Case study: ScottishPower.

Utilities company ScottishPower has made significant strides in its quest to embed diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

A 2014 review of equality, diversity and inclusion commissioned in conjunction with Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion underpinned ScottishPower’s principle that flexibility is a key contributor to employee engagement, retention and strong business performance.

The company has pledged to deliver improvements to working families by building understanding, taking positive steps to developing family friendly initiatives, and collecting and analysing data about the value of those offerings to the business and employees.

During 2015, ScottishPower has built awareness and understanding by establishing a dedicated diversity area on its employee portal, allowing heightened visibility of policies and practices. In addition, it has collaborated with employees to ensure change is meaningful, and managers are kept abreast of policy and process changes. ‘Manager Direct Live’ sessions are delivered in a range of topics, including the positively received ‘How to Manage a Flexible Working Request’ and ‘Shared Parental Leave.’

Other positive steps include enhanced provision for maternity, paternity, adoption, fertility treatment and childcare vouchers. Flexible working patterns include part and term-time working and working from home.

Technology and social media are used to improve project delivery, productivity and collaboration between employees, regardless of their base.

This year, the company is relocating 1600 employees to a Glasgow city centre base, giving it further opportunity to support a more agile form of working without the traditional limitations.

Respondents to last year’s employee engagement survey, the Loop, indicated that staff felt the organisation “offers a range of diverse opportunities,” “promoted good practices within the workplace for the well-being of employees” and that “managers are supportive and flexible.”

Last year, ScottishPower – which has a 6500-strong workforce - launched its policy on shared parental leave, which offers matching enhanced terms to those of its maternity provisions.

A positive step for ScottishPower has been the development of a bespoke shared parental leave and pay planner to assist employees. An employee who reported finding previous policy and legislation confusing, had a positive response to the policy and planner, which presents options in a visual way.

He commented: “Overall, I am very grateful the organisation has introduced such a policy and have found everyone from HR to my line manager very supportive of my decision to take shared parental leave.”

A Unison full-time official added: “The organisation recognised and the trade unions appreciate the efforts and commitment to shared parental leave to the suite of family-friendly offerings. It is significant that as a male dominated employer, they are at the forefront of implementing this significant and generous provision which affords all staff the opportunity to achieve a balanced family life.”