One of the first things you learn as a leader is that you are accountable. For everything.
Just as you strive to provide your customers with the very best product — in my case, safe and reliable energy service — you are responsible for the well-being of every single employee on your production line.
If you want your company to be a great place to work, it is up to company leadership to find out what engages employees on an individual and collective level, and to make that happen. If you do not succeed in this area, you are accountable.
Leaders have to match the right people to the right roles. You have to provide opportunities for people to continue to learn and grow. You make sure employees have the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs most effectively. You deliver benefits that people find valuable to their particular life situations. You even have to make sure the elevators work and the bathrooms are clean. You are the leader, and this is your job.
Of course, you cannot accomplish all of this on your own. Personally, I have learned that leadership is getting great people on your team, and then getting out of their way. Whatever industry you are in, you certainly have to know your business. However, there is no way you can be a master of every single operation.
As the CEO, I’m responsible for making sure your lights come on and the natural gas keeps flowing, but I’m not the person repairing damaged wires or pipes if your service is interrupted. It’s my responsibility to create a culture where everyone understands that our success as individuals, and as a company, depends on supporting one another.
A few years ago, there was tremendous change at BGE as we became part of Exelon. As with any change of this magnitude, there were growing pains. We moved to quickly adopt many of the practices that had proven successful at the other utilities in the Exelon family. However, as I later learned from employees, they did not always understand the “why” behind the changes at the time they were taking place.
This revelation led us to take a step back and build in processes so that every employee understood how he or she was connected to our business strategy — before we executed. We also made sure we were seeking feedback every step of the way, and addressing it in real time.
Following this, we saw a marked improvement in employee engagement. Today, our employees can take pride in being a part of a top performing utility and understand that there are worthwhile results that stemmed from their hard work and commitment.
Something that did not have to change as part of our merger with Exelon was BGE’s cultural dedication to the community we serve. In fact, because of the merger, we have been able to take our community engagement to the next level and focus more deeply on economic development, skills training, job creation and investments with diverse suppliers. Our commitment is and always will be on building up all of our communities.
BGE employees are extremely civic-minded, volunteering more than 22,000 hours each year. As BGE’s leader, I am most proud of this and vigorously encourage our community partnerships. As we celebrate our 200th anniversary this year as one of Baltimore’s oldest residents, we continue to prioritize giving back and serving as a driving force for the region’s economy. By doing so, we ensure that all of us continue to grow and succeed together.
What makes a company a great place to work are the same elements that make a great corporate citizen — caring, commitment and accountability. This is my job.