Living My Purpose At MSB, One ESG Project at a time

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has evolved rapidly over the years and is now at the top of nearly every business’ agenda. It’s a must-have asset to add value to a business and gives a competitive advantage over other companies working in the field.

At MSB, ESG is so much more than our HR’s ambition to tick boxes and the firms ‘nice-to-have accessory’ to attract new staff. ESG is, and always has been, the firm’s top priority, which is what naturally attracts both aspiring and established legal professionals to progress their careers here.

Joining as a Paralegal in October 2021, it was refreshing to be part of an organisation which puts all its people – no matter their position – and their ideas at the forefront. From day one, I was quickly encouraged to inject my own passions into the firm and its commitments.

Within the first year of working at MSB, I joined the ESG Committee. The group was established to champion diversity and ensure MSB offers equal opportunities for everyone. It’s here myself, along with all the staff, are given the space to create change based on our own experiences and beliefs. Read more about ESG at MSB, here.

Making MSB dementia-friendly

My first mission was to lead the way in making MSB 100% dementia friendly. As part of my training contract interview, I was given the opportunity to present my mission and the way we would effectively implement it into the firm’s culture. Six months later, I’m proud to say this was successfully accomplished as of October 26th.

Around eight years ago, my family was hit with the devastating news that my granddad had dementia. It was a first experience for us all, so to ensure we could support both my granddad and each other appropriately, we trained as Dementia Friends. Dementia Friends works with people to help transform the way we think and act about dementia – anyone can train to become one and in turn you’re rewarded with the ability to support people suffering with or affected by dementia.

There are around 540,000 carers of people with dementia in England, with around 900,000 people estimated to be living with dementia. It’s estimated that one in three people will care for a person with dementia in their lifetime, half of those are employed, and it’s thought that around 66,000 people have already cut their working hours to care for a family member, and 50,000 have left work altogether.

The benefits of becoming a dementia friendly workplace not only impacts the wellbeing of our employees at MSB, but our overall organisation and our clients. With our status as a 100% dementia friendly business, we have the tools and knowledge to support and understand everyone affected by the condition. It has also been incorporated into our HR structure, with all new starters being tasked with completing the training to ensure all staff are aware of the impact dementia can have on those affected.

Supporting domestic abuse victims through ‘safe days’

My second focus was inspired by a recent initiative launched back in my hometown in Ireland. Earlier this year, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed legislation that entitles victims of domestic abuse (DA) to 10 days paid leave each year. The leave is intended to be used for issues relating to the abuse, including obtaining legal advice, finding alternative accommodation, taking advantage of healthcare, obtaining welfare support and protecting family members – though it’s not exclusively restricted to this, either.

Having a particular interest and focus on DA, I was inspired to implement an initiative that would offer victims the same potentially life-saving support, so I presented the idea to other members of staff..

Bringing the suggestion to the ESG Committee, I was met with enthusiasm from everyone, including Managing Partner, Emma Carey, who jumped at the chance to support the initiative and asked how we could roll it out as soon as possible.

Since the initial conversation in April, we have followed in the footsteps of the Bill and taken steps to implement its ‘Safe Days’ policy. The policy has been so carefully considered and rolled out across the firm for all staff members, with every small detail thought out to ensure our staff have all the tools needed to support them, not only in the workplace, but in their personal lives too.

Safe leave affords employees the opportunity to deal with issues relating to DA, providing them with the option to utilise paid leave when they need time away from work as a consequence of abuse, this covers attending GP appointments, Women’s Aid meetings and/or fleeing the family home. The policy is a ‘day one’ right, meaning no minimum period of service is required to make use of the policy.

It has introduced yet another safety measure to protect MSB staff and manage DA in the workplace, which proves that ESG is not just something the firm does to tick boxes, but instead is in place to offer genuine impact to its people’s lives.

MSB has created an environment where all staff, no matter their experience, job title or ranking in the legal ladder, feel confident to bring ideas to the table and make suggestions for how the firm can incorporate ESG into its initiatives.

As employees, we all feel empowered at work, and have confidence in knowing that our opinions, ideas and passions are valued. There is no denying that by creating this type of culture, it has resulted in a stronger job performance, job satisfaction and commitment to the business company wide.

At MSB, employees’ differences and ambitions are nurtured; the firm adds value to employees, while simultaneously allowing us to add value to MSB; and in turn, it stands for something meaningful.