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Instilling values in a law firm | Burges Salmon

"Communication, consistency and transparency are key when you want to embed a positive culture."

How we've developed our values at Burges Salmon

Victoria Goldsworthy, Senior L&D Partner - People,  Burges Salmon LLP talks about the values of the firm and how they developed these.

Victoria Goldsworthy 24Mm X 33Mm 150Dpi Headshots (002)

What are your values at Burges Salmon?
Ambition, Collaboration, Commitment, Fairness, Respect and Quality.

How did you decide on them?
We ran workshops across the whole firm where we asked our people whether our existing values reflected us as a firm and for them to share examples of our values in action. The outcome was the addition of collaboration to our values and a clear consensus on what the words mean to everyone. 

Can you share some examples on how the team live those values each day?
How the firm responded to Covid shows our values in action. They guided key decisions that included the returning of furlough money to the government, honouring salary increases, paying bonuses, ramping up the focus on wellbeing and protecting jobs, whilst maintaining commitments with community partners

Some specific examples:

Ambition: We have pledged a net zero target date of 2026 and are working towards science based targets to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% across scope 1,2 and 3 by 2030.

Fairness and respect:  We have launched our ‘power of inclusion’ campaign to show how we are an inclusive workplace. Gender balance as a strategic priority and 50% of partner promotions over the last three years have been female.

Collaboration: Towards the end of 2021, as COVID-19 restrictions eased, we moved to a new hybrid way of working for our people and introduced new guidelines for increased flexible working and a more relaxed office dress code. The principles of these approaches were formed from feedback by our people.

Tells us more about ‘the deal’
At the same time as asking people about our values, we asked ‘what we want from you’ and ‘what do we offer in return’ and the feedback from our people shaped the deal, our employee value proposition. It’s a set of commitments which help to shape  the people and talent strategy, provide everyone with clear expectations and forms the basis of our employee engagement survey.  A number of our values are reflected within the deal so they are closely linked.

How has defining your values and ‘the deal’ helped promote a healthy culture at Burges Salmon?
Communication, consistency and transparency are key when you want to embed a positive culture. Our culture remains of differentiator as we have a clear framework that is easy to articulate allowed us to show them in action through a range of activities including our AGM, monthly newsletter and Leadership Bulletins, responsible business activities, social events and are discussed at annual reviews (to name a few). 

What would be your top tips for a firm looking to work on their values and culture?
Engage people at all levels and ask for their views. Define what your values and culture mean and ensure all actions align or enhance this.  Celebrate what you do well and communicate often on how you as a frim demonstrate your values in action at all levels.  Often it can be the little things really bring a culture to life (e.g. celebrating an achievement, team volunteering) and these are just as important as the senior leadership messaging.

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