Electricity North West believes that having diverse leaders who are representative of their communities is key to developing their company culture and pushing inclusivity.
In 2018, the executive leadership team committed to achieving 30% female representation in leadership roles by March 2021 and implemented several initiatives to improve the company’s gender mix.
ENW introduced a talent programme focused on providing skills like building resilience, confidence and having courageous conversations, supporting women in a male-dominated industry. Each colleague on the programme is coached by a member of the senior leadership team to support individual development needs.
The programme brought great results with four women being promoted into senior positions and one appointed to the executive leadership team. This investment in leadership development resulted in an increase of female representation in the leadership team to 32%, compared to 25% for the rest of the business.
The company also encourages women into engineering roles at entry levels by developing partnerships within the local community to promote the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to provide a pipeline of diverse future talent. As a result 21% of the 19 successful high-level apprentices recruited in September 2020 were women and a further 28% were from an ethnic minority background.
At grass roots level the company is committed to inspiring the next generation of colleagues through its education programme. The Bright Sparks programme aims to develop school children's understanding of electricity, from building electrical circuits, saving electricity and using electricity safely inspiring interest in STEM subjects at primary school level.
HR Director Rachael Parr was promoted to the executive leadership team after being part of the company’s first talent programme. She said: “Diversity brings strength to the company in a number of ways. Firstly, cognitive diversity from colleagues from different backgrounds provides for better problem solving and innovation. Secondly, being representative of the communities we serve means that we are best placed to provide excellent customer service. Creating an environment where colleagues feel that they belong results in a happier workforce who are best placed to perform and to reach their full potential. I really don’t struggle to share and be proud of the value that diversity and inclusion brings!”
“Being part of the talent programme gave me the time to reflect and explore my goals. Having a coach has been brilliant. Working with my coach helped me get much needed perspective on issues… The company also supports the need for flexibility which enables me to balance my responsibilities at work with juggling childcare as a single parent.”