Francesca Stone & Kristin Baker, Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management and automation, with 160,000 employees serving customers in over 100 countries. The greatest challenge for the company, due in large part to the nature of the sector, is gender diversity.

"A shift in culture deep within the business was necessary to deliver fundamental change"

Culture ambassadors Francesca Stone and Kristin Baker set out to develop ambitious and measurable D&I activities to meet the target of increasing the female workforce at all levels. A shift in culture deep within the business was necessary to deliver such a fundamental change. Internally, they sought to increase D&I awareness; support and encourage women in STEM; and educate the workforce on the impact of D&I.

Externally, they focused on recruitment efforts to encourage diversity; connecting with the marketplace; and sharing their story. They acquired financial investment in this area for the first time, which facilitated the development of third party partnerships to promote their story externally, and enabled a talent mapping exercise to be conducted, and community of female talents within the sector to be developed.

A playbook was designed, defining key actions that leaders and their teams could commit to, to ensure that progress was owned by all. A team of STEM ambassadors was created to inspire young women to launch STEM careers; visiting local science fairs, schools and careers events. A new partnership with Where Women Work, as well as showcasing the ‘HeforShe’ campaign, has had demonstrable impact.

Francesca and Kristin have led the implementation of this diverse range of tailored strategies and the results are tangible; with a 42% increase in the representation of women overall, and a 35% increase across leadership positions. Schneider Electric has now committed to implementing a salary equity process worldwide, covering 85% of the Group’s workforce.