Strategic Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
FirstEnergy recognized the benefits of having a diverse workforce and recommitted our efforts by forming an executive-level steering committee, reporting to the CEO, to focus our efforts.
In November 2016, FirstEnergy formed the Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council, representing leaders from Human Resources, Communications, Legal, IT and other major business units.
The D&I Council developed a Business Imperative and Aspirations statement and shared it with employees in companywide meetings, training sessions, newsletters and the company’s portal. The statement noted, “Attracting, retaining and developing a diverse qualified workforce is vital for FirstEnergy to compete and succeed in today’s highly competitive job market...Diversity and inclusion drive innovation and business strategy, which makes FirstEnergy stronger and more successful by inspiring diverse and inclusive thinking and ideas.”
Our Aspirations focus on these goals:
- Sustain a high-performing team at FirstEnergy and a culture where we respect differences; encourage teamwork; attract, retain and develop diverse talent; and create an environment where employees feel valued, motivated and empowered to do their best every day.
- Build a workforce that better reflects the demographics of the workforce in the geographic regions we serve.
- Support the community through supplier diversity, grants and STEM-focused educational improvements
The D&I Council conducted, in January 2017, an opinion poll to establish a baseline of employees’ views on the issue. The poll found that about 76 percent of employees who responded agreed or strongly agreed that “Diversity and inclusion are important to the future success of FirstEnergy.” Plans are underway for a second employee survey to be conducted in 2017.
FirstEnergy hired, in 2016, an experienced professional to develop and track diversity and inclusion initiatives company wide: Diversity & Inclusion Lead Deborale Richardson-Phillips, Ph.D., PHR (Professional in Human Resources), who brought some 15 years’ experience in the D&I field. Working with the council, Deborale spearheads efforts that include developing company wide training sessions, establishing guidelines for Employee Business Resource Groups and supporting supplier diversity.