Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Senior HR Advisor
Executive Director & CEO
Overview - a summary to introduce the project or initiative
"Change what's possible" is the ethos of our business. It is our motto and mantra and the DNA for every decision we make. What we do as a business is to use technology to change the way lawyers manage and assimilate evidence. That’s our reason for being. Our vision is to use technology to change the way law is practised and accessed and to do that we need a raft of capable, expert and diverse people to fuel that work.
With major global economic forces like urbanisation, accelerated technological change and the interconnectedness of our world, business is being fundamentally shifted.
Our levers are two fold; digital for the obvious cost savings and its power to open up competition borders within the global marketplace; and our culture and people: our human capital. These factors are our edge and our differentiators.
To create a culture supporting inclusion across the spectra of gender, ethnicity and workplace experience meant challenging the existing business models and paradigms for law firms and consulting practices and altering the way we hire, train and integrate new staff, setting the stage for an agile culture.
Actions / Initatives - Detail the actions implemented to achieve the project or initative
It starts with the people. We grow our talent pool in a number of ways, referrals from current & former staff, through advertising and by lateral acquisition including from outside of traditional recruitment pipelines. We're seeking attitude and aptitude and are looking for skills which don't always come in neat packaged university graduates. More often recruits with other workplace experience and life experience have the right capacity to fill our roles so we need to be open to that reality. We actively recruit for women candidates for every role.
We're pleased that across our projects for 2015-16, 54.85% of our workforce have been women and 48.25% of our team are from non English speaking backgrounds.
icourts is the proud sponsor for the second year running of the Mentoring Program run by the Vic ICT for Women network in Victoria and we provide cold hard cash which allows webinars, speakers and events to be run as part of the program, in addition to in kind support. This program helps provide women with support to re-enter the workplace, and cultivates women for leadership roles as they start and build their careers which is incredibly important work.
Approach - Detail the approach that was taken on the project or initative
At first glance, it’s easy to characterize the lack of women in technology and entrepreneurship as a pipeline problem. We've addressed this issue is by creating a culture which is supportive of women, where they feel empowered, valued and are able to learn alongside their male team members - a more inclusive tech culture.
Our leadership team is where our culture and values are determined and driven from. Our management team are in their roles in part because their belief in our approach is genuine and delivered everyday in their interactions with our staff.
We’ve looked at our structures and how we organise ourselves to do work and changed the focus to teams based around outcomes, meaning teams can be lead by the right person for that outcome and there's more flexibility to allow staff to work across disciplines .
Accountability is a tenet of our culture, and we have been challenged by the lack of female candidates for IT based roles. This has forced us to become even more active to look further afield, including at bringing in new recruits from other disciplines and providing training to ensure we have the right people in the mix for our business.
Follow up / response - Details the follow up or response to the project or initative
Key for us was establishing a level of trust among employees to encourage collaboration and experimentation. We share a lot of information internally, and we’re cognisant that rewards drive behaviour so that's how we've set up our business. We’ve also studied the way we measure our work, and ensured the language we’ll use and how we’ll characterise, share and promote information within the business is accessible and inclusive.
We have invested internally in the active and positive recruitment of women for all tech roles. We’ve spent quite some time cross fertilizing talent and skills so our team can learn the skills we need in them, and we really invest in our talent with on the job learning, vocational training & even instituting an internship for one of our key roles so we are growing our talent from within and providing access to skills not otherwise available for most.
The results of these efforts have been very positive. Our business is better because we have a range of experiential backgrounds in our management team, and a range of voices heard each day throughout the business as we deliver our work.
Action to overcome resistance - Details the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative
Success is the reinforcement and validation to continue with the positive and proactive program we have embarked upon. It allows you to build from your base position and take another risk, bolstered by previous successes.
We believe by allowing businesses to understand the benefits of diversity in a workforce in terms of productivity and prosperity - or the bottom line; will mean there is an imperative for them to also act. By showcasing 'what is possible' if you think differently about your team's makeup and how to truly support diversity and inclusion in the workplace; we hope that other businesses will take risks and adopt new ways of acting to increase their own diversity profile.
Our business is 5 years old. In 2014 & 2015 we were recognised in the BRW Fast Starters List which showcases Australian companies based on performance. In no small part is that success attributable to the fabulous and diverse team we have built in that short period.
Your approach to your team and your commitment to change must be real and palpable and hard work is required but results will help foster new and faster adoption of other proactive initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion.