In the lead up to our Diversity and Inclusion Chapter for the WWMB Network, we caught up with Mason Alexander CEO Andrew Lynch.
Andrew discusses what leadership teams can do to promote inclusion in the workplace and what steps Mason Alexander have taken to incorporate diversity into their culture.
Why is diversity and inclusion important within an organisation?
I believe that diversity and inclusion (D&I) can have a dramatic effect on an organisation. From attraction to retention, an inclusive culture that caters for people of all different backgrounds, can promote loyalty, help drive down turnover and lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction.
How can an organisation promote an inclusive culture?
In order for an organisation to promote an inclusive culture, they must have a clear strategy about what D&I means to the business, ensure they have buy-in from the leadership team and then be able to communicate it effectively.
At MA, we work with clients to support their internal diversity programmes. Our support includes providing our clients with diversity data relating to their roles, general market intelligence, working in partnership on specific initiatives aimed at increasing diversity or raising awareness among potential and existing employees.
I am proud to say that we are committed to our D&I strategy at Mason Alexander and we are seeing great results from our initiatives:
Our Team is made up of 55% female / 45% male.
We are signatories to the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Recruitment and Executive Search Firms.
We are a member of Basis Point charity – a charity to fund programmes and initiatives that focus on education and which aim to make a sustainable and tangible difference to those living in poverty.
MA Sports – our career transition division to help and support athletes, professional or amateur, transition from a sporting environment to the professional working world, with services ranging from CV and interview preparation to full career coaching.
How can a leadership team ensure a commitment to diversifying their workforce?
As a CEO, I try to educate myself on D&I so that I can develop structured plans and initiatives with my leadership team. I need my team to drive the D&I message so their input and collaboration is vitally important. As we continue to grow, we actively try to push down traditional barriers; no matter the level of seniority, company tenure or where someone is from – everybody has a voice. This diversity of thought is imperative at all levels in order to succeed in today’s corporate world.
How can an organisation improve its D&I hiring strategy?
In MA, we are regularly being asked by customers to support them in bringing more diversity into their recruitment process. I often find that attracting the right talent is much easier when an organisation shouts loudly about it’s commitment to diversity.
First off, the hiring team needs to build out a plan and a strategy. This takes time and effort and continual hard work to make sure you deliver on the commitments you set out to achieve.
You need the right people driving it aswell. People who are passionate about improving D&I in the organisation.
What efforts has MA done over the years to promote a more inclusive culture in the organisation?
I am really proud of the progress that Mason Alexander have made in order to make our culture as inclusive as possible. Some of the initiatives that we have implemented are:
Flexible Workplace Policy
Because of our Flexible Workplace Policy, we have been able to take on a diverse range of people and boost diversity across the business. We now attract talented employees who may find difficulties in performing in the traditional 9-5 because of childcare needs, disability etc.
Technology/Work From Home
I find that technology has been a key enabler in ensuring workforce diversity. Each of our employees have access to a laptop, which ensures they have the opportunity to work remotely if needed. I believe that giving our employees the tools to work wherever they want promotes a positive work life balance.
Mason Alexander is committed to breaking the boundaries of recruitment. Our latest tech venture thinkHRX is currently developing technology which will aim to remove the bias from an applicant’s and hiring manager’s perspective.
As part of our talent strategy, we encourage peer to peer mentoring and external coaching for our leadership team. We also offer year round internships to targeted groups.
Key members of our Leadership team have spoken on guest panels about the importance of D&I in organisations at both internal and external events. Regular blogs are posted by key members of our team on diversity trends within their sector.
Diverse Networking Groups
I am very proud of the diverse communities that Mason Alexander have created through our networking groups. We always ensure that they are first and foremost inclusive and are open to everybody.
Women Who Mean Business Network
I have said before and still believe, that gender diversity is still a massive problem in Ireland. In order to facilitate open discussions and drive real change, we created the Women Who Mean Business Network. This network’s sole purpose is to bring professionals together, encourage open discussion and challenge traditional models.
Since it’s establishment membership has grown to over 300 people and through panel events and networking evenings, WWMB has worked to bring professionals together to promote Gender Equality in the workplace, Equal Pay and Mentorship. Our upcoming event to be hosted on the 3rd of October is themed “Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace”.
Leaders of Tech Network
Leaders of Tech (LoT) is a cross-industry, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing community for Tech Leaders, that is focused on the belief that innovation and new ideas are stimulated through collaboration. By the establishment of networks within our organisation, such as the Leaders in Tech, we have created a diverse pool of candidates and clients.
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