Diversity and Inclusion: What We're Doing and What We've Learned

Author: Tina Semotan, Published on: May 19, 2021

 Diversity and Inclusion: What We're Doing and What We've Learned

It has been a year since our nation experienced a series of life-changing events, ranging from a pandemic to increased racial violence and a reckoning for change across the nation. As both individuals and organizations spoke out on these issues and began working to build a brighter future, life as we knew it changed significantly. At AM Conservation Group and Franklin Energy, this shift in focus allowed us to look deeper at our organizational impact and explore how we can do better.

The decisions we make today will help determine the America in which our children will grow tomorrow. And in many ways, we are making progress. George Floyd’s death started a movement. A record number of voters turned out to elect a Black woman into the White House. Companies across the country are making bold promises about diversifying the workforce. And the U.S. has surpassed a vaccination milestone, with more than 40% of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the earth-shattering disease that started it all.

Forming a More Inclusive Environment

As an organization, we recognized the opportunity to take our inclusive environment a step further. I’m proud of the work we have done and continue to do as we celebrate our employees’ differences and work to welcome new ones, too.

Through a formalized vision, we are driving a more inclusive organization by making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a core principle. We audited our job descriptions to remove gender identifiers, unnecessary requirements, and experience to attract a more diverse talent pool. We activated an engaging DEI Roundtable with committees focused on policies, data analytics, business alignment, communications and outreach, and expanded workforce and supplier diversity initiatives. And we created a diverse vendor development program, leveraging different trade and community organizations such as AABE (Association of Blacks in Energy) to post job positions. And this was just the start.

Our Organization Thrives on Diversity

Objectively speaking, diversity in the workforce pays off. Studies conducted over the last two decades indicate that a purposefully inclusive work environment boosts profitability, culture, and public perception. A Gartner study found that gender and racially diverse teams outperformed their less inclusive counterparts by 50%. At our organization, we have found that having teams with a diverse mix of age, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic location, and more has allowed AM Conservation Group to better serve our clients. Our workforce and vendor partnerships have evolved to better reflect the communities we serve which means we better understand what they need. We are part of the tapestry of those communities.

And beyond the bottom line, putting in the work to create an inclusive environment is simply the right thing to do. Regardless of our differences, every person’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas are valid. Bringing together a wide range of people from different geographic regions with differing backgrounds and experiences has been the driving force behind our innovation because no one person has all the answers, but together we can do amazing things.

Early Results Driven by Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

Over the last year, we held nearly 20 employee listening sessions to create a safe space to express our concerns and learn from each other as our nation faced widespread unrest. We became more active in publicly sharing our views on social media and other avenues, and we started our Employee Resource Group for employees of color. We are now proud to boast a 70% diversified senior leadership team. And lastly, we strengthened our diverse vendor partnerships by exceeding our internal goal to increase spending by 8% year-over-year.

Although we are only one organization, we believe in the power of the ripple effect. By speaking out on behalf of our more than 1,100 employees about the importance of inclusion and celebrating their differences, we aren’t just connecting with 1,100 individuals, but with their families around the nation as well. And we hope to make a difference by standing firm in our beliefs, speaking out when appropriate, and putting in the work to make both AM Conservation and Franklin Energy an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

We are committed to constantly pushing forward and building a brighter future for today’s workforce, communities, and environment.You can learn more about becoming a diverse vendor or partner here, learn about how we’ve impacted local communities here, or join our team by applying here.

Cheers to a brighter future for everyone, regardless of the darkness of the past.