Alicia Alina (40) is the Chief People Officer for leading law firm Slater & Gordon. Although she has only been in her position for ten months she has certainly made her mark.
One of her visions, initiatives and big changes for the business is remote working. Escalated by Covid-19, this is something that she has advised will continue long after the pandemic.
Alicia’s vision has been backed by a very forward thinking board who allows her to express her ideas and run with them. The trial of remote working has been immensely successful and in a recent engagement survey with staff most of them asked for remote working to be made permanent. On listening to their staff this is what they have done.
One area this will help with is diversity, especially disability. Alicia informed me “There is no sense of inequality and it treats everyone the same. It allows them to make decisions that is right for them”.
Come September when the lease ends on their London offices they will not be renewing. Instead they will focus their energy on looking for a more dynamic space for their employees.
With less individuals in the office on a day to day basis, it will allow the organisation to have a more diverse friendly environment, one where there is a purpose for going to the office.
Once there the cubicles will allow for individuals with diverse needs to have the correct equipment they really need. Alicia advised they are going for more of a google office environment and it will allow individuals to be treated as adults. Managers will set employees daily KPIs and as long as these are met, the company are happy for them to continue to set their hours and work from home.
On interviewing Alicia the feeling of her support of Open University students really shone through. She advised she felt OU students possessed the ability to work on initiative and ones own merit. We discussed how employees these days are looking for different skill sets not just knowledge and this must be taught at uni to set students up for a more realistic future.
On asking Alicia if the recent articles surrounding the sale of their Manchester office is also true she informed me “it was pretty inaccurate”. She went on to advise that they have put two floors up for lease of their seven story building.
It seems the S & G employees have been having some remote fun as well with live events such as S & G’s got talent. Some of their social events have attracted over 1000 staff, showing that their singing can’t be that bad!
Alicia went on to recommend that other companies should learn from this current pandemic that has forced diversity in a profession which is still struggling with the idea.
Written By: Victoria-Jayne Scholes