International Day of Persons with Disabilities - A Q&A on The Valuable 500 with Phil Verity

This year's International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) theme is ‘leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19 world.’ In line with this, Sue Kukadia, our Speakeasy Network Lead interviews Phil Verity, our UK Senior Partner on our commitment to The Valuable 500 and how we plan on ensuring disability inclusion remains top of the agenda.

We are one of the 500 firms signed up to the Valuable 500, tell us why you think it’s important to keep disability inclusion on the leadership agenda?

"Being an inclusive organisation is at the heart of who we are as a firm. We see it as a core part of our strategy and purpose to make sure that all of our team members feel that they belong and can bring their whole selves to work every day.

We’ve signed up to the Valuable 500 as we recognise just how important it is to have disability inclusion on our agenda. We’re committed to having conversations about disability inclusion across all areas of our business and we want to hold ourselves accountable to this. We know that real progress will be made when it’s something that we as senior leaders are actively focusing on and making a priority.

One way we’re doing this is by holding monthly meetings between senior leaders in our business and the leads of our employee diversity networks. We call this our Inclusion Alliance and this is chaired by Mags Laidlaw, a member of our UK Executive team and the firm’s inclusion, diversity and wellbeing sponsor. For me, that regular dialogue between our employee networks and senior leaders is an extremely powerful way for us to make sure we’re connected. The Alliance meetings provide a space for employees to actively raise and discuss matters that are important to them with senior leaders in our business. We can then work collaboratively together to take action, continue the momentum and make progress."

The theme this year for International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) is ‘fighting for rights in the post-Covid era’. How do you plan to keep disability inclusion significant in a post-Covid world?

"Looking after the mental health and wellbeing of our employees has always been extremely important to us. As the pandemic took hold, we saw the impact that it was having on our team members - physically, mentally and emotionally – and we knew that we had to do everything we possibly could to support them. This included us looking at everything we did through an accessibility lens. As a firm we’ve adopted hybrid working, and this flexibility means that our employees can work in a way that best supports their physical and mental health and wellbeing."   

What does the future of disability inclusion look like for us?

"It’s at the top of our agenda to ensure that this is a place where everyone is given the opportunity to thrive and succeed. We want every member of our team to feel valued and respected for who they are. Sharing the lived experiences of team members with disabilities and working closely with our disability network ‘Speakeasy’ is going to be a key part of the future for us. We’ve got a number of exciting things planned for 2022 which will help us continue making progress and driving change, so watch this space!"