In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, there was a risk of employee distraction, distrust, and uncertainty about the company’s stance or level of involvement in addressing racial injustice in our country.
In response to the George Floyd death, CEO Curt Morgan spoke candidly and emotionally during a regularly scheduled, all-employee livestream update about the unfortunate persistence of racial bias. He noted that many coworkers have experienced unfair treatment, inequality, and fear at times in their lives.
In the several weeks following those remarks, Vistra initiated listening sessions with employees, where members of the leadership team came together in small groups to listen to employees’ thoughts and experiences on race, both outside and within the workplace. The company completed 23 listening sessions in just over a month period, each lasting 90 minutes, and CEO Morgan attended every session. The feedback received during these sessions helped Vistra identify pockets of issues it must address to unlock the full potential of its employees and the company. As a result, Vistra has new diversity and inclusion initiatives in flight that it will roll out in the weeks and months ahead.
Vistra took the comments from the listening sessions and is developing a broad set of Diversity and Inclusion actions, including a Diversity and Inclusion Policy, expanded ERGs, training, improvements for internal recruiting and promotions, mentoring, and a newly formed Diversity Council.
As much as I want to believe that America has evolved from a diversity and inclusion standpoint, too many recent events in our society and listening sessions with my own employees tell me otherwise. The stories our employees shared about the challenges they continue to face, most outside of the office but some within our own walls, simply because of the color of their skin were sobering. I’m compelled to sign the CEO Action for Inclusion pledge because I truly believe that as CEOs of major corporations, we must lay the plans and ensure the actions are taken on behalf of diversity and inclusion, and we must be held accountable for the results of those actions both inside our companies and in our communities. We cannot delegate on this critical matter; we must be the ones to lead, and the time is now.