Staff at national law firm Irwin Mitchell  are celebrating after winning a top HR industry accolade for its inspiring workplace diversity strategy.
Irwin Mitchell achieved the best workplace diversity award at the HR Excellence Awards 2012, on Monday 25 June at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane in London.
The firm was recognised by national publication HR Magazine, which runs the awards, for its commitment to developing its diversity board, launched in 2008, and two stand-out campaigns called IMEqual and IMPowered. It was one of just two national businesses nominated for the award and the judges said they were “impressed and encouraged” by the entry.
Stuart Henderson, chairman of the Irwin Mitchell’s social responsibility board, said: “Our people are tremendously important to us and it’s great to see Irwin Mitchell being recognised for the work we do to champion them.
“We believe that the greater our diversity, the better we can respond to the diverse needs of our many clients. We want to encourage the most talented people in the market to work for us, so we devote a lot of time and energy into ensuring the company is attractive to people from all walks of life. The Irwin Mitchell diversity board and specialist networking groups introduced have really been a catalyst for cultural change.
“We are proud of the IMEqual and IMPowered campaigns, so winning this accolade at the HR Excellence Awards is incredibly rewarding for the staff who have invested so much time and enthusiasm into making them a success.”
IMEqual is designed for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at Irwin Mitchell, and incorporates members of these groups and ‘straight allies’ who support the activity. The group has focused on awareness campaigns, support for the LGBT Pride events, drop-in clinics, lunch-and-learn sessions and business seminars.
And Irwin Mitchell has also dedicated itself to ensuring it is a great place for women to work with its IMPowered networking group, which nurtures female leadership skills. In 2011, the company was recognised as having the second highest number of female equity partners in The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report and was awarded silver status in the Opportunity Now benchmarking survey.
The HR Excellence Award win follows a number of other successes for Irwin Mitchell, including The Lawyer workplace and diversity award for most effective diversity programme, a top-100 position in the UK Stonewall workplace equality index for the third year running and a top-25 ranking for the most diverse law firms by the Black Solicitors Network.
Stonewall also recognised the IMEqual programme as a ‘Star Performer’ for the second consecutive year and Irwin Mitchell won the best graduate trainee recruitment campaign at the The Lawyer workplace and diversity awards.
John Pickering, group chief executive of Irwin Mitchell, added: “The firm has a long-standing reputation for supporting the diversity of our people and to have received so much external recognition this year is a fantastic achievement for the firm and our social responsibility programme.
“It is also important to note that the recent HR Excellence Awards are not specific to the legal and professional services industry. By entering these awards we were judged alongside other leading international firms and FTSE 100s. This proves that we are not just leaders in the legal sector.
“I would like to congratulate everyone who has taken part in our diversity programme so far this year and have contributed to its success.”