It’s clear that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is more than just a trending target for industry and society to aspire to, but, in simple terms, what do these words actually mean?
According to Vernā Myers, an American author and Netflix’s VP of inclusion strategy, “diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance”.
It’s a catchy description and one that today’s energy industry is quickly putting pace and passion into.
Over the past four years, management consulting company, McKinsey, has revealed proven links that companies with diverse leadership perform better. Its latest report not only shows the business case remains robust for diversity and inclusion, but also the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time.
Championing change in the workplace
According to the IEA, women’s participation in the energy sector is below that of the broader economy and varies widely across energy sub-sectors. Last year, despite making up 48% of the global labour force, women only accounted for a fifth (22%) of roles in the oil and gas sector compared to 32% in renewables.
ChampionX Corporation, a global leader in chemistry solutions and highly engineered equipment and technologies that help companies drill for and produce oil and gas safely and efficiently around the world, has uncovered the benefits of actively engaging with its employees to increase the awareness and representation of women in the industry. Its RISE (recognise, inspire, share and engage) employee resource group was created to grow their business with the goal of becoming the industry leader in gender equality by inspiring all associates to promote a culture of gender diversity and inclusion.
“The Europe RISE chapter was launched in 2018 and has developed a strong community while delivering opportunities for professional development, networking and mentoring for all employees,” said Alison Reid, UK regional sales manager with ChampionX, who leads the five Eastern Hemisphere chapters of the group. “I’m proud of our focus on creating a common purpose and alignment across our business on gender equality and inclusion. We have excellent support from our CEO through to the regional teams.”
RISE works to actively provide resources that enable women and male allies to have candid and courageous conversations about gender diversity, for the betterment of the company culture and business goals. This work is done by a variety of committees focusing on topics like sustainable business growth, global engagement and building an ESG-centric culture.
“We want RISE to be fully inclusive, no matter the person’s gender or position in our organisation,” said Alison. “We’re making great progress to engage men as advocates, with lead positions being open to all who have a passion for equality and inclusion.”
Since its launch, around 40% of the European team have become members of RISE, and that number is growing quickly across the company’s 10 global RISE chapters, including a higher percentage of male members.
Equal voice for unified action
ChampionX’s RISE events give employees the chance to come together and voice their thoughts on gender equality and inclusion in an open and trusting environment, while also providing opportunities to develop different personal and professional strengths aligned with an individual’s development plan. For example, the group recently hosted a session to teach people to embrace their fears and overcome them with courage to try new tasks and activities. This bespoke course has now been replicated for staff working in the Middle East and Africa.
“Today, energy companies rely on teams who recognise the importance and power of a diverse workforce to achieve success. Launching RISE in Europe and supporting the development of four new chapters in the Eastern Hemisphere has given me valuable experience to take to my sales leadership roles.”
Promoting diversity and dynamism
OGUK is also championing the need for greater D&I within the UK oil, gas and energy sector and has set up its own task force to drive the agenda, catalyse action and share good practice. The organisation’s report: ‘Building a Baseline: OGUK Diversity & Inclusion Survey’, found that 14% pf respondents regarded the D&I culture in their business as weak or felt there was no D&I culture at all.
Including RISE, there are more than 1,000 members and nine different employee resource groups active in ChampionX’s main business regions. Moving forward, the goal is to incorporate additional D&I programs across the global organisation to inspire its employees to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion and help actualise gender equality in the workplace.
Alison’s ambitions for RISE are clear: “We want to continue delivering innovative opportunities for everyone through professional development, mentoring and networking. This inspires a purpose and a passion in people for getting involved in an important cause in the energy sector, our local communities and wider society, which supports ChampionX’s purpose of Improving Lives.”