As demands for equity roil organizations everywhere, diversity and inclusion targets at many law firms have quickly gone from aspirational to business mandates.
Recently, a UK-based energy company chose 12 law firms only after a detailed review of their diversity and inclusion commitments. One global beverage company automatically offered a place on its panel of external lawyers to firms that met its stringent diversity requirements. A Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company renewed its legal panel earlier this year to include 22 law firms, linking billable time to meeting diversity and inclusion objectives.
D&I Is Law Firm Differentiator
It’s not surprising that market-wide interest is high in Fulcrum Snap HCM, a software solution specially designed to help law firms conduct workforce tracking and reporting against diversity and inclusion benchmarks. Built on SAP SuccessFactors solutions, the tool can help firms prove compliance with their own diversity and inclusion KPIs, as well as external benchmarks set by clients.
“There’s a huge amount of interest in HR solutions focused on diversity and inclusion as a differentiator,” said Martin Telfer, senior vice president and EMEA chief at Fulcrum Global Technologies. “Legal expertise from bright partners and solid practices are table stakes. What we are seeing now is that having the data that proves your diversity and inclusion commitment will increase how favorably prospective clients and employees view your firm.”
Law Firms Modernize on Cloud Platform
Fulcrum Snap HCM is part of a suite of software solutions that Fulcrum Global Technologies, an SAP partner, has developed to help firms manage what they call “the business of law.” They’ve developed offerings on the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution that includes time capture and recording, billing and invoicing, pricing, and risk management.
“We’ve taken advantage of the SAP SuccessFactors cloud-based platform core by designing, pre-configuring, and enhancing it for law firms,” said Telfer. “Similar to what we did on SAP S/4HANA with Snap for finance, we built in law firm best practices and changed the nomenclature for terms that reflect the industry to make employees feel comfortable. Law firms can collect and report on the diversity and inclusion data they want and are allowed to. The ideal time to collect this data is during recruitment and onboarding.”
Workforce Equity Is Good for Business
Law firms In the UK are under intense industry pressure to meet diversity and inclusion requirements, like gender pay equity. Already installed at two large, global, UK-based law firms, Fulcrum Snap HCM is poised to infuse the entire legal industry with far more equity around diversity and inclusion. Using the tool, law firms can capture employee data such as gender, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+ identification.
“Law firms need to demonstrate to clients that they have the appropriate ratio of diversity in their workforce – meaning the partners, associates, and other lawyers who will deliver services. Otherwise, they may not be selected to do the work,” said Telfer. “Some law panel appointments are worth tens of millions a year. Law firms don’t want to lose those opportunities because of diversity and inclusion parameters.”
Managing the Employee Experience
Of course, law firms serious about modernization have to attract employees who reflect the organization’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion. That’s where ongoing pulse surveys come in, along with an integrated human experience management (HXM) strategy.
“To create a workplace where your diverse workforce feels accepted and acknowledged, you have to look at the feedback from clients and employees,” said Telfer. “One of our customers is rolling out every module in the Fulcrum Snap/SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management Suite, and they were super-excited about our approach to diversity and inclusion.”
Lead with Diversity and Inclusion
It’s not unusual for law firms to begin their next phase of cloud-based digital transformation with HXM that features diversity and inclusion modules.
“Having diversity and inclusion capabilities baked into HXM systems that can capture data across the organization, including finance, provides law firms with a clear view of progress in meeting measurable industry standards,” said Telfer. “In addressing diversity and inclusion requirements, they are also meeting business demands.”
Innovating for Future Demands
While Telfer acknowledged how quickly his team of engineers and other experts developed Fulcrum Snap HCM, he expected to keep innovating as the legal industry evolved. Meantime, law firms worldwide are distinguishing themselves as the counsel of choice by meeting diversity and inclusion benchmarks that are now standard for the modern business of law.
Follow me: @smgaler
This story originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.