Gender Equality Awards 2016: Inclusive Leader Award: People Manager - EY

Philip Goodstone, Partner, Legal Practice

Award Type: 

In 2001, Philip was a new partner within a firm where three talented female team members left within a year as they could not achieve their ambitions within a male-dominated culture. This and other similar experiences throughout the years led Philip to question what he could do to drive change so all talent can be successful, regardless of gender.
Philip moved to EY in 2014 as he felt an alignment between his personal values and those of the firm. He attended EY’s Inclusive Leadership Programme (ILP), which reinforced his commitment to inclusive behaviours and his responsibility as a leader to drive change and lead by example to deliver a diverse workforce.

Philip joined EY with a brief to build a new legal practice. EY has publicly declared targets of 30% women and 10% BME representation in the partnership.  Philip partnered with key internal and external stakeholders to implement recruitment targets of 50% women and 30% BME for the new practice, briefing recruitment agents to deliver against the confirmed targets.  
Philip’s next challenge was to create an inclusive culture. He has done this through actions such as modelling inclusive behaviour in his day job, actively seeking feedback from team members and holding himself and the team accountable using clear scorecard goals. Team members are encouraged to give and receive 360 feedback so they understand what is expected of them. Philip also communicates clear expectations of acceptable behaviours to the team and invited them to create ‘team rules’, enabling collaboration and better working. He actively encourages engagement and provides space for individuals to contribute.

Philip has implemented EY’s flexible working and part-time working programmes within his team, enabling individuals to work when, how and where they wish to improve efficiency and increase engagement. He also encourages the team to take advantage of EY’s mentoring scheme and is available for guidance, with an open-door policy that fosters a working atmosphere based on trust and openness.

By recruiting a diverse team at all levels from day one, Philip has created a strong baseline to maintain team diversity and inclusiveness. There is a clear focus on outputs, counteracting the culture of presenteeism prevalent in the legal sector. Philip also acknowledges and manages different working styles and there is no stigma to working in different ways. This is echoed by feedback from team members and new joiners.

Philip’s plans for the practice are ambitious and he has put in place effective succession planning to ensure development and promotion from within. He has provided a new model of leadership showing there is another way to run a legal practice and doing things differently can be even more effective.