29 February 2016
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PledgeforParity. As a firm that has employed more women than men since its inception more than two years ago, this has given us at Haberman Ilett an opportunity to reflect on why and how gender parity has never been an issue for us.
Liz Perks was one of the firm’s first employees and became its first female partner in April 2015. “Since we started we have recruited the best people for the job, as any business does,” says Liz. “It so happened that the first few women we employed wanted some kind of flexible working arrangement. Phil’s entrepreneurial attitude and respect for everyone’s personal work-life balance enabled us to bring on board people who put in the hard work when it was necessary, and for whom we could offer some flexibility in return. This has meant we have managed to attract some fantastic women back into the workplace.”
Liz describes the firm’s approach as “running things fairly, respecting each other’s preferences and trusting others to do the same”. She believes that this ethos enabled those first recruits to join and has since helped the firm recruit excellent staff who don’t always want to work traditional hours, without compromising on deliverables.
“Haberman Ilett is not driven by chargeable hours targets,” Liz continues. “Nor is there an assumption that if you’re doing lots of hours, you must be doing well.” The focus, instead, is on the quality of that work, with mutual contribution being met with mutual benefit. For example, team members who prefer to work extra hours and take extra holiday afterwards have been able to do so, one of our team has had two periods of unpaid leave in two years, and others, partners included, regularly work from home.
Phil Haberman’s view is clear: “It’s not so much about why you’re open to working flexibly. It’s more about why wouldn’t you be?”
Phil also appreciates that treating people fairly gives everyone a sense of ownership and pride in the firm. “It is important to recognise that we all invest a lot in where we work” he says. Trusting our people to work hard whilst being open to new ideas for making that happen has resulted in a successful firm that has naturally achieved gender parity.
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing information about how Haberman Ilett will be recognising International Women’s Day (8 March), including attending events in our community and donating professional clothes to Dress for Success, a charity helping disadvantaged women thrive in work and life.