Powering Strong Communities

How Utilities Can Boost Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Center for Energy Workforce Development, in collaboration with partner trade associations, outlined how the energy sector can create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces in its DE&I Roadmap for Industry Change.

The Problem

71% of participants in CEWD’s DE&I focused listening sessions described the industry as “not very diverse” – and 92% would like to see more industry initiatives to address diversity in the sector.

Proposed Solutions

In addition to suggested actions at the industry level, the roadmap outlines steps individual utilities can take to gain meaningful change in their workforce. Here are some of the suggested actions.

Light blue location markerCreate Structure for DEI Progress

  • Develop a DEI mission statement and strategy
  • Connect company strategy and DEI goals (with metrics)
  • Allocate resources to DEI work
  • Position DEI leader where they can have impact

Light cyan location markerSupport Leadership Advocacy for DEI

  • Executives consistently engage on diversity and inclusion matters
  • Assign executive sponsor to Employee Resource Groups
  • Have a leadership role focused on DEI
  • Link DEI goals to manager performance reviews/bonus programs
  • Review succession planning process for biases
  • Evaluate leadership diversity annually

Medium blue location markerDevelop a Diverse Talent Pool

  • Partner with organizations that serve diverse communities of people
  • Dedicate charitable resources to philanthropies that have a DEI impact
  • Host open houses for mid-career professionals to recruit management talent
  • Develop training centers near systemically marginalized communities

Gray blue location markerIncrease Diversity of Applicants

  • Support people from systemically marginalized communities into energy careers through pre-employment training, tutoring, and mentoring
  • Evaluate whether pre-employment testing includes biases
  • Examine minimum competency requirements, focusing on capabilities and skills over prior industry experience
  • Remove biased terminology from job postings
  • Include representation of diverse employees at hiring fairs and on interview panels
  • Evaluate hiring history
  • Create referral programs that encourage outreach to systemically marginalized communities

Medium blue location markerCreate Inclusive Workforce Cultures

  • Develop Employee Resource Groups and "buddy" programs for diverse entrants/systematically marginalized employees
  • Ensure work environments demonstrate consideration for all employees, such as with proper restroom facilities and appropriate uniforms and equipment.
  • Address concepts of psychological safety along with physical safety
  • Encourage "stay" conversations with employees

Dark blue location markerRetain Diverse Talent

  • Review if policies and practices are equitable
  • Identify and remove barriers that can perpetuate inequity, such as experience requirements and access to training
  • Develop a mentorship program
  • Enhance transparency in the workplace
  • Evaluate the experiences of diverse communities of people by position and engagement level within the utility
  • Hold people accountable to the same standards

Dark blue location markerExpand Diversity in the C-suite

  • Revamp succession planning process
  • Create executive mentoring and sponsorship programs that match systemically marginalized talent with existing leaders
  • Create a structure for leadership development programs that support self-nominations
  • Expand search beyond utilities, rely on skills and competency-based hiring

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