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Non-Executive Director for employee engagement

17 Jun 2022

I have been hugely grateful of the opportunity to re-connect with colleagues in person after the unique challenges which coronavirus presented across 2020/21. Recognising that virtual platforms provided an inclusive means of ‘travelling’ to different locations, we have retained a hybrid approach to engagement, delivering a more rounded and flexible means of keeping in touch with employee sentiment.

Work across the year has continued to support constructive engagement on employee survey results and business-led action plans – which saw a session with Airtricity colleagues in Ireland and a virtual employee-wide call; alongside new thought provoking sessions with the leads of Belonging in SSE Groups, which will be a biannual occurrence going forward. The essence of engaging, listening and sharing lived experiences cannot be captured through measured survey responses alone, and direct insights from colleagues is an invaluable way of deepening Board understanding of how our people feel.

Our dialogue remains two way and questions are always invited on Board-led developments. With SSE’s strategy dependant on the collective skills of its diverse workforce I was able to share Board views in the lead up to COP26, meeting with Distributed Energy team members in Perth and attending virtual Thermal Town Hall sessions. A consistent observation is the personal commitment to SSE’s purpose, and colleagues should continue to recognise the contribution they make to SSE’s net zero ambitions.

From my constructive engagements, notable priorities which have been identified to support future work, and which have been reported to the Board, are:

  • A continued pledge to support colleague wellbeing, with a particular focus on mental health for frontline workers.
  • Confidence in levels of employee support as society continues to adapt to the evolving coronavirus pandemic.
  • Focus on the value of SSE’s ‘Flexible First’ working approach as a core enabler of employee engagement.
  • A retained central focus on safety.

Meetings with trade union FTOs and JNCC colleagues, at least twice each year, have also continued, building on the foundations of a well-established relationship and supporting the formal industrial relations activities led by the executive team. This relationship is underpinned by openness, inclusivity and transparency whilst respecting our respective roles, allowing diverse views to be heard by the Board, in a pro-active and timely way. The collaborative role of Group HR ensures that responsive business-led action can be channelled directly to senior leaders and informs the overall engagement approach.

I would like to reiterate the Board’s pride in the continued achievements of our employees, and the strength of culture which is evident across our engagements.

Dame Sue Bruce
Non-Executive Director for
Employee Engagement