Together, Employees Push on Glass Ceiling

Meet the SunCommon Team Working Towards Gender Equity

We celebrate diversity and inclusion, knowing that our workplace is better with a range of backgrounds, experiences and outlooks. And our customers enjoy seeing themselves in our makeup. So while solar industry employees nationally are just 28% female, SunCommon women make up 35% of our workforce. Yet we know that we can do better — to both attract great talent and make everyone here at SunCommon feel included. 

That’s why we try to be intentional and mindful of our biases here at SunCommon. Some of our most thoughtful, progress-minded employees know that this social justice work is never complete, and needs to be tackled head on. So they formed an in-office committee to address issues of gender equity.

They call themselves the Inclusioneers, and in 2018, their primary goal was to increase gender diversity across all teams at SunCommon, with a focus on changing the culture in the more traditionally male positions, like our installers, warehouse workers, sales reps, and executive team.

Change the Story A Call to Men Gender Equity Breakfast
Ted Bunch, Activist and Co-founder of A Call to Men, Talks to Vermont Business Leaders about How to Do Gender Equity Work Through Reflection on What It Means to Be a Man. A Dozen SunCommon Men Participated.

How we’re growing

In the last year, our Inclusioneers have brought about a number of wins for women in solar. After conducting a thorough review of our hiring materials and process, identifying barriers for non-male applicants, and working with our Human Resources team to make changes, the team has:

  • Created and implemented marketing strategies to highlight women in non-traditional roles.
  • Introduced a job shadowing program.
  • Removed gendered language in job descriptions, to appeal to a broader applicant pool.
  • Amended aspects of the hiring process to be more inclusive
  • Increased the number of female applicants in operations hiring pool.
  • Increased the number of women hired in non-traditional roles.

As a community minded company, we love to work with like-minded organizations. So we collaborate with Change the Story VT and Vermont Works for Women, who are part of a local coalition committed to leveling the playing field for women in the workforce.

Change the Story provided us resources such as conversation cards to spark dialogue, which the Inclusioneers posted in meeting spaces and common areas, and hosted a training attended by our leadership, focused on unlearning toxic masculinity.

The Inclusioneers’ research found that because we’re looking for people who have had prior relevant experience, when we hire new installers, for example, we tend to find more male applicants that match that experience profile. This is because men are pushed towards the construction and engineering sectors in ways women are simply not. To address this discrepancy, we need to show women they belong here too.

To that end, we are proud to partner with VWW to promote educating women in science and engineering at the Women Can Do conference, “Rosie’s Girls® Solar”, and other VWW summer camps. These are safe spaces for middle and high school age girls and gender non-conforming youth to try their hands at traditionally male-dominated trades.

SunCommon Staff All Hands
SunCommon's Vermont Staff at a monthly All-Hands Meeting
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