Diversity and inclusion at EDF Energy

Fiona Jackson, Head of Strategic Resourcing, EDF Energy outlines why the company has a very strong commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Fiona Jackson, Head of Strategic Resourcing, EDF EnergyWe at EDF Energy embarked on a journey to embed inclusion into the business in 2009, with an aim to achieve the Diversity Works for London Gold Standard by 2012. This was made public through the company’s sustainability commitments.

Carrying out the Gold Standard assessment against 34 standards ensured the correct measures were put in place to promote equality, diversity and inclusion as well as providing recommendations on where to improve, and we’re very proud to say we achieved Gold Standard in 2012.

But we’ve not stopped there. Building on this momentum with our Senior Team our next step was to roll out an inclusion strategy which outlined the programme of activities to continue the journey.  This inclusion strategy has three main aims:

  1. Create an environment where employees share a sense of belonging, mutual respect, and support from others so they can do their best work.

  2. Lead the way in best practice to be recognised internally and externally as a diverse and inclusive employer

  3. To attract, retain and engage the widest pool of talent

Under these three pillars sit a range of activities with a key principle of implementation being that diversity and inclusion should be woven through other business activities wherever possible, rather than sitting separately as purely an HR activity.

One area we've made great steps forward on is recruitment.  We focus on building a diverse pipeline of talent studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects. We want to access the widest range of all talent and therefore engage with candidates across a wide range of channels. For example, in the graduate area we are getting involved with initiatives such as the Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café Club which allows our recruiters to gain insights into how our processes can be more welcoming for disabled candidates.

Inclusion has become one of four key leadership behaviours, helping us to define the workplace environment and both encourage and reward inclusive behaviours.  To help our leaders achieve a level of competency in this, a workshop for managers has been rolled out which explores how beliefs drive behaviours and provokes discussion around the effects of difference in a team.

We have also set up four Employee Networks – BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), Disability & Carers, Women, and LGBT Supporters (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender).  These are key channels to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion across the company. The networks provide ‘a voice’ (and where necessary, challenge) on issues pertinent to these groups as well as providing practical networking, support and training opportunities.

So what has the impact been?  Here's just a few examples:

  • Our BAME mentoring scheme saw 80% of mentees that applied for the company’s Emerging Talent Scheme being successful

  • An increase in female Nuclear Science & Engineering Graduates from 15% in 2012 to 32% in 2013 as a result of targeted advertising and changes to the recruitment process.

  • An increase in female apprenticeship hires from 6% to 20% (National average is 5%) and a 190% increase in female Applications

  • 32% of graduate engineering intake were female in 2013 (national average of 12%)

  • 82% of EDF Energy’s workforce agrees that diversity is supported by management teams

I’m proud to say the company’s approach to Diversity and Inclusion has been recognised with Race for Opportunity, Personnel Today and ENEI awards as well as the Diversity Works for London Gold Standard accreditation.  The continued focus on a programme of activities to embed diversity and inclusion throughout the company drives employee engagement and promotes EDF Energy to a broader range of talent.

But we’re not taking our foot off the pedal yet.  Looking forward, the company has set an even more ambitious target to achieve the National Equality Standard by 2015, the next stage in EDF Energy’s diversity and inclusion journey.