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16 Jan 2024
by Dawn Lewis

Catherine Ritchie of Clifford Chance on embedding authentic inclusivity

Building an authentic culture starts with listening and data

16 Jan listening.jpeg


Speaking on the Employee and wellbeing benefits that truly encourage inclusivity and belonging REBA webinar, run with strategic partners Headspace, on 7 September, Catherine Ritchie, Wellbeing and People Experience Manager at Clifford Chance, outlined the importance of authentic inclusivity.

She highlighted that a lot of the work she does around embedding inclusivity is about empowering people to have difficult or brave conversations, and enabling them to signpost to the correct support.

“We provide leadership in that space and guidance to different groups. But there's so much in this space around engaging people who will see things differently to you, and understanding their perspective,” explained Ritchie. 

Clifford Chance has affinity networks for different employee communities. “A lot of the work that I've done here, and previously, is engaging with those networks and understanding their challenges, not only to design for their needs, but to empower them to be able to have those conversations. Because sometimes they're better equipped to have that conversation than me, and that’s a really key part of it,” she said.

The idea of authentic inclusivity in a wellbeing landscape that is constantly changing means that having a strong connection with leadership is also really important.

“Understanding what they're [leadership] doing to ultimately steer the ship, lead the direction, we want to know that it’s part of how we’re designing strategically within the firm.”

Top tips to building an authentic culture on a budget

  • Listen to your employees – whether through employee networks or simple coffee mornings, getting to know people across the business is really valuable.
  • Look at your data – this can be as simple as adding free tracking links to content on your intranet site to help you understand what people are looking for when they're looking for internal information. 
  • Speak to managers – what type of support are employees asking for, or are there any particular challenges they’ve seen coming up.
  • Benefits utilisation data – EAP usage data is a good foundational place to start to understand employees’ challenges.
  • Measure what matters – understand your baseline and where you want to go with building your inclusive culture.