For the third year running, BTE Renewables has qualified as a Standard Bank Top Gender Empowered organisation, testament to the company’s dedication to organisational diversity and inclusion. Diversity, equity, and inclusion fits into the company’s vision as it is important to its culture as an enabler of fostering creativity, fresh perspectives, and understanding across the organisation.
Speaking to Lerato Nonyane, HR Director, she explains their strategic approach, “Gender diversity and inclusion is closely linked to our vision of combatting gender inequality in our organisation and we do so by ensuring that we are accountable and flexible in our recruitment and retention strategies. Furthermore, we have quantifiable objectives and work closely with our leaders to ensure culture shaping initiatives, which are key drivers.”
As reported in the most recent BTE Sustainability Report (2022), the company has successfully demonstrated its continued commitment to providing a sound working environment for its employees, creating a fair, diverse, safe, healthy, and rewarding working environment for all.
This approach is key, considering that the renewable energy sector faces the challenge of retaining key talent due its competitive nature. Underlying this challenge is that some of BTE Renewables’ work takes place in remote areas across rural communities, which takes employees far from home.
“It’s about continuously trying to be innovative and intentionally creating a work culture that promotes individual development and growth by perpetuating a lifetime of learning that maximises long term positive investment in our people,” Nonyane added.
“Diversity and inclusion continue to be key focus areas, and we’re proud to say that in the last reporting year, all of our metrics improved due to active recruitment and a focus on career path development for our promising female employees. We already had a strong representation of women in leadership positions throughout the organisation, but this approach led to an increase to 57% of female Head of Departments in 2022, with the same proportion in Senior Management positions. The overall representation of women in the workforce also showed good improvement, and in South Africa, the proportion of women in the workforce rose to 55%,” explained Nonyane.
The company’s talent management is essential to their gender development agenda, and as with training, which is encouraged for staff development, the aim is to equip the team for bigger and better opportunities.
“I’m a firm believer in talent development and management, which is one thing we have prioritized these last two years. We work closely with the BBBEE and Economic Development departments, to make sure that our training fits with the imperatives across the company. We ensure that every training initiative we enrol our staff on is fit for purpose – we think of the impact of the training here at BTE Renewables and beyond – it’s motivating to see how well the women are doing as part of the training initiatives. We believe that even if employees leave us, we have left a legacy on the life of that employee,” said Nonyane.
The company’s Senior Health and Safety Manager, Leticia Vos, who is also the deputy Chair of the South African Wind Energy Association’s Gender Diversity Working Group, together with Social Performance Manager, Zandile Deliwe, are part of the renewable energy sector’s ‘Management Development Programme for Women in Renewable Energy’. Designed by Wits Business School, to help drive diversity in the industry, the programme is intended to develop women for senior positions and it is encouraging that feedback from participants suggests that the content is necessary for their growth in the industry.
“We put Leticia and Zandile forward for this development programme, not only because of their performance, but because we believe they will make a meaningful contribution to the industry as a whole,” concluded Nonyane.