Rebecca Aston and Lisa Williams share Chartered financial planning firms' good practice to improve diversity and inclusion
In 2019, the CII introduced a new requirement for all CII Chartered firms to have an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy. In return, the CII committed to measure the impact of these policies and to share the findings with the corporate Chartered community.
During April and May 2021, 40% of all CII Chartered firms responded to the first annual Chartered EDI survey, which aimed to measure the impact of EDI policies and enable the CII to produce guidance to help Chartered firms navigate this often-complex area.
Some 80% of responses received were from Chartered financial planning firms and the feedback demonstrated that these firms – generally smaller in size than Chartered insurers – have specific challenges in relation to promoting EDI internally.
In many ways, small firms can be incredibly inclusive places to work – with a family feel where staff feel comfortable ‘bringing their whole selves to work’. However, having fewer than 50 employees can also mean it is harder to implement some of the EDI initiatives commonly practised by larger firms, such as organising people network groups or collecting diversity data.
Therefore, the CII pledges to use the data received from the survey to help Chartered financial planning firms promote EDI and to share support, guidance and examples of good practice.
In this article, we are delighted to feature EDI initiatives undertaken by Chartered financial planning firm Mazars. While Mazars is larger than the average firm, many of these initiatives can be adjusted to suit businesses of any size.
For example, Mazars has created a Microsoft Teams site featuring a range of articles on topics such as understanding the impact of menopause, sharing when cultural festivals and celebrations are, and useful resources for new parents. The firm also shares information and insights on awareness days, such as Global Accessibility Awareness Day, to learn about digital access and inclusion for people who are affected by a disability or impairment. Resources such as these not only help employees understand one another, but also help them to understand and empathise with clients – which is important for organisations of all types and sizes.
Additionally, staff networks have created lists of recommended books, podcasts, TV shows and websites to help increase understanding of key topics across the spectrum of EDI. The firm has also created a dedicated inclusion, diversity and wellbeing hub with content available to anyone looking to learn more in relation to EDI. Highlighting resources that are easily available is a simple way of garnering engagement and opening up discussions.
Finally, Mazars has focused on sharing the lived experiences of team members with the firm through blogs and online webinars. This sharing of experiences has contributed to the firm creating an environment where diverse career and life journeys can be celebrated.
If your Chartered financial planning firm would like to share examples of initiatives you have taken to improve EDI, please do get in touch.
Rebecca Aston is professional standards manager and Lisa Williams is corporate development manager, both of the CII