Horwich Farrelly uses International Women’s Day to assess gender diversity

horwich farrelly women's network

Specialist insurance industry law firm Horwich Farrelly launched an employee survey on International Women’s Day (8 March 2019) that aims to look through the lens of gender at the organisation’s culture and the experience of its 750 or more employees, 57% of whom are women.

Collaborating to create the questions for the survey were employee feedback platform Hive and the employer’s own Network of Women (HF Now). The survey will close on 22 March 2019, and the firm will be donating £1 for every completed survey to international women’s charity Catalyst.

Nicola Critchley, partner and head of costs, commented: “We worked with Hive and the HF Now steering group to ensure the questions represent best practice, and we hope that it’s a brave move as it helps us understand the qualitative stories that sit behind the [diversity and inclusion] data, so that we can head-on tackle anything under the surface that might be contributing to a gender pay gap at Horwich Farrelly.”

The women’s network was launched in November 2018, at an event attended by more than 60 of Horwich Farrelly’s female employees. HF Now will be undertaking a calendar of events, one being the International Women’s Day survey, aimed at supporting and inspiring women, in addition to creating more understanding around the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion.

Critchley, added: “The primary aims of this new group are to provide support, careers advice and training and wellbeing, to drive initiatives that promote inclusion for all.

“Our launch event was a huge success and provided valuable insights to all who attended. I and other partners, as well as guest speakers, shared personal experiences and advice to help encourage our female colleagues.”

The launch of the women’s network was communicated to employees at town hall meetings in the firm’s eight offices across Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Southampton, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast. These meetings were run by Horwich Farrelly’s managing partner, chief operating officer and director of people. Each town hall meeting included the opportunity to submit anonymous questions via a mobile application.

As part of its approach to gender diversity, in August 2018 Horwich Farrelly piloted the Law Society’s Women Returners Programme, with the first returner starting in February 2019. In November 2018, the firm introduced an enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption programme. The firm also became involved in a mentoring programme in January 2019, Inspired to Aspire, run by social inclusion organisation Salford Foundation.

Critchley said: “As a business, Horwich Farrelly is committed to finding and nurturing the very best people. We are dedicated to creating, developing and retaining the skills which help us to provide exceptional client service.

“In the 50 years Horwich Farrelly has been serving the legal industry, the firm has focused on promoting from within, creating opportunities for training, development and personal growth for every one of our [employees]. This latest initiative supports that aim, empowering women who are looking to succeed and progress in what is a typically male-dominated industry.”