World IP Day 2023: Murgitroyd’s journey towards a more diverse and equitable working environment
In 2020, Murgitroyd launched Impact, an ambitious internal initiative focused on bringing meaningful change to the areas of diversity and inclusiveness, the environment, community engagement, and charitable giving.
Dr Beth Marshall, the head of Impact, sheds light on why this programme is essential for a modern business like Murgitroyd as well as how it aims to shape the larger IP industry.
What is Murgitroyd’s Impact team, and why is this an important programme for the company to focus on?
Our Impact team was formed to bring together our work on community outreach, charitable giving, the environment, and ED&I under one umbrella. The result of this is that each of the groups, while still maintaining individual character and working independently, also have a greater opportunity to work together on larger inter- and intra-group projects within the business. We can now have multi-year project themes (most recently racial awareness, and currently neurodiversity) while still carrying on separate smaller projects around other issues that are important to colleagues in the business. Each Impact group is entirely colleague-led and formed from volunteers across the business – who better to take action to enhance the culture and working environment of the company than those immersed in it every day, in the incredibly diverse communities and cultures we are based in.
Increasingly we see that the issues Impact works on are vital to our clients, and a deciding factor with colleagues and recruits in determining where they want to work. It is essential that we do more than just say that these areas are important to us – we have to be able to prove that through our actions, and that is what Impact drives forward.
Why are the themes of World IP Day 2023 – ‘Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity’ – important to Murgitroyd?
Women are significantly underrepresented as inventors, as reports from various intellectual property offices continue to show. While the reasons for this are complex, as a firm we can help tackle aspects such as demonstrating to girls and women that they have a place in STEM where they belong, and more generally, raising the profile of intellectual property protection in all its various forms.
We all have a role to play in supporting women in the workplace, and at Murgitroyd, this has taken the form of, for example, revising our maternity and paternity policies, offering flexible working, and introducing a menopause policy. We recently published our first gender pay gap report which will further help us in identifying where we need to do more to achieve balance in pay and in representation.
Could you explain why representation is key to accelerating innovation and creativity?
Diverse representation brings a range of experiences, backgrounds, thought processes, and approaches to challenges. It is very difficult to innovate or work creatively if everybody thinks in the same way and has the same biases going unchallenged. Representation and diversity helps to counter the risk of stale thinking and increases the drive for change and improvement.
What initiatives has Murgitroyd launched as part of its Impact program to drive more diversity within the IP industry?
Murgitroyd regularly takes the opportunity to get out into
schools and universities in local areas around our offices to raise
awareness of careers in the IP industry and the routes that can lead to
them. While we take a general approach, it is clear from many reports
across various STEM industries and Institutions that the drop off in
STEM diversity begins at school level, and early interventions can have a
positive effect in tackling this.
We have also launched a multi-year neurodiversity education and awareness program within Murgitroyd, across all of the four Impact teams. We know we have many colleagues – diagnosed and undiagnosed, disclosed and undisclosed – who are neurodiverse and we aim to make the working environment within Murgitroyd welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable for each of them. A large part of this is equipping our staff with the understanding and confidence to discuss neurodiversity and support our colleagues appropriately.
A further part of this project is to again, equip colleagues involved in recruitment with the tools they may need in order to offer neurodiverse candidates suitable adjustments at each stage of the process, so that each candidate’s strengths have the chance to shine through – which is what we are really interested in!
In the full awareness that we aren’t experts in neurodiversity, we have engaged some fantastic consultants to support us and our colleagues with e.g. more targeted training and coaching sessions for line managers, and workplace assessments and advice on adjustments for ND colleagues who have indicated this would be helpful to them. It is important to us to follow the philosophy of “nothing about us without us” – accordingly, the consultants themselves include a majority of ND individuals, and we actively seek input from our ND colleagues on what would make the workplace better for them.
What goals does the Impact team have for the upcoming years?
Our current ED&I priority is the neurodiversity program which will continue through 2024, and will interweave with a number of other projects around e.g. gender and wellbeing.
We are continuing to get out into our local communities and have supported colleagues in outreach sessions, volunteering, and environmental activities. Our colleagues are also incredibly active fundraisers in and out of work, and our charitable giving team will continue to support and recognise the fantastic achievements that result.
Finally, our environment team continue to do great work in both raising awareness of environmental issues and continuing our journey towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
Find out more
Every year on April 26, we join intellectual property (IP) organizations from across the globe to celebrate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day . This year’s theme is “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity.
Find out more about Murgitroyd’s ED&I and ESG initiatives.