At Hugill & Ip we believe that inclusion is the fundamental way to build diversity within our firm.
Without a thorough open discussion and action to foster an inclusive environment, all the effort and resources spent on recruiting a diverse workforce will not pay back and employees – often recruited through a long and sometimes even painful selection – will be gone within a short period of time.
Experience from different backgrounds and organisations we have worked for in the past tells us that many efforts into hiring for diverse candidates become vane when employees fail or walk out the door without giving themselves a chance to be successful within our firm. That’s why we pay great attention in creating a culture and a sense of belonging which allows this diverse collection of people to feel safe and flourish. Time, money, and talented people would be lost if we don’t proactively address the deeply nuanced issue of inclusion.
Often it gets down to a very basic concept and action: “the act of including and the state of being included”. This is a very simple definition that becomes more complicated upon implementation within organizations because of the different affinity groups that can exist and how to discover, fulfil, and include each affinity groups’ unique needs. It’s crucial to recognize that an affinity group may constitute just one individual or multiple people. Regardless of size, all groups deserve consistent and sincere efforts of inclusion. They all deserve the same degree of respect.
Our vision and mission are to give access to innovation and protection to those who want it and need it the most, we are lucky – despite being a boutique size law firm – to have members who represent diversity: age, race, gender identity, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic status. Everyone is celebrated for being unique and deeply valued for bringing a different contribution to our firm within a wider scope of being successfully delivering a high standard of service to our clients.
Who are we and how diverse are we?
Many of us were born, lived, studied and worked in different countries – the U.S., China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the U.K., Italy, Pakistan – but we all made Hong Kong our home, sharing values which are closely linked to being decent human beings rather than a specific place we originally happened to be born in.
We speak 5 different Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Teochew) and 6 different national languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, Urdu) – either as a mother-tongue or as a second language. From playing musical instruments – piano, violin, guitar – to theatre acting, singing and dancing, we could probably put together a show.
Some of us are atheists, some others are religious. Some of us are straight, some others are gay. Some of us are married, some are single. Some have children, some others don’t. Some drink alcohol, some don’t. Some are very active in sports, some others prefer cultural activities.
Each and every one of us from very different family backgrounds and respect such differences in terms of culture, upbringing, economic status, nature, aspirations and life choices.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a good start. It comes direct from current and future employees. Some of these are easy action items that can be implemented day-in day-out. Many will take the effort of a thoughtful and committed community of diverse individuals with engaged senior leadership.
Protecting and feeling protected
The difference that we try to make is that EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO FEEL PROTECTED. It’s about making the place where we spend a lot of time together working side by side a SPECIAL and SAFE environment.
Policy is important for legal protections, but daily actions – unconscious and conscious – cultivate the everyday experience for employees. For us inclusion means to consider everyone’s backgrounds, thoughts, and opinions when assessing a situation or idea. Inclusion is oftentimes not a conscious thought…the unconscious effort to include someone in a process is what seems more natural and effortless. A culture of respect is always at the core of it.
Inclusivity happens organically when you have diversity at the top of the organization. Inclusivity gets stronger when you foster your younger colleagues to become an inclusive leader of tomorrow’s workplace.