Inclusion and representation in a company workforce is very important because without diversity things can become stale very quickly. You never know where or who your next great idea is going to come from. The only thing that is certain is that the more people in the room can only enrich the brainstorming and decision making process.
However, good leadership practice means having the ability to recognize that sometimes inclusion is just not enough and you have to go the extra mile so all your employees can have equal opportunities.
At ActionZero, we are very passionate about uplifting women, especially within the STEM community. We want to give everyone the opportunity to flourish during their time with us without having to compromise their beliefs or quality of life. This is why our policies reflect the importance of openness and a good work life balance so people from all walks of life can still be involved in our mission to create a zero emissions world.
That can mean a variety of difference things from taking action to help solve a problem or to just offering a listening ear when they want guidance.
For this year’s International Women’s Day, we felt it was important to encourage a dialogue within our company. We spotlighted some of our female members of ActionZero below about what this day and it’s theme of embracing equity means to them personally and professionally.
The culture at ActionZero is all about mutual respect, strong interpersonal relationships and honest communication which promotes equity across the company. We embrace diversity and inclusion and incorporate both across our hiring practices. We have a good gender and educational mix across the company, and we are always striving to do more to promote both equality and equity.
At ActionZero everyone can come to work, be themselves without having to conform, and know that their opinions are listened to and valued. Learning and development is embraced at all levels in the company and senior managers take pride in mentoring and developing all employees so everyone can further themselves in their careers.
Our CEO is fond of the saying “Mol An Oige agus tiocfaidh siad” but the reality is this goes further than just developing our young graduates and is a policy that translates across the business. Everyone is encouraged to develop within the company and ActionZero do what they can to support it, whether it be by formal training, lunch and learns or management mentorship.
In my opinion, this is not about gender, age, sexual orientation, culture, or ethnicity. This is about mutual respect. We are all different. We are all unique. We have all arrived at this point of time in our professional identity from different backgrounds and experiences in our careers. Our life experiences, albeit professional, personal, both good and bad, have shaped us. We are one of many different colleagues who each has their own backgrounds and experiences that shaped them too.
The foundation of respect is communication and open dialogue. Without open dialogue, there is no respect. As a people manager, the one thing I am truly passionate about is that leaders in organisations be extremely mindful of their own bias – conscious or unconscious. To reduce the impact of bias, when making business decisions or forming professional opinions about people, leaders need to really be open to listen to all perspectives. Its that simple. The act of “listening” – and really hearing as many different perspectives as possible – before making business decisions. This, in my opinion, is how equity is embraced in the workplace and this will lead to great culture and long-term business success.
At ActionZero, I feel like our work culture does a good job of embracing equity because our staff is quite close. Not just in terms of proximity but also relationship wise. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we are like one big family here at ActionZero which is partly because we have really good communication and rapport across all branches.
One of the benefits of being a fairly new and smaller sized company is that people have the opportunity to cross paths more frequently than with large global conglomerates. This has made transparent two way communication very accessible, even with our staff split between Cork and Tralee. No one is ever blindsided. We also have multiple opportunities to gather together through our town halls, lunch and learns and performance reviews that take place throughout the year so our hybrid workers also have the opportunity to engage.
ActionZero realizes that investing in their employees personally and professionally is key to building an equitable company. They value our contributions and reward us when we do well. Management listens to us and make sure that everyone knows they get a vote or can have their perspective considered before major decisions are made. Our senior leadership team is also very encouraging about us having a healthy work life balance or pursuing higher education. They want us to succeed and improve ourselves over time so we have specific schemes in place for employees who are interested in advancement in the industry.
So overall, in my opinion it really is about keeping an open channel for communication and offering employees the resources needed to succeed. If you show that you value your team, they will reward you with loyalty and results.
I am mom to Ava, age 9. A very bright, beautiful, bubbly, always active little girl. She plays football with the local girls’ team. My husband and I took her to see the Kerry ladies play in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park last August. We felt it was important for her, a nine-year-old football playing little girl, to see female players playing at the highest level. Equality at its finest! What a site to behold, the Kerry ladies proudly decked out in the green and gold of the Kerry geansai with the crisp white shorts.
Those crisp white shorts…what dread they must put into the mind of a teenage girl in the throes of puberty, especially approaching ‘that time of the month’. Possibly enough to make a self-conscious teenage girl give up playing football, soccer, or rugby, whatever their chosen sport may be. In mid-January, Siofra O Shea, one of Kerry’s most talented footballers, stepped out at a GAA launch wearing the new Kerry kit, the green and gold geansai and a pair of black shorts.
The powers that be in Kerry GAA had made a decision that would level the playing field for females. Take away the worry of playing in the white shorts during your period. What a game changer, pardon the pun!
The Kerry team are following on from the likes of the Manchester City ladies team, who have moved away from white shorts, as have Irelands women’s rugby teams, who now don navy shorts. Even the mighty English Lionesses raised concerns about the wearing of white shorts at the Euros last summer.
White shorts, black shorts, navy shorts. What difference does the colour make? Nothing if you are a man, it is equity if you are a woman. As a mom to a girl, I welcome these changes. There are so many more little things that can be changed to make my little girls future more equitable.
In my opinion, it all begins with education and therefore understanding, getting males to see and understand a female’s perspective on a given situation. Like the importance of black shorts.
At ActionZero they embrace this mindset completely and support the needs of diversity in the industry. Our company wants to do their best to meet the needs of all their employees, not just because it will improve productivity but because it is the right thing to do. They recognize that everyone deserves the opportunity to be heard or upskill in a work environment.
Their core values of Integrity, Transparency, Sustainability and Innovation clearly demonstrate that they want to make a positive impact on the world, which can only be done through a dedicated workforce that is passionate about their cause. If there is one thing that you can say about ActionZero is that we are all passionate people here.