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Leana Birdsell #TeamRenewables

by Rachel Anderson | Jul 05, 2022 | Reading time: 3 min

Behind the success of our solar, wind, T&D, and storage endeavors stand passionate and dedicated employees. At RES, our people find strength in our differences and build successful teams and projects because of them.  

In this #TeamRenewables, we sat down with Talent Acquisition Manager, Leana Birdsell to learn more about her role in Talent Acquisition and how she supports Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at RES. 

The Role 

Leana’s day often consists of seeking approvals for new positions, conducting interviews, extending offers, meeting with her client groups, and working with the talent acquisition team to create excellent employee experiences and build cohesive, successful teams. Along with leading programs like college relations and career fairs, Leana and her team focus on improving programs related to Talent Acquisition like our relocation and referral programs.  

Leana’s roots run deep. She has worked for RES’ Talent Acquisition department for almost ten years. During that time, she witnessed RES evolve into the company it is today.  

For the first eight years, Leana was the only Talent Acquisition representative tasked with filling 80 open positions by herself. Since then, her team has grown to seven members, allowing them to better support the company. Leana is always eager to assist, highly dedicated to meeting company objectives and reflects the work ethic of the whole Talent Acquisition team. 

Right now, Leana is focusing on filling Development positions. She also supports hiring for our Canadian, Development, and corporate teams. 

“The most exciting thing in my career journey is the growth of RES over the last ten years and the expansion of the Talent Acquisition team.”   

D&I Centric Hiring at RES 

At RES, we greatly emphasize diversity and inclusion initiatives through networks and practices. Our RESpect Affinity Networks encompass D&I values and traditions focused on age, gender, race, disability, and LGBTQ+ networks to better support our employees and everything that makes them unique.  

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Leana and the Talent Acquisition team recently began implementing new and improved diversity and inclusion-focused initiatives throughout their department. Through resources like Data People, SeekOut, Direct Employers, and EPEW, the Talent Acquisition team is furthering RES values right at the front door with new potential employees. These resources promote diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace. For example, Data People eliminates biased language from job descriptions, encouraging more diverse candidates to apply. By marketing our open positions to more diverse candidates, our Talent Acquisition team is doing its part to help create an inclusive and welcoming workplace at RES.  

Though we don’t have measurable data from these D&I initiatives yet, Leana shared they are making progress. The team has several SeekOut candidates in the interview stage, and by using Direct Employers, they have reached an additional 9400 views from diverse applicants. SeekOut’s technology allows the Talent Acquisition team to utilize talent analytics to reduce bias while finding and retaining a diverse talent base. 

RES is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry. The association educates and supports diversity initiatives in the renewables industry alongside providing quick industry news. Leana is proud to acknowledge the Talent Acquisition department’s recent completion of the Bronze level certification for SEIA and is close to achieving the Silver level.  

SEIA works with over one thousand companies to fight for policy changes and create jobs in the community. Out of its current members, RES is one of 34 enrolled in the certification program, helping us stand out as an employer that emphasizes the commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.  

Unique Future Challenges 

COVID-19 shook up the world of business in an unprecedented way. Adjustments, adaptations, and evolution were necessary to keep up with the changes in the world and the workplace. Leana provided insight into how the Talent Acquisition department has grown and changed in response to the “new normal.” Through an increasingly competitive job market, RES has given Leana and her team the tools to thrive in this “new” market. With support from the Culture and Talent Development team, Leana and her team have significantly improved their onboarding initiatives, including RES’ “Power On” program.  

A unique challenge the Talent Acquisition department faces is remote hiring. More candidates are seeking remote positions and conducting interviews through screens, forcing Talent Acquisition departments around the globe to adapt. Leana noticed most candidates prefer to work remotely (or in a hybrid model) after working remotely for the past few years. Leana’s most common feedback suggests that a remote or hybrid work model provides a better work-life balance.  

“Whether it is additional LinkedIn resources, or the diversity measures listed previously, it is amazing to work for a company that is supportive!”

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