Diversity and Inclusion

Following on from our first ever Lean in Brunch, we want to continue the conversation on diversity & inclusion in our industry.
The Electrical and Energy industry is male-dominated and we are seeing more and more companies and individuals recognising the benefits of a diverse workforce. We will explore how we increase diversity & inclusion, the importance of a mixed team, empowering women and attracting a diverse workforce.

Diversity and Inclusion within the Electrical Industry

First off let's talk about the difference between diversity & inclusion…you might think that they are interchangable but think again. Diversity is about the make-up of your organisation, whilst inclusion is about how well you integrate different groups of people into your environment.

The first place to start when trying to increase diversity & inclusion is the executive team - the make up of the top level is a good indicator of the workforce and says a lot about your culture. Its is essential to have a diverse top management team, which includes gender diversity, ethnic diversity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic diversity and neurodiversity.

The next place to look at is from an inclusion point of view. Do people from all backgrounds feel included? This is the key to maintaining workplace diversity. For example, do you offer flexible working hours for parents? Are your sites wheelchair accessible? Do you have multiple ways that employees can feedback?

Other things to look at are; providing safe spaces for employees, focus on inclusive recruitment strategies and connect with employees. As an industry we have a male-dominated, middle aged workforce, so attracting more women and multigenerations is cruical to increasing diversity.

Don't be afraid to be open and transparent, do you have open dialogue about gender pay inequality for example?

The importance of a diverse & inclusive workforce

Not only is a diverse & inclusive workforce the right thing to do, it can also benefit businesses in many different ways:

  • Promotes a healthy work environment; by having a culture that is inclusive you create a sense of belonging and purpose for all employees, regardless of background.
  • Increases employee engagement & productivity; when people feel comfortable, valued and listened too they are more likely to perform better.
  • Leads to more creativity & innovation; when you celebrate peoples differences and encourage them to voice their own perspectives, you are more likely to get unique and new ideas.

Empowering women within the Electrical Industry

The gender gap at companies may be getting smaller but there is still a long way to go in our industry. According to PwC's Golbal Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, men in the workplace are more empowered than women. Empowerment in the workplace can be broken down in to 4 areas; autonomy, performance / job impact, meaning and beonging and confidence / compentence. Some of the biggest points of difference betwenn men and women in the survey are; being fairly compensated, chossing when, where and how to do one's work, finding your job fulfilling and having your viewpoint considered when management decisions are made.

The good news is there are some easy ways to make women feel more empowered at work:

  • Listen and measure; you need a data driven approach. Measure things like performance ratings, promotions, number of women. As well as this proactively survey employees so you can get an idea of the biggest issues, biggest unmet needs and biggest potential areas of improvement.
  • Make you pay fair; the key word here is fair. Women aren't demanding to make more money than their male counterparts, just be equal to them. This is of course can be a challenge but if you get it right you can promote the fact that you are an employer that pays fairly, dependant on talent, not gender.
  • Be flexible; give all your employees greater say over their time and empower them to make their own decisions about how and where they get their work done. The shift to hybrid and remote work will allow you reset your policies to put women and men on an equal footing.
  • Train your managers; the right training can help your leaders understand any unconscious bias that may affect their people and business decisions

Helpful tips on how to attract a more diverse workforce

We may not realise but we tend to surround ourselves with people similar to us, this is also true when recruiting. Diversity recruiting is the practice of hiring candidates using a process that is free from biases for or against any individual or group of candidates. It is still merit-based recruitment and still aims to find the best possible candidate, but it’s structured to give all applicants, regardless of background, an equal opportunity.

It's important to know your goals and how you measure success. Sit down and identify what it is you want to acheive. Once you know this you can review your job adverts and make any changes so that you appeal to a broader range of candidates.
Think about using different sources to find new candidates, by using different sources, you'll attract different candidates.
Look at your current pool of diverse employees and encourage them to share their connections, you could start an official referral program.

Build your brand for potential employees to showcase what your currently doing on diversity & inclusion. Diverse candidates will seek out companies who truly value those ideals.

Review your company policies, you can claim to be diverse but unless your policies reflect this it doesn't mean anything.
When it comes to reviewing applicants you can do several things to ensure a non bias view; use blind CV's where all personal information is blanked out. You could even take this into the interview process by using text based techniques.
You may need to rethink the key fators your looking for - question what traits are important and why, is this based on your own bias? When you get to your shortlist check if there is a diverse range of candidates.