White & Case LLP is a global law firm with a diverse team of local, US and English-qualified lawyers operating across established and emerging markets. People Engagement is one of ‘Three Areas of Critical Focus’ in the firm’s five-year 2020 growth strategy, and they are particularly keen to ensure they have the right representation to match clients’ needs and values, particularly in the area of Diversity & Inclusion.
White & Case commissioned Steps to research, develop and deliver a global learning initiative as part of its strategic aim to be a truly inclusive law firm. In order to build on their successes and work on areas of challenge, they wanted everyone to participate in a live, interactive learning experience that stimulated thinking and encouraged conversation and debate. Sessions were required to have global consistency and central themes, but be tailored to the issues pertinent to each individual region.
After a robust research phase involving 150 conversations with a cross section of employees from all global regions, we were able to further inform the wider D&I agenda within the firm, establish clear learning outcomes for the project and develop the stories that formed the basis of the drama for each individual region. Global consistency was key, and we built in a rigorous process of piloting and feedback, so as to optimise the programme for the wider population.
The resulting sessions engage participants in an active exploration of what inclusion looks like to them and to White & Case, what it means to have bias, and how behavioural culture links directly to the success of the firm, both internally and externally. Participants are challenged to consider the ‘role we all play’ in contributing to a more inclusive firm, in line with its vision for the future.
The aim is for 75% of the global workforce (approx. 5000) to take part in the live Unconscious Bias sessions. So far we have delivered sessions in over 30 countries.
Initial feedback reports indicate that participants are really enjoying the programme so far, they feel informed and engaged and are left with tangible ideas to action when back in the workplace as a result.
In addition to this ongoing feedback, the plan is to undertake a repeat phase of research at the end of the programme to establish whether real change is happening. We are currently working with White & Case to develop a strategy to measure movement in areas such as confidence in dealing with challenging conversations, calling out poor behaviour, and trust in senior leadership, amongst others. The aim being to evidence that learning is fully embedded and that the firm is maximising its ability to see change as a result of this, and other related initiatives.