Committed to long-term change

SSE has been around for a long time. We operate energy assets that were built up to 70 years ago, and we’re continuing to build modern energy infrastructure that may last just as long. To make sure our company succeeds in the future, the composition and culture of our workforce needs to move with the times too.

A lot of us now take it for granted that, as well as the ethical argument, there’s a clear business benefit from greater inclusion. Employees are more productive and innovative, and better decisions are made with a variety of perspectives and experiences being expressed. Ultimately, a diverse and inclusive business better reflects its customers, and that should lead to better service and performance.

Whilst we’ve come a long way in understanding inclusion and diversity in three years, we know this process will take time and there’s still a long way to go. But from the Board and Executive right throughout the business, we are energised and committed to nurture the principles of inclusion at every level.

We have learnt much from working with Equal Approach and are grateful for their guidance and wise words. The most important lesson has been that SSE needs to think more strategically about how to maximise the value of inclusion. The next three years will play a pivotal role in determining the future success of our company and how we develop the skills and talent of our workforce – SSE’s human capital. It’s crucial we make the right decisions now to meet the challenges of the future.

Crucially, the work of Equal Approach points out explicitly that SSE has returned £4.52 for every £1 invested in inclusion and diversity initiatives. But we also learnt that by implementing a more strategic approach, focusing on fewer, but more important factors, we can aspire to returning £15 for every £1 invested. This is very compelling evidence for a value-focused organisation and it is crystal clear what we need to do.

While measuring the return on inclusion is important to understand the value of what we are doing, we should never lose sight of the fact that SSE’s objective is to create an inclusive environment where we can widen the talent pools available to the business, ensuring that it grows from strength to strength. To make this a reality, our focus must now be on implementing our new Inclusion Strategy to create a truly inclusive culture in our organisation – one that celebrates all kinds of diversity and encourages difference.

About the author

John Stewart Director of Human Resources

John Stewart is SSE's Director of Human Resources and is responsible for the development and delivery of Human Resources and Training Policy across SSE. John has worked for SSE since 2009 and has over 20 years of experience in the Utilities sector having worked across the UK and in the USA for companies such as Southern Water, ScottishPower and PacifiCorp.

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