In this space of reflection and solitude, Southern California Edison (SCE) illuminates their next moves in their journey towards social change. With over 13,000 employees affiliated to this utility firm, extensive research traveled through the company from the top executive level to their field agents. SCE wanted to know their personal social climate within their working sector; reflecting 70% of their employees being women and people of color. Through the “Edison International and Southern California Edison Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report,” SCE was able to pinpoint and bring a laser focus to opportunities for growth and uplifting their Black constituents that show their loyalty to the company every time they put on the Edison uniform.
The report used terms that showed solidarity in moving SCE further into a progressive and inclusive place. Words such as commitment, listening, and transparency were used throughout the report, in reference to making sure that every voice in the company gets heard. A major focus within SCE diversity research is representation. The data revealed that overall, there is solid diverse representation throughout the sector, however, according to the numbers Black and LatinX women are paid less due to lower representation in higher-paying jobs. There was no hesitation to dive deeper into this space for growth, more energy was put behind the effort in closing that gap.
Specific stories and personal feelings traveled up the chain of command thanks to the intense inquisition on the social temperature in this firm. There have been internal surveys released across the board to track the satisfaction, trust, and engagement within each level of employment. Although there are many different lurking variables within the employee experience, SCE is looking to be upfront with how they contribute to the morale and environment the employee walks into daily.
The equity report was transparent, both highlighting the triumphs and milestones in diversifying the company culture and bringing awareness to what may still need work. A red flag that Edison is looking to challenge headfirst, is that within their findings, Black employees reported they feel less included than others. Leadership at top command recognized this and went to work on changing that narrative. The social structure had to change on a molecular level, SCE’s research focused on not only the internal relationship but the external connection to this concern.
SCE focused their energy on the involvement in the community, in lieu of ignoring the calls for action in underserved communities, SCE alongside shareholders have made charitable investments. Approximately $20 million dollars has gone to non-profit organizations and higher education institutions, specifically targeting communities that are generally overlooked or underrepresented. Over 130 years of age, Edison is not just a company that serves the community, they are intertwined with the DNA of all households they connect with.
Through this utility company’s external lens, Edison recognize their social responsibility in the issue of equality. They plan to be a place of leverage and opportunity for a higher quality of living and they are committed to that mission. Edison International President and Chief Executive Officer, Pedro Pizarro, is at the helm of this positive navigation to inclusivity. He stated, “As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion; our goal is to create a positive and equitable work environment.” Pizarro continued, “Part of that is not just looking inside the company, but also helping with increasing opportunities in the diverse communities that we serve.”
Transparency is the next step. Their research highlighted the following concerns: diversity in the workforce from multiple angles, positive trends in female and racially diverse representation at all levels, diverse representation and market availability, and equal pay for equal work. There was emphasis on gender equity in higher-paying roles and the work experience for people of color.
SCE continued to tread through every layer of their social environment. Overall, they had the solid grounding and have been on the right path, but they recognized there is “more work to be done on Growth and Development,” thus, leading them to start acting immediately on what can be improved and taking what is already good to greater lengths.
The data collected also included a retrospective activity, showcasing that SCE has inadvertently been on the path towards inclusion. In 2019, they donated up to $21 million to go towards philanthropic funding with the focus being on underserved communities. Additionally, $4.2 million went to STEM scholarships and one-million dollars has been donated to vocational and career development within communities of color. This reflects that their previous milestones are working as steps towards higher achievement in equity.
Their actions were outlined with concrete measurements to establish the goal will be met. Some of their actions listed in the report included: research for any potential pay disparity, diverse candidate slates and interview panels, using employee business resource groups to attract diverse talent, and inclusivity in high-potential programs.
Initiatives that are in the works support Black employees and the collective community. According to Pizarro, this zoomed-in focus within uplifting people of color is going to align with the company values and will benefit the entirety of the firm. Pizarro mentioned the tools that will be used to penetrate this opportunity for growth is listening, understanding, and acting.
Pizarro stated, “Listening takes a number of forms and obviously one piece of that is gathering the data and understanding what the numbers are.” He explained, “We also have other ways to listen directly to our employees, the data is one thing—but there’s also a lot of power in the individual stories, personal stories that people have to share.”
The measurements were aligned to hold Edison accountable for seeing the change, they look to train employees in 2021 with an inclusive lens to strengthen the connection with employees and the sector. They also look to measure the success rate in converting more Black interns and scholars to full-time employees. There is light in homes that reveal many different shades of unity, SCE is looking at all angles of the social prism in their company to make sure every spectrum of their employees and the community are included.