Linklaters is a leading global law firm, offering expert legal services across a range of jurisdictions and best-in-class divisions, in corporate, finance and projects, and dispute resolution. To deliver all this, the firm relies on the work of more than 5,000 employees based in 30 offices across the world.
Linklaters is motivated by a desire to promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) across its workforce and in its engagement with external organisations. It wants to be known as the ‘best in class’ firm for D&I – a workplace where everyone feels they belong, and diversity is celebrated. This case study takes a look at how the real time engagement app from Vevox
has helped the firm support its D&I engagement sessions across all its offices and operations.
Taking the Approach on Tour
The firm’s Global Diversity Manager, Daniel Danso, helps write the company’s diversity strategy and delivers it in the 30 countries in which it operates. He also develops and runs all of the Linklaters’ D&I awareness raising sessions to ensure consistency of delivery worldwide, as well as making certain that local nuance and relevance is taken into consideration. When he carried out his first ‘global tour’, Daniel encountered a number of challenges in getting groups in his sessions to feel comfortable participating.
“In some countries, pointing at people and asking for feedback simply did not work,” said Danso. “In others, everyone in the meeting was reluctant to speak up because they were afraid they did not have the right answer and/or were concerned about being shown up in front of their colleagues. Prior to implementing the Vevox app, I had to work really hard at making my training interactive and making sure it fits each individual country office. I also had to completely reframe my approach on occasions to ensure anonymity.”
When Danso embarked on a second round of awareness training, he was keen to seek out technology that would enable him to adapt his approach. He was introduced to the Vevox
real-time engagement app after an internal trail and discovered upon using it that it was a great way of breaking down the barriers that challenge internal workplace inclusion.
“Vevox is an interactive platform that allows people to engage and interact anonymously
in the types of sessions that I run,” said Danso. “It enabled them to participate without feeling vulnerable. I could ask harder and deeper questions because they did not require someone to be brave in that specific moment – and all that enabled me to quickly ascertain what a particular group felt on a particular topic.”
Being able to capture anonymous feedback is critically important to Linklaters’ approach. On Danso’s latest tour, he carried out over 280 sessions in 28 countries, involving more than 5,000 people. While he changed the language and context to fit local laws, demographics and popular culture, he asked the same questions and used the same technology - namely the Vevox app - to encourage responses and secure the answers in every case. From that, he captured an entire year’s worth of firm-wide global data, incorporating real feedback and real stories.
“We originally wanted it just as a tool to make sessions more interactive, it turned out to be much more than that,” said Danso. “It is also flexible, enabling me to run sessions over telepresence and Webex, and even live-stream them to jurisdictions around the world. It has been a real game-changer for these sessions.
In most meetings, not everyone is going to be included, not everyone has an equal voice. Not everyone has the cultural background or personality trait to feel comfortable contributing in every situation. The Vevox app has ‘equalised’ everything in these meetings because everyone has a voice, everyone has a say. It has definitely and significantly raised overall participation levels .”
Danso also believes it saves a lot of time. He can get everybody to answer instantly rather than having to ask them individually in turn. Getting all those responses and capturing the answers immediately, then provides him with new material to talk about in the rest of the session.
“The service and support Vevox provides is excellent too,” said Danso. “They listen to new ideas and initiatives about how the software could be tweaked and they are open to implementing those ideas where appropriate.”
The use of the app has sparked a lot of interest from a range of Linklaters’ offices, and in our facilities around the world.
“It is a great way of taking everyday bias out of everyday encounters,” said Daniel. “And in a business context, it is a very practical way for organisations to evidence they are including people in the conversation and taking a diverse range of views on board when making decisions. It gives introverts the space to contribute and it gets different cultures the space to be heard. Because it is cool new technology, it brings different generations into the conversations needed to make change.”