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How to maintain an inclusive culture from different sides of the world

Written on May 1, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern

With employees from Albania, America, China, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom, international tax, accounting and consulting firm Dyke Yaxley is reaping the benefits of diversity.

Because their United States and the United Kingdom offices are connected by a common language, one might assume they have similar cultures as well. However, there are subtle differences between the two, according to Dyke Yaxley’s managing partner, Robert Whittall, CPA, ACA, MAcc.

“In the United Kingdom and in the United states, there are certainly different working norms,” Whittall said. “But we are trying to structure the firm from a benefits perspective.”

For example, U.K. and U.S. companies typically enjoy different benefits when it comes to holiday time and PTO. U.K. based companies start with 25 days off a year while in the U.S., they work their way up to that over a period of 10 years.

“We’re trying to take what I believe are the best aspects to working for a company from both jurisdictions and combine them together to give the employees and everybody who's working in the group, the best experience they can have,” Whittall said.

He said it’s important to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels safe to share ideas. To maintain this, Whittall recommends meeting regularly with the entire staff to discuss everything going on within the firm. Even though Dyke Yaxley is separated by continents and time zones, they’re still able to coordinate meetings each week through video call methods such as Zoom.

But upholding this kind of environment takes more than a weekly meeting, it ultimately revolves around the people within it.

“I think the key to creating an inclusive culture is being open-minded and willing to learn about different cultures,” said Erika Rice, tax associate from Japan. “When I first joined Dyke Yaxley this summer, everyone asked me about Japan and seemed very keen to understand it.”

According to Whittall, maintaining this type of culture begins at the top. When the people in power lead by example, they can begin to develop an environment that is safe and inclusive.

“It’s important for leadership to embrace and then embody the desire to establish a culture of diversity and inclusion,” said Martin Dulellari, tax associate.

Dyke Yaxley isn’t only focused on the level of diversity amongst their employees, but with their clients as well. According to Whittall, having a diverse firm can lead to more diverse clients.

“Most of the things that our clients are dealing with or having to worry about, we’ve actually got people on staff who have had to physically deal with that as well,” said Whittall. “Thus, gives us a lot more credibility.”

All in all, a major priority for Whittall is ensuring everyone has the best experience possible.

“I have the privilege and responsibility of trying to develop a firm that gives the best service for our clients,” Whittall said. “And at the same time develops and gives a great experience for all the staff that work for us.”