Posted on: 29/01/2024
SmartestEnergy is on a mission to better understand our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace. In this blog, we asked Claudia McIntosh, D&I Manager, to share her thoughts on our current progress as an organisation and the steps we are taking to continue moving forwards in the right direction.
What does DE&I mean to you?
DE&I for me means feeling seen, being understood, knowing that you are listened to, and having the opportunity to make progress. It may sound a little cliché, but I like to think of DE&I as a gathering, an event, or a celebration. Diversity is who you consider inviting, this is where you have the chance to represent a wide variety of different people. Inclusion is what you do to ensure that each guest has a great time and feels a sense of belonging. Equity is considering your guests needs; this includes how they get to the party, and the access that they have to the party’s entertainment. When we apply this analogy to the workplace, it becomes clear that you cannot have one without the other and in order for your party to be a success, all aspects must be considered thoughtfully, and taken seriously.
What progress has been made so far at SmartestEnergy?
One of the greatest things I am delighted to share is the launch of our first DE&I employee-focused assessment last year to allow our employees to share their experiences and have their diverse perspectives heard. This gave us the capacity to see our inclusion and equity gaps with clarity and has allowed us to assess how satisfied our people are on a granular level.
We have also developed a number of community groups, welcoming employees across the company to engage in and help drive our EDI journey. Our Steering Groups are active in their conversations and deliberate in their actions, amplifying diverse perspectives and voices. Some of these groups include the Diverse Race & Cultures Group, Women in Energy, Diverse Sexualities & Genders and the Neurodiversity & Disability Group, just to name a few, and the number of groups is constantly growing!
On the back of these, we have also hosted in-person and virtual workshops and events to signify key topics and dates, including Black History Month, World Menopause Day and Disability Pride Month. Everything we do is available to all our employees, creating awareness of DE&I topics and providing access to training, resources, and most importantly personal views and insight.
We recognise that in order to inspire meaningful, long-lasting change, we must continue to learn and listen to our greatest assets: our people.
To continue to give our employees the opportunity to share their diverse perspectives, we will be implementing our DE&I employee-focused assessment annually. By continuing to capture robust data from our employees on a yearly basis moving forward, we commit to a culture that is dedicated to learning and responding equitably to the needs of the people we work with.
We also recognise that our reporting plays a significant role, so we will be extending beyond our current annual gender pay reporting to diverse pay reporting, which will enable us to better understand the make-up of our firm across all levels, monitor progress, identify where more support is needed, and ultimately drive positive change.
We want to ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to a seat at the table and to thrive in the workplace irrespective of their protected characteristics or personal identifiers, and the commitments we have made are a step forwards in taking the targeted and purposeful action to see the change that we aspire to achieve.
How can people support the DE&I journey?
I like to use the phrase 'getting comfortable with being uncomfortable' as a way of highlighting the impact of inclusion and how having conversations can be a supportive and protective measure for everyone in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not something that is done 'to you', it is more about the company-wide efforts that help us to learn about each other and respect each other, taking into account what enables us to be the best version of ourselves every day.
The more we communicate, share best practices and encourage curiosity, by providing safe spaces for conversation, learning and sharing to occur, the closer we will be to understanding our shared challenges and to removing the barriers that exist in the workplace.
Learn more in our latest annual report as we share more about our DE&I mission, our community groups, our Gender Pay Gap report and social outreach through our Giving Something Back initiative.