Like book publishers and TV networks, innovation has challenged many companies, including those within the utility industry. The efficiency of appliances and machinery has greatly advanced, reducing the consumption of electricity. Meanwhile, new technologies have led to steep decreases in the price of electricity.
Literally, we are selling less for less.
I am optimistic that PSEG will continue to succeed, even as new technologies disrupt our industry. Good companies adjust to change and keep improving.
PSEG is up for that challenge. We have been a leader in adopting new technologies like solar power and energy efficiency to meet the changing demands of our customers and society.
And just as important, we recognize the need to change the way we do business. To prosper in today’s challenging business environment, we must become a more diverse and inclusive organization. Diversity and inclusion is no longer a “feel good exercise,” it is a business imperative.
Our customer and stakeholder base is increasingly diverse. Five New Jersey counties have a predominantly minority-based labor force. The state’s population is expected to continue to become racially and ethnically diversified by 2030. As a result, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, while supporting our communities through supplier diversity initiatives and our philanthropic endeavors are critical to our competitive advantage.
We need to create a welcoming culture that fosters a sense of belonging for all members of the organization so they feel respected and valued, and comfortable speaking up and sharing ideas.
We can best overcome the business challenges before us if everyone on our team is in the game, pitching in with suggestions about how to do things better. That means it is a necessity that our culture embraces the full range of our people – their ideas, thoughts, experiences, traditions, personality characteristics and perspectives.
We’ve committed to that path and are working to strengthen our focus on diversity and inclusion. This meant having frank and honest conversations about where we’ve been, where we are, and what it means to be a diverse and inclusive organization. We’re taking proactive steps to make the principles of diversity and inclusion part our company’s DNA.
To borrow a cliché, diversity and inclusion isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. We have made some progress along our path. Last December, PSEG and our chief diversity officer, Ellen Lambert, were recognized as a 2016 Diversity Leader by Profiles in Diversity Journal. In addition, PSEG was recently named one of “America’s Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business for 2016” by DiveristyBusiness.com. These are positive signs that we are connecting diversity and inclusion to our business.
Although hard to quantify, I’ve seen the results of this work. There has been a surge in members of our employee business resource groups, that not only help drive our commitment to diversity and inclusion, but also sponsor events that help build a sustainable inclusive environment. Recent events have successfully raised awareness of the capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities, to support PSEG military professionals and their families and friends.
Our work even extends outside of the company, too. PSEG’s True Diversity Film Series, sponsored in partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, looks to bring employees, their friends and family, as well as members of the community together to watch and discuss films on diverse topics. By doing so, we help foster broad thinking on issues of diversity and thoughtful discussions on how to overcome these issues and strengthen our communities.
The path to progress is traveled in small steps, which require ongoing and sustained measures to strengthen our inclusive culture.
Progress begins with the growing recognition that diversity and inclusion is a key enabler of our strategic priorities and that creating an environment where everyone with an idea can speak up and be heard is an integral part of the solution to the business challenges before us.
So, even with recent progress, we know that our journey continues.
Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President & CEO PSEG