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  • Targeted Efforts, BRGs Boost PPL’s Diversity, Engagement

    July 16, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Special Populations
    A group of diverse employees at PPL.

    TAGS: best practices, internships, recruiting methods, diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ, students with disabilities, recruiting, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    At PPL Corporation, diversity and engagement is a core value that permeates its college recruitment program and corporate culture. The Pennsylvania-based energy company believes it can fuel innovation and growth—and strengthen its culture—by providing opportunities for employees with diverse perspectives and experiences to come together and work toward new solutions.

    “PPL is committed to an inclusive, respectful, and diverse workplace that rewards performance, enables professional development, and encourages employee engagement,” says Brian Case, manager, corporate talent management.

    PPL demonstrates this commitment in visible ways, Case notes. Last year, for example, PPL’s Chairman, President, and CEO Bill Spence was one of the early signatories of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. This collective effort unites hundreds of companies that pledge to cultivate workplaces where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, and where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion issues.

    One of the key components of developing this culture is to create diverse pools of candidates to become part of the PPL work force. To increase the diversity of these pools, PPL participates in campus diversity panel discussions, holds affinity group events, conducts mock interviews and resume reviews, holds classroom presentations, and conducts various workshops. PPL also engages with students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels to get them excited about a career in energy. Such efforts help the community, while also making students aware of the opportunities at PPL.

    “PPL has been successful in increasing diverse applicant pools through its targeted efforts,” Case notes. “Aligned to the company value on diversity and engagement, there has been a desire to ensure all employees are engaged to continually build an inclusive culture.”

    PPL’s successful employee engagement efforts include its business resource group (BRG) model, which it began developing more than 20 years ago. Today, the firm has nine different BRGs representing various demographics of the PPL population, including PPL Tomorrow, which focuses on young professionals.

    “This BRG engages with interns through their internship experience, exposing them to PPL’s values on diversity and inclusion from day one,” he says. “The BRG engages interns in both professional and fun activities. Interns are invited to participate in the PPL BRGs during their intern/co-op experience, and many of the BRG members are former PPL interns.”

    Through exposure to the BRGs early on as interns, those converted to full-time employees have taken on active, engaged roles, including some former interns who are current officers of the BRGs.

    In 2016, PPL added a new BRG named Rallying Employees Around Challenging Histories (REACH). This BRG’s focus is on employees with different abilities or those who support family members and loved ones who may have a disability.

    Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL’s director of diversity, inclusion, and talent management, is the president of the REACH BRG. Maciolek Small says, “PPL’s BRG model is to encourage employees to join a BRG that may be different than their own backgrounds or histories as this continues to build an inclusive culture at PPL.”

    Case says that this is important because, historically, the utility industry has not attracted a diverse work force, including women.

    “This diversity effort has continued to evolve with much hard work and focus by PPL and the industry at large,” Case says. “Since 2012, PPL’s internship program has shown steady increases in female participants. This is attributed to our continued outreach efforts, national diversity recognition, word of mouth from prior interns, and use of diverse hiring panels.”

    In 2017, PPL’s internship program was 68 percent diverse (female and minority). Since this pool of interns is used to fill full-time, entry-level positions, and, Case says, retention rates at PPL are higher than national trends, it helps to ensure a diverse candidate pool.

    PPL’s efforts are earning recognition. The PPL REACH BRG was featured on the front cover of Disability Magazine in late 2016. Most recently, PPL was recognized nationally with a 100 percent on the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, and recognized as a “2018 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.”

    PPL also received a high score of 90 percent on the 2018 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), making it one of the 2018 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion. The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network. The index measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services, and supplier diversity.

    “This is the first year that PPL has responded to the DEI survey, which was coordinated by the members of the REACH BRG,” Case says. “The BRGs are part of the PPL fabric and continue to take an increasingly strategic role at PPL with a focus on career, culture, and community.”