18th June 2020

A message from Denise Keating, CEO of enei

Some events cause everything to change. The death of George Floyd, and the mobilisation against racism that has taken place around the
world, is one of these events. These events are the ones that mean even the most long planned events and campaigns must be put on hold.

When it comes to workplace D&I, that can be a problem. June is Pride Month, but we also have an incredible movement taking place around race, which employers can’t ignore. They may not have the resources to deliver the level of activity that both deserve so a considered response is called in terms of approach to both.

One area where we can focus our attention is the enei Awards; its shortlist has just been published and one thing that stood out for me and the rest of the judging panel was both the number and the quality of employee network group entries.

We’ve read through so many great examples of employees coming together and volunteering to create change in their organisations. They’re going above and beyond their job role, collaborating across teams, departments, organisations and sectors and influencing all levels of the organisation. We’ve seen networks organising conferences, reaching out to other employers, rewriting company policies and more.

Now is the time to utilise this resource, if you aren’t already. They’re a group of motivated employees who want to make a difference. They will be able to sympathise with your workload and want to help, especially when it’s the causes they’re passionate about.

D&I is an area of the business we are tempted to control tightly. If we get it wrong, the implications are huge; there are legal impacts, employee morale impacts and publicity impacts. There are many times when doing nothing is seen as safer than doing something. Indeed, the whole point of many D&I teams is to set a centrally driven, board approved strategy and plan of activity instead of allowing different parts of the business to do their own things

Against this backdrop, the fear of employee networks going rogue is understandable. But the evidence we’ve seen suggests this fear is misplaced. The examples we’ve seen are committed to improving their workplaces for everyone, not just the groups they represent; network leaders are putting in their own time to help their employer succeed.

Let’s use our employee’s passion to drive forward the agenda. We’ve reached a point in time where people we’ve never engaged before are listening to what we’re saying about D&I, and getting excited about it. So let’s unleash the most effective asset a D&I practitioner has – our colleagues.

 

Denise Keating

CEO of enei