About National Grid
National Grid is one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies, committed to delivering electricity and gas. They employ around 22,000 people, located both in the UK and the USA with principal operations in electricity and gas transmission and distribution, as well as National Grid Ventures.
They keep the power on and are big players in the move to decarbonised, greener power provision whilst maintaining and upgrading the current ‘grid’.
In 1998 National Grid began a move to develop a working culture that would be inclusive for all staff. National Grid was an engineering-based organisation which was predominantly male-dominated. This meant creating a culture where people were challenged to take responsibility for themselves but also for challenging others when they observe behaviour or hear comments that would be deemed discriminatory or excluding.
National Grid recognised that it needed to move into the 21st century and it created a charter of inclusive behaviours that everyone would be trained in. National Grid wanted to raise awareness of the charter and each individual’s rights and responsibilities when working in an inclusive culture.
With employees working in the UK and US the challenge was to create responsive and supportively challenging inclusion training that would raise awareness, make people think and change behaviour where necessary.
PEAR’s solution was to design and deliver a series of training interventions for all staff at every level within National Grid.
First, we went in to talk to staff from different levels about their experiences of inclusion and inclusive and excluding behaviour. Whilst a lot of their experiences were similar, the scenarios and examples of behaviours differed significantly depending on the context and the people involved.
We established that one of the important needs was for staff to feel able to challenge others to behave in inclusive ways. We also established that unconscious bias was a concept that could be used to underpin the learning.
Our solution was to design a number of training and group work interventions that enabled us to work with the various teams in very different environments. Some training was designed and delivered to field engineers, some to office-based staff and some to managers including the executive board.
We used our associate professional actors to depict scenes that we had co-created with the commissioning team. The scenes showed examples of how people can consciously or unconsciously exclude others. Then groups of staff from across the business were asked to participate in facilitated discussions around the themes. In each session, the final scene gave participants a chance to think about strategies for inclusion and for challenging the behaviour of others.
The training was delivered to over 10,000 staff in the UK and US over a period of four years. It became a standard part of the induction suite of courses that every employee was expected to complete.
The charter was successfully rolled out to all staff at National Grid. Inclusivity and inclusive thinking have become part of the culture and the training was very well received and evaluated highly by staff.
National Grid is now recognised as an inclusive employer. This has significantly aided the recruitment and retention of talent.