Consumers are demanding that brands as employers play their part as corporate citizens to drive change. While before, companies used to be wary of social conflict, especially in polarising times, today they are taking a stand on injustice and using their voice to get behind movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too.
As a leading player in the energy sector, Engie has been an influential advocate recognised for its efforts in diversity and inclusion (D&I) in an industry that has been slow to change. A driving force ahead, it has accelerated its sustainability transformation alongside diversity with initiatives like the Fifty-Fifty project, which aims to achieve managerial parity by 2030.
But, to go further as a company and employer, it needed to ensure its strategy was ingrained in its positioning. Saffron was brought in to help investigate, uncover and articulate the distinctive connection between its diversity efforts and its vision.
Brand as the connecting thread
All too often companies implement one-off, cookie-cutter initiatives like diversity training or quotas, owned exclusively by HR, that fail to connect with the business vision and strategy. Through extensive research with experts in the field, best practice benchmarks to hosting round table debates in the company, we sought to get under the skin of what makes Engie’s actions more than just policy. Here, we were able to get to the heart of the company’s organisational culture to help build the “Engie Way,” a brand-linked diversity and inclusion strategy focused on building demographic and cognitive diversity. In doing so, the company is better positioned to champion belonging and stand out from the competition as an innovative brand.
From promise to reality
To change behaviour, it is crucial to first understand the beliefs and assumptions that shape company culture and tailor relevant work practices to influence it. Positive change needs to come from an authentic place and be championed from the top. Through a series of co-created sessions, Saffron enabled critical stakeholders at Engie to consider the opportunities and challenges at hand. We were able to determine overall objectives going forward and assess how far their leaders were willing to go to “walk the talk” and be brand ambassadors. This was a collaborative and key step in defining a positioning that was aligned and clearly linked to the Engie brand.
Leading the way
At Saffron, we've seen firsthand that change starts with culture. It's key to get senior leadership on board to back the mission, articulate its connection with D&I and be held accountable for its success. Next, it's about moving from promise to experience to determine the initiatives that will support the positioning.
Having worked hand-in-hand with several organisations like Engie to build an ownable diversity and inclusion strategy, we know that companies that clearly link D&I to the organisation’s collective purpose can break ground and ensure it's a win-win all around.