How Entergy’s town hall helped build a team of employee ‘game changers’

The webcast included the entire executive leadership team, and thousands of employees tuned in, leading to a win in the ‘DE&I Campaigns/Initiative: Town Hall’ category of Ragan’s 2021 CSR & Diversity Awards.

When nationwide protests for social justice began in spring 2020, Entergy’s leaders wanted to model behaviors they desired among employees by giving everyone a glimpse of the conversations they had been having regarding race. This led to the Office of the Chief Executive Town Hall on Race and Equality.

Moderated by the general counsel, the 90-minute webcast included every member of the executive leadership team, including the CEO. Some 6,300 Entergy employees—45% of its workforce—watched the town hall, which generated more than 360 positive comments.

The first step was to establish a foundation with employees. Entergy set the stage using platforms like its regular quarterly huddle (a virtual town hall) with executive leaders, along with its 2019 Integrated Report and targeted messaging for leaders. Entergy’s CEO began producing Sunday night videos from home for employees to discuss everything from work-life balance during the pandemic and business updates to messages about social justice.

Following the town hall event, each executive leadership team member crafted a message for employees outlining their commitment. Entergy Communications published key terms for leaders and employees to guide productive, meaningful conversations, as well as a backgrounder to show that this was the next step in an ongoing commitment to diversity.

Entergy’s semi-annual employee communications survey found that:

  • 80% of employees agreed with the statement, “I understand where the company is headed in the next few years and our plan for getting there” (up from 75% in 2019).
  • 85% of employees agreed, “I understand my role within the company’s strategic plan” (up from 78% in 2019).
  • 78% of employees agreed, “The company is moving in the right direction” (up from 70% in 2019).
  • 78% of employees agreed, “I feel respected, supported, empowered and included at work” (new question).

To build on the town hall’s momentum, Entergy HR launched training for 2,000 leaders. Approximately 40 employees became certified as “Game Changers”—diversity coaches tapped to champion DE&I and help support leaders in identifying specific needs in their respective organizations. Communications team members partnered with Game Changers and business leaders to create communications and action plans that outlined each organization’s needs and training and interventions that employees could expect.

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