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New Strategic Plans Guide Kutak Rock’s DEI, Well-Being Efforts

News - Inclusiveness and Diversity | October 16, 2023

Kutak Rock recently completed and launched its latest in a series of three-year, consecutive diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement strategic plans. New this year, the firm also created a comprehensive three-year well-being plan to complement its DEI Strategic Plan. Both are based on industry best practices and an anonymous, firmwide survey with over 85% participation from stakeholders, which include both attorneys and staff.

Survey. In July 2022 the firm sought to measure organizational DEI and well-being. Because no such survey for the legal industry existed at that time, Kutak Rock partnered with professor and psychologist Dr. Andrew Smith of Cardiff University in Wales. Dr. Smith was able to adapt previous organizational well-being research surveys to fit large, legal entities in the United States.

That fall, the findings of the survey were presented to members of Kutak Rock, in addition to suggested next steps.

2023-2026 DEI Strategic Plan. Over the following months, the firm’s National Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee (NIDC) and several subcommittees further reviewed Dr. Smith’s findings. The result was a plan with four main areas:

  • Inclusiveness and engagement
  • Compositional diversity
  • Equity and equal opportunity
  • Building strong teams and connections across the firm

In total, the plan includes 27 three-year goals with 117 measurable tactics for 2023-2024. Progress will be reviewed every quarter by the NIDC, whose co-chairs will then report to the firm’s Executive Committee and Office of the Chair.

Well-Being Strategic Plan. Similarly, the firm’s Well-Being Initiative Group (W-BIG) and subcommittees developed a three-year plan with three focus areas:

  • Develop satisfying work relationships and reimagine connection and belonging (especially in a hybrid work environment)
  • Support psychological capital/HERO (Hope, self-Efficacy, Resilience, Optimism)
  • Support firm members in finding healthy work-life balance/boundaries/blend

This plan was also created based on the results of the firm’s 2022 firmwide survey, which identified predictors of well-being, negative well-being, the firm’s strengths and areas needing improvement. The plan includes nine three-year goals with supporting tactics. The work largely will be carried out by the W-BIG and members of the Inclusive Engagement Department, and will include the development of training modules, educational programming, checklists, toolkits, systems, shared vocabulary, and best firm practices to support specific aspects of well-being.