One of SSE Networks’ (SSEN) strategic priorities is to ‘Make a positive impact on society’. This includes building a diverse and inclusive workforce that truly represents the communities in which their teams live and serve.
It has been proven that inclusive companies have an engaged and happy workforce with reduced levels of turnover, grievance and sickness. More importantly, SSEN wants to be an organisation where people feel safe and accepted, and one that has the right practices and culture in place to help colleagues overcome barriers so everyone can perform at their best.
In 2018 the company established the SSEN Distribution Inclusion and Diversity Group. The purpose was to help promote a culture of inclusivity by identifying key areas of improvement and driving employee-led initiatives to address these issues.
The group members are all employees who are passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. They are from all walks of life, different parts of our business and from all levels in the organisation. Group membership has grown over the past three years. Originally consisting of 10 members, the group now has 26 active members across England and Scotland (where the company has operations) contributing ideas and acting to power change across SSEN Distribution and make a positive impact with their teams of people.
Jenni Stephen, Head of HR for SSEN Distribution said: “Breaking down barriers and having open conversations is vitally important when tackling issues relating to inclusion and equality.”
She continued, “the discussions and work undergone by this group have successfully driven a number of step changes to improve our approach to recruitment and embedment of inclusive practices within the business. Our job adverts use more inclusive language, our apprenticeship recruitment is now skills-based rather than purely academic and this year we achieved a 50/50 female/male split intake of graduates for the first time.”
One of the key outputs from the Inclusion and Diversity Working Group was the launch of the #NoWrongPath recruitment campaign. Initially launched in the same week that UK students received their exam results, the campaign was designed to show the range of diverse opportunities at SSEN to help the company attract and retain a diverse pipeline of talent to drive the business forward and power communities to net zero.
This was done by showcasing our employees’ stories on social media to demonstrate that many have not taken an obvious or ‘traditional’ path to get where they are today within the energy industry.
Inclusion and Diversity Working Group member Megan Dougan was one of the employees who identified a gap in how we recruit and spearheaded the campaign. She said: “Being a member of the I&D group over the last two years has been a really great opportunity and it is something I have always been very passionate about.
“Following the launch of our #NoWrongPath campaign it has been really inspiring to hear and see all the stories that are being shared. There is a wide range of skills, experiences and backgrounds across SSEN and we want to ensure this is celebrated and showcased to potential employees.”