Approaching Inclusivity

June 19, 2023 Terry Sobolewski

At Franklin Energy, our values are succinct: We inspire. We innovate. We are inclusive. Today, I want to talk a little bit about what it truly means to be an inclusive organization.

To become an organization that not only recognizes but also celebrates diversity among its employees, you must start from the ground up. This involves taking a look at your past, identifying opportunities for improvement, being open to suggestions and ideas, and avoiding assumptions. While Franklin Energy has always been a welcoming organization, we seized the opportunity to formalize this stance several years ago. We believe that if you aren’t being actively inclusive, you risk being passively exclusive.

When we began to formalize our approach to driving a welcoming and inclusive environment, we established our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Roundtable to provide a forum for gathering and implementing ideas from our own employees. Since then, we’ve added a couple more letters; we now refer to it as DEI&B, which stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. This growth derived from the idea that equity and inclusion are not the same but each deserve their own acknowledgement. And we can hire a diverse staff but that doesn’t matter if each individual doesn’t feel like they truly belong in our organization.

When building and maintaining an inclusive culture, one of the key components is making sure every person feels valued. This means creating space for all ideas and genuinely listening to each of them. When an organization spans the nation and its workforce includes people of all ages, ethnicities, education levels, experiences, and so much more, it’s important to never underestimate the value of the wide range of ideas being brought to the table. The only way to grow is to innovate, and we believe our inclusive culture is the key to our innovation.

Our Director of DEI&B, Mark Sebree, said something once that really stuck with me. He said, “DEI&B is not about inviting others into our space. It’s about creating a whole new space that we can all be a part of and where we all have equal footing.” That may seem like a slight difference, but I think it’s a really important one. It’s something that allows me to reorient myself every day. I know in the past I’ve been guilty of trying to invite employees into the “Franklin family,” as we like to call it, rather than considering how we create a Franklin Energy for the future—one we can all share equally.

As we move forward, we are fully committed to consciously creating not only a welcoming environment, but an atmosphere where each person is equal. Where long-time veterans and those brand-new to the industry are equally valued for their unique perspectives. And ultimately, where each person feels like they truly belong at Franklin Energy.


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