Well at BKL: Autumn 2021 update

It’s been another exciting and inspiring period for inclusion, wellbeing and sustainability at BKL. Here’s an insight into some of what we’ve done.

Including new colleagues

BKL has been on a mission to develop its approach to recruitment and (to use the corporate term) onboarding. We want potential future colleagues feel part of our culture as early as possible.

Here’s a glimpse of how we do this:

  • Managers and the wider team build relationships with candidates, ideally before but certainly during and after interview
  • Our new colleague is invited to all social events planned, including those before the start date
  • Updates and training opportunities are shared before joining
  • Our new colleague spends most of the early days with their manager and immediate team building trust and clarity of expectations around working within the team and with clients
  • A buddy provides an additional source of support
  • All new people are brought together for half a day (typically, each quarter) to hear directly from our leadership team about strategy, inclusion, wellbeing and sustainability. They are also treated to lunch and a mindfulness activity or similar.

I say ‘typically’ because this year’s office working restrictions have been a barrier to that. Instead, in September we safely held an induction morning for everyone who had joined us since January 2021. Happily this coincided with National Inclusion Week.

Feedback and open conversations

Openness and transparency are important to us.  This year we took the brave step of introducing onymous (non-anonymous) 360-degree insight for our partners in association with t-three and it was a great success.

  • Each of our partners nominated nine colleagues from a range of roles, seniority and background
  • Using t-three’s Truth Teller tool, nominees picked positive and constructive words about each individual and could add comments too
  • Our partners then benefitted from one-to-one debriefs from t-three consultants and embarked upon face-to-face conversations with their nominees to understand the feedback

The benefits have been significant:

  • Greater self-awareness and personal growth
  • Misunderstandings cleared up
  • More routine and immediate discussion about both positive and potentially challenging situations

This investment in our people and culture has been so positive that we’ve since extended it to all our leaders, from supervisors to directors.

In it together (restrictions permitting)

Inclusion means so much more when we get together in person. COVID-19 working restrictions have made this a challenge.

We took advantage of one window of opportunity in October, celebrating our return to full office capacity with our ‘Back to Ballards Bash’. A great evening dedicated to three of our values: Think big, In it together and Enjoy it.

We also got together in recent months for:

  • A multicultural lunch – our first since 2019. Dishes prepared by our people included Bulgarian, South African and Italian. We raised money for Save The Children
  • Pumpkin carving and cake sale – for Halloween (as you probably guessed!). We raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support
  • A local meal in November to celebrate Diwali

Inclusion and leadership

As part of BKL’s commitment to learn more about and develop inclusive leadership skills, we’ve been working with Charlotte Sweeney Associates.

In October, our Managing Partner Lee Brook and I were proud to complete Charlotte Sweeney Associates’ first ever Diversity and Inclusion Professional Leadership Programme.

We started back in the spring with the first of two online modules that brought together cohorts from three different continents. We covered a wide range of stimulating topics from great speakers and had some amazing and challenging practical experiences too.

We’re looking forward to putting everything we’ve learned into action.

Menopause awareness

Among BKL’s inclusion firsts in 2021 was marking Menopause Awareness Day (18 October). Bev Thorogood of Floresco Training and Coaching ran a webinar and Q&A for the whole firm.

By sharing her personal expertise and plenty of facts, Bev demystified the menopause and made it less scary. It was clear that this affects everyone, not just women of a certain age.

We learned how important it is for anyone in a management or leadership role to understand how they can support people who may be struggling. Breaking the taboo of menopause in the workplace is everybody’s business.

Inclusive Employers Standard

As part of our dedication to being a business that grows through its inclusion and diversity, in November we completed a new submission for the Inclusive Employers Standard (IES).

Our IES submission contained hundreds of snapshots, documents and analyses showing proof of progress towards our strategic objectives.

We’ve written more about the IES here.

While we wait to find out which level of accreditation we’ll achieve, our work continues apace – so look out for more updates in 2022!

Our Summer 2021 update



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

Jon Wedge

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.


Elana joined us in 2017 as an ACA trainee, after graduating from Durham University where she had studied languages. She is now a manager in our assurance team.


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