Nexamp: Working on DEI at All Levels
While Nexamp’s core mission is to ensure that all communities can participate in the clean energy transition, the tragic events in the summer of 2020, beginning with the murder of George Floyd, made Nexamp recognize that the company needed to do more on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and have a systematic approach that involves everyone. All team members were invited to join a DEI Committee- anyone with an interest could join. Nexamp wanted a bottom-up approach where any staff member could raise concerns, share ideas, and drive change from the inside out. The DEI Committee has four areas of focus: talent acquisition (diverse hires), data and metrics, work/life (inclusive environment) and partnerships (making sure communities benefit, with a focus on construction). The Committee gathers ideas from the whole organization and then runs an application process to turn ideas into viable programs. Application proposals are reviewed and approved by the DEI Steering Committee, which is made up of four members of the Nexamp executive team.
The Steering Committee was created after Nexamp realized that many of its 350 employees had ideas that were coming up through the DEI Committee, but there was no established structure to secure resources or get executive attention to move the ideas forward. This meant that the initial efforts were not well coordinated and decisions were not transparent. The purpose of the DEI Steering Committee is to coordinate efforts across the four focus areas so efforts are not duplicated and ensure a clear decision making process for DEI initiatives. It also ensures ideas get the attention of the executive team.
Nexamp has found that having a formal and clear structure has been critical in making changes to make the company more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. In addition, starting small prevented the company from getting stuck trying to fix everything at once. The company’s goal is to get better year over year. One example of the success of this approach is that to become more inclusive, Nexamp changed its PTO policy so there are more non-denominational company holidays such as Memorial Day, Election Day, Labor Day and others, and staff are given five flex holidays so they can celebrate holidays of their choosing. Another example is the DEI Committee championing a change to the parental leave policy, giving each parent (not just birth mothers) up to twelve weeks of parental leave to care for and bond with their child. This policy extends to adoptions and foster care placements as well. Nexamp also has an open paid time off policy so staff can take the time they need to ensure their wellbeing.