23 Dec 2022

Addressing inclusion in Accountancy and Business Services

It’s more important than ever for firms to address diversity and inclusion (D&I). Beyond the clear moral imperative of D&I, there are motivational, retention and performance repercussions too. For example, companies with more diverse leadership teams report that 45% of their revenue comes from innovation, compared with 26% for less diverse leadership teams. It also impacts work culture – employees that feel that they are treated fairly are almost ten times more likely to look forward to going to work and take greater pride in what they do.

It is essential that firms create, execute and monitor ongoing strategies to generate genuinely inclusive recruitment and HR strategies. This will enable every employee and, by extension, client, to feel a sense of equity and belonging in the organisation. Implementing inclusive practices into your HR systems is not just a one-time fix. In order to be truly inclusive, it’s vital that considerations and actions are integrated into in every element of an organisation and are not just a tick box exercise.

Hiring practices are the foundation of change
At Monahans we want to be the best workforce that we can be. Encouraging diversity of thought will produce a more balanced and creative workforce, with a wide range of talents. These considerations must be taken into account from the very initial recruitment stages.

Our recruitment policy and procedures are very clear when it comes to equal opportunities. From the job advert to interview questions, all of our hiring decisions are based solely on a candidate’s ability to do the job by assessing skills and competencies. We advertise on job boards instead of closed networks to ensure that they are accessible to all. Our interviews are evidence based and HR will always be involved in at least one of the interview stages to ensure fairness, consistency and inclusivity.

We are keen to ensure that routes into the accountancy industry are as varied and accessible as possible. This includes improving education and awareness around the profession and providing support to those who are considering a career in accountancy. We engage with our local community, visiting schools and colleges to speak about what it’s like to be an accountant, working with students to refine their interview techniques and attending job fairs. We also run a comprehensive apprenticeship scheme and offer work experience and work placements to several individuals each year.

Inclusivity needs to be part of the furniture
We don’t want inclusive processes to just be an ‘add-on’ to our employee initiatives, we strive for them to be integrated in everything we do, so that they are just the norm. Our staff are our most important asset, so we want to ensure that they feel supported and valued all the way through their career and that no one feels limited in their job progression. As with our recruitment policy and procedures, we are clear with our equal opportunities. All career development opportunities are based on someone’s ability to do the job via their skills, knowledge, ambition and attitude.

All managers have received training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity and we will launch this training across the wider business from October this year. We acknowledge people's differences, and as part of this we have a ‘Dress for your day’ every Friday, with very minimum dress code standards, so everyone has an opportunity to dress however they would like to be represented.

Everyone should have a say
The majority of our inclusivity policies focus on our mission to ensure that all employees have an ‘employee voice’, no matter their role or status with the company. We want everyone to feel listened to and it is essential that we receive feedback from every level of the business in order to get the full picture of what is and isn’t working. We have various methods of encouraging this, including:

  • Regular employee surveys
  • A company culture and social club, which organises regular activities and includes at least one representative from each office.
  • A well-being group with representatives across the company in different roles and levels of authority, so again everyone has a say.
  • A ‘Thanks’ section hosted on our Intranet which encourages anyone to add a ‘thanks’ to the page for something that a team member has done. The idea is that no matter their background, job role, age or length of service, every employee will have the same opportunity to contribute. We hope to encourage praise from any level and direction, not just the traditional manager to employee, demonstrate the brilliant work taking place across all aspects of the organisation and help to cultivate a sense of community amongst the team. We want people to feel valued for who they are and what they do through other people’s eyes.

Always room for improvement
Improving inclusivity is not a one-and-done project or a trend to implement. Rather, it should be seen as an ongoing process that, just like every other business process, needs to be monitored, reviewed, and periodically optimised. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve our hiring processes, boost our employee offering and enhance our presence in the local community. Our aim is to become more actively involved in schools and colleges, specifically those which may have disadvantaged groups; as well as looking into other initiatives where we can actively promote our practices and help to open up the accountancy industry.

If you would like to discuss how to improve your HR offering, please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help.

Juliet Mellues