TransGrid – Driving Diversity in Asset Management

1. Executive Summary

TransGrid is an asset management business connecting generators, distributors and major end users to the electricity they need when they need it.

Our traditional asset-facing workforce is transforming in age, gender, ethnicity and skills. We aspire to continually evolve into a highly engaged and capable workforce reflecting the diversity and expectations of the customers and communities we serve.

Expanding on TransGrid’s Asset Management video, the delivery of our Board endorsed Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (Figure 1) empowers us to attract the best talent in all our asset management activities.

The Diversity and Inclusion Strategy initiatives have significantly influenced and framed our asset management capabilities and activities, where the diverse communities and TransGrid are benefactors.

2. Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

The strategy was developed and endorsed by the Board in 2017 and implementation began in January 2018.

The strategy is targeted at promoting a change in TransGrid’s culture, where diversity in race, gender, sexuality, age, skills and experience lays the foundation for an inclusive culture.

The Board is invested in TransGrid achieving the benefits from the implementation of strategic initiatives by means of quarterly reporting. This paper identifies specific value-add initiatives in promoting a diverse and inclusive asset management community in TransGrid (Sections 3, 4 and 5).  

Support for the strategy is driven from the CEO, Executive and Senior Leadership Teams (ELT and SLT) and Managers, as demonstrated by the following examples:

  • The CEO introducing the CEO Associate Program (Section 4).
  • 100% involvement by ELT, SLT and Managers in Unconscious Bias training. These participants benefit from access to ongoing learning resources to embed their learning. This has had a positive impact on delivering value for Asset Management and increasing gender balance in TransGrid (Section 5). This acknowledges decisions made after considering diverse perspectives can aid in effectively and efficiently managing assets, that in turn deliver value to shareholders and the community.
  • Managers encouraging employees to participate in and lead Diversity and Inclusion initiatives as we believe that everyone plays a part in creating a diverse and inclusive culture (Section 5).

3. Implementation of the Strategy

The key initiatives for each pillar presented below were taken from the 28 Diversity and Inclusion strategic initiatives. These initiatives were selected as the most relevant examples of the total activities undertaken. These demonstrates the comprehensive work to promote the value of diversity and inclusion in TransGrid’s asset management community and the broader community.

4. Innovative Initiatives

We identify the below initiatives as innovative to TransGrid as they are instrumental in creating changes in the attitudes of TransGrid’s asset management community on:

  • Gender inclusion at the frontline workforce and executive level.
  • Career transition to retirement.
  • TransGrid’s social responsibility for reconciling our nation.
Review of legacy facilities across the network
The targeted approach to introducing gender diversity in our apprenticeship program and hiring women apprentice has resulted in the upgrade of ablution facilities across TransGrid’s electricity network. This was identified as an institutional blocker to equality in TransGrid. Work has begun to update signage, fit external doors with locks to protect the safety of female field staff, and provide sanitary waste bins where not available.  
Envisage your future
In 2017, we celebrated the careers and achievements of staff that have been with TransGrid for 25 years or more by organising a celebratory Recognition Dinner. To continue showing support to the dedicated staff in the latter stage of their career, we are introducing Envisage – Transition to Retirement workshops and seminars in 2019. This program is designed to support staff in planning for a positive and productive late career and future retirement. Envisage aims to realise the following for the participants:  Provide a structured framework to consider career and retirement options.Being empowered to make positive changes in the areas of money, career, health and relationships.Setting goals and identifying actions to create the future you envisage.  
Interaction of Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and our network
TransGrid’s Board, CEO and Executives are deeply committed to Reconciliation through the creation of the RAP Committee and Reflect RAP. The Committee is diverse in age, race, ethnicity, skills, experience and tenure at TransGrid (Figure 2). One of the initiatives of the RAP Committee is a body of work mapping our transmission line network’s footprint to Indigenous languages and land (Figure 3). This is to raise awareness of our impact on Indigenous land during operations. Consequently, these Indigenous initiatives are our contribution to the Indigenous community as key players in helping reconcile our nation: Provided grants as part of our Community Partnerships Program for funding local community initiatives, such as the grant for Yass Valley Council to help establish the Oak Hill Aboriginal Place Scarred Trees Interpretative Display Area. The project involved the protection and conservation of three Aboriginal Scarred Trees. Oak Hill is an area of special significance for the Ngunnawal people of the Yass Valley.  Provided a day of leave each year during NAIDOC Week for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.Targeting of ATSI candidates for apprenticeships, where 25% of apprentices hired this year are ATSI. An Indigenous apprenticeship mentoring service provider is made available for the successful ATSI apprentices.  
CEO Associate Program
The CEO of TransGrid, Paul Italiano, has introduced the CEO Associate Program, which supports and promotes diversity in the Executive and Senior Leadership Team. One high potential female employee is chosen to shadow the CEO for 12 months. The aim is to “help develop emerging leaders in TransGrid through executive mentoring and opportunities to participate in and review a broad range of strategic issues” – TransGrid CEO. The experience from a program alumni was described as: “It has been an absolute privilege to learn from someone who has such a distinguished career and who wants to drive TransGrid forward. I have learnt a lot about the Executive decisions making process, which is something I will take with me throughout my career” – 2017 Alumni. The program is in its third year with participants from a range of business areas including asset management, commercial, and regulatory business units. 

Figure 2 TransGrid’s Reconciliation Action Plan Committee

Figure 3 Aboriginal Languages in NSW overlayed with TransGrid’s network

5. Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

The benefits of successful implementation of the strategy in the first year of implementation to asset management are:

  • Greater collaboration in extracting value from asset management where the communities and TransGrid are the beneficiaries.
    • The Asset Management team has increased collaboration across the business and with external stakeholders to access a range of skills and experience, without bias, to deliver sustainable value to the communities we serve. The sustainable value being the prescribed revenue funded by community is efficiently and effectively utilised to manage the network safely, reliably and securely. Key examples of collaboration is provided in the below table.
      • TransGrid Advisory Council (TAC) is designed to build a stronger, more robust engagement program that actively provides a dedicated vehicle for ongoing engagement between TransGrid and the below stakeholders. TAC was used to endorse TransGrid’s revenue determination for 2019-2023, which is prepared to deliver value to community and TransGrid owners.

External stakeholders are:

  • Australian Industry Group
    • St Vincent de Paul
      • NSW Council of Social Services
      • City of Sydney
      • Energy Consumers Australia
      • Energy Users Association of Australia
      • Total Environment Centre
      • Consumer Challenge Panel
      • Snowy Hydro
      • Tomago Aluminium
      • Goldwind Australia
    • Formal Safety Assessments are used to demonstrate to the NSW safety regulator that the risks listed below to the community and TransGrid staff are effectively controlled to as low as reasonably practicable. We recognised a gap in the range of stakeholders accessed. Consequently, detailed external and internal stakeholder communication procedures and plans were developed and implemented to ensure safety concerns and interests are accounted for in the Formal Safety Assessments
      • Bushfire risk
      • Public safety risk
      • Worker health and safety risk
      • Environment and property risk
      • Network reliability safety risk
  • Greater engagement at corporate level in promoting gender balance in asset management at TransGrid and within the community.
    • An increase in number of Lucy Program mentors from 3 last year to 15 this year. The 15 Lucy Program mentors are from business groups that are involved in asset planning, design, build, operation, maintenance, management, information technology and finance.
    • 39.1%[1] of third tier managers are women, which is ahead of industry sector benchmark of 25.8%.
    • 44% of 59 new starters last year are woman.
    • 40% of employees work flexibly (formally and informally).
    • Grace Papers’ digital platform has provided 20 of TransGrid’s men and women tailored programs to support parents-to-be and their managers navigate pregnancy, parental leave, and the return to work since August last year.
    • Provide childcare holiday financial assistance for parents.
    • We are a White Ribbon Workplace.
    • 1.9% employees identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
    • Commitment from members of the Board and Executive Managers to drive balance and gender diversity by hosting International Women’s Day gatherings on March 8th 2019. The below poster is distributed across all TransGrid offices. 
  • Greater engagement by the Asset Management team in promoting gender balance in asset management in TransGrid and community.
    • An asset management staff was a panel member at the UTS Young Women in STEM Day Careers Panel.
    • An asset management staff member promoted TransGrid at the UTS annual careers fair in 2018.
  • Greater appreciation of cultural diversity in Asset Management Team
    • Recruitment of 13 graduates in 2019 from diverse range of universities, ethnicities and genders (Figure 4).

Figure 4 TransGrid’s 2019 Graduate Program

  • Continue to identify Diversity Days in the 2019 corporate calendar. Examples of Diversity Days are listed below. We will be identifying the Diversity Days in the Outlook calendars of all staff this year.
    • Ramadan
    • International Day Against Homophobia
    • NAIDOC week
    • Eid Al-Fitr
    • Diwali
    • Hanukkah
    • Increased awareness of TransGrid’s cultural diversity through the celebration of Harmony Day 2018 and Diwali 2018 (Figure 5).

Figure 5 TransGrid celebrating cultural diversity

6. Sustaining diversity change and benefits

We are committed to developing a comprehensive approach to gaining benefits from a more diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe a diverse workforce and inclusive culture will enable us to:

  • Provide opportunities for all employees to reach their full potential.
  • Attract a broader talent pool of employees.
  • Innovate and improve service design and delivery through leveraging the breadth of perspectives, and experiences of team employees.
  • Make high quality decisions by reducing bias and encouraging different approaches.

Creating and maintaining a highly engaged TransGrid workforce indefinitely into the future, will influence TransGrid’s success in achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace, and guarantee the above benefits are realised.

TransGrid recognises that a diverse and inclusive workforce is not a singular exercise, but an evolving mix of skills, thinking and backgrounds that is only achieved through ongoing continual improvement aligned with our Asset Management policy and philosophy. Our customers are continuing to benefit from how our asset management workforce reflects the diverse community in which we operate.

[1] Taken from the Gender Equality Competitor Analysis Benchmark Report 2016/17, Workplace Gender Equality Agency Comparison Group: Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services

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