Town-hall style employee discussions are behind Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE’s) decision to launch a new diversity and inclusion action plan, the developer’s global head of diversity and inclusion says.
The firm has set gender equality targets pledging to increase female representation in the workforce and in executive management to 25% by 2025 – up from 19% and 12% in Siemens Gamesa's 2019 financial year.
SGRE’s newly appointed global head of diversity and inclusion Marta Jimeno spoke to Windpower Monthly on how she will be supported by the newly formed diversity and inclusion advisory board.
Why now for the big push in diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion have been on our agenda from the beginning, and we have made great strides in implementing several new policies and processes in recent years. Our new smart-working policy and digital disconnection policy were very helpful in dealing with the Covid pandemic last year - we were well prepared for the crisis in that respect.
But we also admit that it wasn't enough. Over the past two years, we've seen a big push out of our organisation. In almost every town hall meeting, our management has received questions from employees about diversity and inclusion. That certainly contributed to the decision to do more.
Siemens Gamesa has made a big commitment, but is the industry more widely doing enough?
As a company – just like the rest of the renewable energy industry – we have to admit that we lag behind when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
While diversity for us goes beyond gender, our and the industry's gender equality numbers are a good indicator: according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), women make up 21% of the global wind energy workforce and 65% of them perceive gender-related barriers in the industry.
The industry is growing faster than ever globally, creating more and more jobs throughout its supply chain that require a variety of skills and experience. Therefore, we all need to do more to ensure that our talent recruitment and hiring practices reflect the industry's role in driving sustainable and inclusive growth around the world.
This is one of the burning issues of our time, but what are the benefits and why is it so important?
Well, first, of course, there are benefits to our people, in ensuring equality of opportunity and experience.
Beyond that, we believe that diversity of thought, a broad geographic balance to ensure a fair distribution of nationalities, a diverse workforce with an even gender distribution, and a significant proportion of women in leadership positions makes us more innovative and creative and helps us better serve our customers and communities – a real driver of our performance.
It also makes us more successful economically in the long-term and enables us to ensure the cultural richness and cohesion that different mentalities bring to the company.
Can you give specific examples of how this will be implemented?
We plan to promote a diverse workforce with equal opportunity by implementing several policies and guidelines.
For example, we will promote diverse and inclusive recruitment by developing a diverse and inclusive recruitment guide for headhunters and recruiters with best practices for welcoming diverse talent through fair applicant selection and inclusive recruitment processes. We will also incorporate diversity and inclusion into our performance management, development and compensation processes.
Another example is our plan to expand parental leave options and promote LGBTI diversity. One measure will be the development of a global parental policy, which will provide our employees around the world with access to equal parental benefits and recognise the full spectrum of family diversity and provide equal coverage regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We will continue to prepare for the future of work by expanding our smart-working capabilities and digital opt-out rights, and further developing policies that enable our employees to better balance work and family care responsibilities.