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by RES | Jan 21, 2022 | Reading time: 3 min

40 years ago, RES was established and started pioneering power from wind. This was the same year that one of the earliest documentaries was aired warning about the planet heating up. Fast forward to 2021, the climate science is undeniable, governments and companies are pledging net zero and the public are pushing for solutions to tackle the world’s greatest challenge. As well as advances in understanding climate science in this period, we have also seen increasing amounts of research into the benefits of inclusive and diverse organisations, a key area being innovation. It is clear to me that if we are going to reduce the impact of climate change, we need not only the best minds involved to pool our collective intelligence but critically people who bring diverse ways of thinking and ideas, people who will question the way we do things and look for better solutions.

I started at RES 25 years ago and I am proud to have been with the Australian business since we opened the Sydney office in 2004 and now lead the team of nearly 100 people as CEO. One of the key responsibilities I have as a leader is creating an inclusive culture, one where everyone feels valued, listened to and able to bring their best selves to work. With competing pressures it’s not always an easy thing to do but ultimately, I know if we look after our people, it will lead to the best result for the business too.

When it comes to inclusion, I’m on a personal learning journey. I know I don’t always get everything right but am always looking at how I can make improvements. It’s important we learn from others in this process, and so I thought I would share what I have learnt so far about inclusive leadership:

Listen to others’ experiences

I realise that my experience of RES is exactly that, my experience. Everybody has different experiences and so if I want to understand more about how others see the culture at RES, then I need to listen more. We obviously have in place informal and formal processes to listen to our colleagues, but I was keen to understand more about how perceptions might vary for different groups of people, and so, building upon the launch of the global Affinity Networks at RES, in Australia we decided to launch our own Inclusion and Diversity Group. This group of enthusiastic colleagues have really helped me to understand some of the challenges that are faced, and where we can reduce barriers that some people face.

Keep on sharing and learning

There is an expectation that leaders know everything, but we don’t. In fact, when it comes to inclusion and diversity, many leaders know very little. This can be a scary concept for people who are usually very knowledgeable about the industry and businesses they work in and that can lead to a paralysis, a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. I was keen to ensure that the conversation keeps flowing and have put in place an agenda item for inclusion and diversity in all my monthly meetings with the Australian team. This is a time when we can all learn about the work of the Affinity Networks and how we can embed their work in core operations, in the knowledge that it is a safe space for everyone to learn and make mistakes without fear of judgement.

Leaders need to be visible on inclusion

Inclusion and Diversity is a priority at RES and if colleagues can see that authentic commitment from leaders within the business, it becomes a lot easier for colleagues to mirror inclusive behaviours. Over the last year I have realised that I need to be more visible. Be that through supporting the Affinity Network events (I learnt a lot at the Pride Month event), making visible inclusion and diversity pledges (including the Clean Energy Council leader’s pledge to only participate in forums or panels that embrace gender diversity), supporting the Clean Energy Council’s Women in Renewables initiative or chairing the Australian Inclusion and Diversity Group – I want to be visibly leading a business that has an inclusive culture at its heart.

Now is the time to act

I’m proud to have a team around me who are passionate and driven to make positive change, and who are helping to ensure everyone feels included. They are also willing to hold me to account, challenge me when needed and put forward suggestions where we can improve. The message I am receiving is that we really have to ensure we act and continuously progress. As inclusive leaders we need to create psychologically safe environments by having an open-door attitude to new ideas, thinking about how we can make it work and, in some cases, providing the time and resource to do so. We have implemented a number of changes over the last year, for example:

  • New or enhanced policies such as the new menopause guidance or the enhanced gender-neutral parental leave policy
  • Education on diverse issues such as LGBTQ+ training
  • HR process updates such as introducing an inclusive recruitment charter.

I know we still have work to do, but from the feedback I have received from colleagues, I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.


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