In 2010, Southern Company introduced several changes to its benefits program to align with other large employers and to better meet the diverse, multi-generational interests of employees and recruits. One significant change was the addition of domestic-partner benefits, which DiversityInc had been urging the company to add, to create more equality for LGBT employees.
Other changes included parental leave, maternity leave and adoption reimbursement. The company has increased its relationships with external multicultural organizations, for example, serving as a sponsor for the 2011 Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner. Southern Company also has been working hard to increase the diversity of its talent pool. For example, this year, the company hosted two interns with visual impairments for a three-month rotation as a result of a partnership with the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta. And recent efforts in military recruiting led to Southern Company being one of 15 recipients of the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Southern Company’s leadership clearly understands the importance of diversity management in terms of talent development, innovative work solutions and the ability to connect with customers. The company has escalated its efforts in recent years and shows every indication of doing even more.
Award accepted by Susan Story, CEO, Southern Company Services:
“The ability to be named in the same breadth as the companies we have heard from tonight is extraordinary. We believe in a working environment that allows every single employee to develop to his or her full potential … One of the measures we get paid on is how well we do in the DiversityInc survey. We did improve our employee benefits significantly but another thing we’ve improved upon is our military recruiting. At the end of the day, we know that investing in our communities makes us stronger as a company; and when we invest in our communities, they invest in us.”