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ESG 2020 Annual Report

Employees

Creating a Truly Empowered Workforce

SJI encourages employees to “bring their whole self to work” every day by fostering an inclusive work environment that engages and empowers employees.

Building a “Can Do” Culture

As One SJI, our collective ambition unites us under a singular vision, purpose and aspiration to build a “Can Do” culture that drives our success. Our core values of safety, service, community and inclusion foster diverse perspectives and champion our talented, dedicated employees.

We believe our employees are our most valuable asset. They think big, lead & inspire, deliver results and do the right thing. As part of our One SJI culture, we want to make sure every employee is accountable, empowered and included.

Employee Data

Together, our 1,121 employees drive growth for our business, deliver on our purpose and bring us closer to achieving our vision of a clean energy future.

218

corporate staff members

37

non-utility employees

866

utility company employees

42%

population represented by unions

Employee Engagement

​A highly engaged workforce is key to our growth and achieving our goals. 

At SJI, we encourage our employees to use their voices to build a high-performing and engaged culture. We conduct biennial engagement surveys and periodic pulse surveys to measure how we’re performing in these areas. 

Since we started surveying employees, their valuable feedback has enabled us to gain a better understanding of why people choose to work at SJI, what they value and why they choose to stay. We are committed to continuing the outreach and two-way dialogue needed to inform decision-making that aligns our workplace culture with the needs and expectations of our employees.

Pandemic Response
During 2020, we shifted most of our workforce to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also increased our efforts to both engage and ensure the emotional health and well-being of our employees during this unprecedented time through the following strategic initiatives:

  • Formed an Executive Pandemic and COVID-19 Task Force
  • Created a dedicated COVID-19 Information Hub for Employees
  • Equipped essential employees with the necessary PPE to protect their physical health
  • Leveraged our Employee Assistance Program to provide resources, training and support to promote emotional health and well-being
  • Conducted pulse surveys to ensure the psychological safety and well-being of our workforce and gather employee feedback
  • Engaged our Employee Resource Groups to drive inclusion through virtual events and activities
  • Offered courses on best practices for working and managing remotely
  • Provided ergonomics training to ensure physical safety while working remotely
  • Established a Suggestion Committee for employees to share ideas to improve the workplace
  • Enhanced time off benefits
  • Offered education sessions and incentives for COVID-19 Vaccination
  • Began the development and communication of a Return to Workplace plan with a focus on ensuring employee safety"

Keeping Employees Connected
In addition to our engagement efforts in response to the pandemic, we continued to focus on delivering on employee needs and expectations, while also connecting employees with one another and our purpose.

SJI Today
SJI Today, our intranet, offers opportunities for employees to provide feedback and get involved in different initiatives. We continued to develop more employee-driven content and features, leveraging this employee communication channel to recognize our employees and keep them informed of important company news. Our Diversity Corner within the site provides an opportunity for us to promote a culture of inclusion by highlighting employees from various backgrounds and learning about their professional and personal experiences. Recent examples of these highlights are from our Black, Asian, LGTBTQ and disability communities .

Video Communications
We introduced video communications to help employees feel more connected, despite being socially distanced for much of the year. Video communications focused on pandemic updates, features with leadership and more.

Monthly One SJI Newsletter
We stayed consistent in delivering a monthly newsletter to all employees called One SJI. In the newsletter, we focused on timely and important messages, employee recognition and information on key dates and events. The newsletter served as an important tool in our employee engagement efforts, keeping all employees well informed of the same top-priority messages every month and celebrating our successes.

Monthly Managers’ Checklist
We continued with our data-driven checklist that provides information and visual support to encourage managers in their efforts to effectively and in a timely manner share consistent messages with their employees across the organization. We also solicited feedback from people managers on how we can best support them through the checklist and introduced huddle meetings focused on the same topics with Human Resources and managers to support effective cascading of messages.

Engagement Weeks
We completed our second year of quarterly engagement campaigns to better connect employees to corporate strategic objectives through two-way communications and activities ranging from recognition boards, sharing of stories and more focused on topics including:

  • Women’s Week – recognizing Women’s history month and celebrating the contributions of our female employees.
  • Customer Week – celebrating the achievement of customer count milestones and recognizing the importance of our customers and providing them with an excellent experience through everything we do.
  • Collective Ambition Week – introducing employees to our new Collective Ambition that unites us under a singular vision, purpose, and aspiration.
  • Health & Wellness Week – educating employees on the resources available to them to support their overall health and well-being.

Town Hall Meeting
We hosted our first company-wide town hall meeting in 2020. This created opportunities for two-way dialogue, giving employees a voice in the larger corporate strategy conversation. This event will be held annually to support both collaboration and engagement in our corporate strategy.

Diversity and Inclusion

At SJI, we operate as One SJI.

Together, we’re committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, where we value differences and work together to better serve each other, our key stakeholders and the communities we serve.

Our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) efforts are rooted in three tenets: talent, supplier diversity and community partnerships. These tenets are the foundation of our program and represent our D&I Strategy.

Diversity & Inclusion

Our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is central to who we are at SJI, with Inclusion as a core value in our Collective Ambition that unites us under a singular vision, purpose and aspiration.

Our values are inextricably linked to the work we do every day, as they govern our behavior and demand a commitment to personal excellence. They are not just the traits of character to which we hold our leaders – every employee is responsible for upholding each of these values in their work, every day.

That’s why at SJI, we’re all responsible for fostering a culture that values differences, creates a sense of belonging and encourages everyone to be their best self by the way we conduct ourselves and treat one another.

We deliver safe, reliable, affordable clean energy to more than 700,000 customers across 14 New Jersey counties. We serve a population diverse in experiences, background and thought. To best serve our customers, we believe our company, our suppliers and the way we support our communities should reflect that diversity.

TALENT
At SJI, we work to build a culture of inclusion where employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day – regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, generation, disability status or any other distinguishing difference that makes up a diverse workforce. We support courageous conversations to grow in our D&I journey and we seek diverse talent to make our business stronger. Learn more about Talent Acquisition and Development here.

SUPPLIER DIVERSITY
Our Supplier Diversity Program helps us support diverse businesses in the communities we serve and provide them with opportunities to grow as our organization grows. When we work with diverse suppliers, we’re supporting our values as an organization – helping our company and local economy reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Learn more about Supplier Diversity here.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
We’re a dedicated community partner. As part of our D&I strategy, we support diverse community organizations. These partnerships help us to establish deeper relationships with our customers and the communities we serve. We invest time and money to support these essential organizations and also partner with customers to help them with their energy costs through assistance and energy efficiency programs. Learn more about our Community Partnerships here.

A Workplace Culture Built on Diversity and Inclusion

For us to succeed, we must continue to work collaboratively. We all represent a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and thought, and we are a stronger One SJI because of it.

We work to build a culture of inclusion where every employee feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day. Our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace is reflected in our workplace demographics summary which outlines our generational, gender and ethnic employee composition.

In 2020, our commitment took on even greater importance following news events that brought to light the racial and social injustice that exists around us. To strengthen diversity and inclusion across the organization, we’ve taken several meaningful steps that will continue to foster a culture of belonging long into the future.

Diversity Council
We launched our Diversity Council to support our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment where we value and develop employees of all backgrounds and experiences. This cross-disciplinary committee, reports in to senior leadership,  and consists of a diverse representation of key leaders charged with providing strategic guidance to the company around all corporate diversity and inclusion priorities including talent, community partnership and supplier diversity while also  serving as champions for diversity and inclusion. 

Listening Sessions
To increase awareness and gather ideas for how we should continue to strengthen our culture of inclusion, we’ve introduced listening sessions. These listening sessions give employees from various backgrounds a chance to share their unique perspectives about inclusion at SJI in order to increase awareness and further inform our D&I strategy. They also provide a chance for members of the Diversity Council and members of senior management to learn about perceived gaps and opportunities at SJI related to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion Study
We conducted an in-depth D&I study and review of external best practices to better understand our strengths and identify areas of opportunity across the company to further inform our strategy.

Diversity and Inclusion Tools and Resources
We expanded our delivery and sourcing of relevant diversity and inclusion training to equip leaders with tools and resources for meaningful diversity discussions. In an effort to build consciousness and awareness of diversity and inclusion we sourced tools, resources and trainings focused on:

  • Unconscious Bias
  • Having Crucial Conversations
  • Communicating Across Cultures
  • Civil Treatment
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Engagement Pulse Survey
To provide all employees an opportunity to provide feedback, we completed several pandemic-focused engagement pulse surveys. Responses helped us understand our progress on navigating the global pandemic, as well as fostering an engaged and inclusive environment. This data also informed our pandemic response plans and return to work planning, making sure that our future represents the needs of our diverse workforce. We also incorporated additional questions related to inclusion into our biannual engagement survey. As a result, SJI has a baseline measurement for inclusion, a comparison to external benchmarks and further input into our D&I strategy.

Employee Resource Groups



Employee Resource Groups play a critical role in driving employee engagement, fostering an inclusive and collaborative workplace, developing employees, broadening community partnerships and attracting diverse talent to join SJI.

Each Employee Resource Group focuses on workforce development, community partnerships, employee engagement and fostering inclusion. Participation and support of the groups’ initiatives are vital for our continued growth as One SJI, where everyone can bring their best selves to work.

We currently have four Employee Resources Groups that serve to further engage our workforce. These include:

  • SJAABE – American Association of Blacks in Energy:  American Association of Blacks in Energy is a national association of energy professionals dedicated to ensuring African Americans and other minorities have input into the development of energy policy regulations, research and development technologies and environmental issues. SJAABE provides SJI associates the opportunity to mentor high school and college student, provide scholarships and community service and to network with others in the industry.  Because of the commitment to providing this resource for its employees the South Jersey Chapter of AABE is sponsored by SJI.
  • Emerging Leaders: The mission of Emerging Leaders is to develop, equip and retain Emerging Leaders through targeted initiatives and programs encouraging innovation, professional growth and development.
  • WLI – Women’s Leadership Initiative: The mission of SJI's Women’s Leadership Initiative is to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters an employee’s career by building strong work relationships through networking, skill development and community outreach.
  • VETS – Veteran’s Engagement Team: The mission of the SJI Veterans Employee Resource Group is to improve the organization through engaging Veteran employees and using their experience as an asset to the company, addressing issues unique to the Veteran community, and support initiatives, both at SJI and in our service area, that help those who proudly served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
All of these diversity and inclusion efforts help make SJI a stronger and healthier company and community partner.

Talent Acquisition and Development

Our talented employees make SJI a great place to work.

 

To help our employees truly thrive, we emphasize the importance of recruiting the best talent to help us meet our strategic priorities. Our approach to talent acquisition is focused on both our current and potential employees.

At SJI, we pride ourselves on developing internal talent and capitalizing on opportunities to provide our employees with roles that will grow and challenge them. In our external recruiting, we look for talented individuals with strong technical skills, a creative vision and the ability to thrive in a highly collaborative and dynamic environment. Internally, we also focus on fostering the next generation of leaders through our development programs for early career talent.

During the final quarter of 2020, we transformed our Talent Acquisition organization to further align with the growth and evolution of our business. This transformation has revolved around both operational and strategic enhancement, with a focus around expanding our talent network, brand, experience, efficiency, connectivity, collaboration, community and pipeline growth. In 2021, we’ll also be looking to develop greater alignment with our Employee Resource Groups to further share our SJI story and build our network. Through these efforts, we’re developing bench strength and equipping SJI with the strong leaders and talented contributors that will help us achieve our goals.

Also, in 2020, we welcomed 106 new employees to SJI and 10% of our employee population assumed new roles and responsibilities through a combination of filling open positions and in-line promotions. Through our early career talent development programs, we also welcomed 17 new employees. Our development programs include:

  • IGNITE - our internship program for college students.
  • POWER - our rotational leadership development program for early career talent.
  • Partnership with Atlantic County Institute of Technology – our training program for high school seniors.

This was an unprecedented year for recruitment due to the pandemic and a decrease in the overall number of available positions in comparison to 2019. There were noted decreases in interviews, offers and starts, with the largest decreases noted with white females.  In 2021, SJI will work to address this decrease through the building of brand awareness and connectivity in and with the external market by:

  • Driving greater alignment and connectivity with our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs); we will be collaborating with and across our ERGs to drive our newly created referral program.
  • Focusing on enhancing our community visibility and connectivity to further build our brand.
  • Enhancing the steps within our candidate lifecycle in Workday to allow for a far greater level of data, trends and analysis that will help us address areas of opportunity to drive our strategy forward.
  • Improving our Career Site to attract a larger pool of talent (will include more information around our D&I focus).
  • Implementing a Candidate Relationship Management/Recruitment Marketing platform that will enable us to build and connect with broader talent communities.
  • Enhancing the sourcing technology we use to provide opportunities to reach and review a broader network of talent.

In addition to talent acquisition, SJI is focused on training, professional development and performance management to help our employees advance themselves and their careers.

 

Training
Through our corporate university, Empower U, aspiring and appointed management employees can develop critical leadership skills and hone industry knowledge. Training opportunities provide employees at every level the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to grow with the organization.

During 2020, employees benefitted from a wide range of training modules offered through Empower U.  Trainings focused on relevant topics ranging from professional development, business skills, leadership development, safety and cybersecurity. Collectively, employees gained close to 6,000 hours of relevant training to support their professional development.

Professional Development
To maintain our commitment to develop and retain high-potential talent, SJI offers a Leadership Development Program for highly talented early- to mid-career leaders. The program was designed to develop the next level of leaders at SJI and create a ready-now talent pool to help replenish the anticipated attrition due to pending retirements over the next few years.

Additionally, SJI offers a comprehensive Tuition Reimbursement program to all eligible employees. This program assists employees pursuing certificates as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees, empowering them to contribute in new ways to the organization.

Employee Performance
SJI’s Performance Management Process (PMP) ensures that employees are getting the regular feedback and development needed to build capabilities, improve performance and drive a high-performing culture. The overall success of this performance management process involves aligning employee's individual goals with the organization's goals to drive engagement and produce positive business results.

Looking ahead, we will continue to identify opportunities to help our employees learn, grow and get the most out of their careers with SJI.