Launch of 'Inspirational Speakers Programme'.
· Gender pay equity reporting (Finalist, Gold Category, YWCA Equal Pay Awards 2016.)
· Rainbow Tick certified.
· 25% increase in staff engagement scores (within the top 10% of all NZ employers)

· Diversity Works partner, members of Global Women and Champions for Change, supporters of the Corporate Mothers Network.

· First law firm to take in a Tuputoa intern.

ends

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