What is diversity, equity and inclusion, and what does it mean to PSEG? Diversity, equity and inclusion are among our company’s Core Commitments, and we spoke with Janeen Johnson, PSEG’s enterprise DEI manager, to learn more.
What is DEI?
Johnson: The concept of DEI has three components: diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity is about strategically creating opportunities across all demographics such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability status. Inclusion is about creating experiences that cause people to feel empathy toward one another – reducing fear responses and enabling stronger teams, which bring innovation and invaluable insight. However, the most important component to me is equity. Equity is the process by which people experience a redistribution of access, opportunity and resources necessary to offset the impact of historical discrimination.
What is a DEI manager?
Johnson: As the enterprise DEI manager, I am responsible for developing strategies and facilitating programming that drive positive culture change and workplace behaviors.
Did you join PSEG originally to fill this role?
Johnson: No, in fact I started my career with PSEG as an executive assistant. I joined the PSEG family in March of 2014 as an employee of PSEG Long Island, which is the dedicated electric service provider to the people living on Long Island and the Rockaways in New York. As my professional interests evolved, the company’s tuition reimbursement program enabled me to pay for a diversity and inclusion professional certification from Cornell University. Later, when PSEG Long Island posted a full-time job opportunity for a newly defined DEI manager position, I applied for the role. It was a very competitive process, but thankfully, I was awarded the opportunity in November 2018. I served as the dedicated Long Island DEI resource for two years, and in November of 2020 I applied for the enterprise-wide DEI manager position.
What do you think separates PSEG’s company culture from other companies?
Johnson: PSEG’s commitment to DEI extends much deeper than performance metrics. It is built into our culture. Metrics are certainly important – without data, you don’t have accountability, and without accountability, you don’t have change. But while some companies are satisfied with simply meeting metrics compliant with Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity law, PSEG does not believe that is enough to attract top talent. Our approach starts at the interview level. We call this our “diverse candidate slate.” It’s about having applicants that represent the diverse communities we serve, but it’s also about having interviewers that represent those diverse communities. As our applicants get closer to the job offer from PSEG, they are seeing people who look like them, and are able to ask questions to ensure that they are presenting the best version of themselves in the interview process. We also embrace the fact that not everybody enters the workplace the same way. In a remote work environment, different people, especially those living with disabilities, have different needs. Our hiring managers are trained to ask candidates the questions that will enable us to provide them with the tools they need to get the job done starting on day one.
Come back soon for part two of our interview with Johnson when will talk more about what PSEG is doing to ensure that everyone has the best workplace experience; most common misconception about diversity, equity and inclusion; and whether or not DEI differs across generations.