In 2018, AEP launched a Diversity & Inclusion Listening Tour – a process designed to hear firsthand the state of diversity and inclusion across our company. The listening tour gave employees a safe place to talk about diversity within AEP, to engage leaders and discuss ways to take ownership by cultivating a culture of inclusion. We held 54 sessions at 21 locations across the AEP service territory, reaching more than 700 employees.
Participants were asked to grade AEP and their local workplace on diversity and inclusion. Overall, 64 percent rated the company and their local workplaces an “A” or “B” but more than 25 percent gave us low marks. During the sessions, employees asked about the business case for diversity and inclusion – how it supports our business, employees, shareholders, communities and our customers. Participants also stressed the need for accountability, education and engagement from leadership and for change readiness – equipping leaders to have conversations with employees on these issues.
The second phase of the tour takes place in 2019. It will include sharing feedback with all participants and developing action plans to address site-specific biases.
Inclusive Leadership Education & Awareness
As part of our commitment to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge and as part of our strategic initiatives, executive leadership attended an Inclusive Leadership education and awareness session that focused on understanding and disrupting biased decision-making patterns in talent management. Based on feedback from senior executives, we will launch a 2019 leadership initiative with a goal to have 90 percent of all AEP leaders attend an Inclusive Leadership workshop.
In 2019, we began offering employees the choice of a multicultural holiday such as religious observances, cultural celebrations and federal holidays that are not currently observed by the company. This approach fosters a more openly inclusive work environment for all AEP employees.