Ask Watt is a safe space to anonymously ask any question you might have about work life

We aim for Ask Watt to be a place that enables all in the sector to find support and an understanding that there are others who are facing the same challenges as you, you are not alone. We hope this emboldens more of us to seek support but also drive changes both big and small in our organisations through starting to establish sector norms. We are supported by Convergent Consulting to ensure a focus on inclusivity as we answer each question.

 

Questions that have reached us:

 
How can I tell if someone’s behavior is inappropriate? Could it just be their personality, are they joking? What should I do?

If you are questioning someone’s behaviour then first check in with yourself – does the behaviour make you feel uncomfortable? If so, then how? Is this person in a position of power/authority? Has this happened before or is this the first time?

As you check in with yourself, you could take a note of the situation, this can help you gain clarity and have a record of what happened. Ensuring you track date, situation/environment, what happened and how it made you feel – your feelings are legitimate. 

It might help you to define the behaviour, does your company have an employee handbook or HR policies that you can refer to to understand where this behaviour fits? If not you could also read this resource to help you look to define the behaviour. Please note this link is UK based and has been used due to its clear definitions, for all legal aspects you shall have to refer to your countries employment act.

Following checking in with yourself and defining the behaviour, you have a few options:

  1. If you feel safe and comfortable to do so, can you bring up the behaviour with the individual? You can ask them what they meant by the behaviour (was it a joke?) and give them the opportunity to correct it. Clarify how it made you feel and your boundary/limit(that this is inappropriate to you). We understand this action may be more unlikely if it is your own manager or someone else that is in power. 
  2. If they are, are you able to talk to your manager about it or a peer? They can then give you the support to take the next step to approach your manager or HR feeling less alone. If you just talk to your peer without taking action there is unlikely to be a shift in the situation, so use this as a way to gain confidence and support in taking action. And if possible talk to HR or a Manager who you feel safe approaching if you do not have an HR. Or is there another route that you can submit employee issues – maybe there is a grievance channel? If the incident is a grievance (as per the policies you looked up above) remember you are allowed to take a companion to all meetings so that you are not alone.

Ensure whenever you bring it up it is in a professional setting, if possible a quiet meeting room. However, if you are a one room office maybe there is a space just outside it that you are able to have a quiet conversation still seen as an “office” location? 

And as you go through this remember: your feelings are legitimate and protecting yourself is your first priority.

Additional Resources:
About The Framework — Just Work (justworktogether.com)
Stop Making Excuses for Toxic Bosses (hbr.org)
When and How to Respond to Microaggressions (hbr.org)

My job pays the white people in my office more than they pay us even though it feels like we are doing the same job. No one wants to address this openly but my colleagues talk about it alot outside work. Should we approach HR?

This is a difficult place to be because the issues of race and justice are very hard for many people to speak about (in any sector) and pay is always a sensitive subject too. Firstly are you able to gather any information that can help to either prove your suspicion or not? Ask yourself, how can you know if this is a real situation, how can i know for sure? Could you perhaps talk to your colleagues? Do they have any concrete information? Is there an ally who would approach HR with you to get some clarity?

We would advise that you approach the topic as a discussion on equal pay and resist the urge for confrontation. Go to your direct manager (if you can) to talk about how you are feeling and any information you might have. Then make suggestions to avoid these issues in the future. You could  suggest pay transparency through them being published openly or other ideas that would make you feel more comfortable with the situation/address the problem. Remember this is not only good for you..pay equity has been shown to be good for business too. The resource at the end can give you more information and help you to think about potential solutions.

If your manager is unwilling to help then  take this to HR or a senior manager you feel you can speak to. There is  information coming out about lack of racial justice in energy access,so  it’s possible there is a problem and that you aren’t the only person affected by it. Whilst we acknowledge this is not an easy conversation to have, we encourage you to engage openly with your employer, bring facts and data where you can and work with them to find a solution you are satisfied with.

Additional Resources:
What Is Pay Equity?
How to Identify — and Fix — Pay Inequality at Your Company
How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace

 

We need your input

This is a start, but we want and need to do more.

We want to create safe work spaces for everyone. We know that we need to work together to create better Inclusivity in energy access, across organisations, institutions and all stakeholders within the ecosystem.

To do this we need your input, we need your help to understand what makes you feel safe at work. To kick off we have a survey click here.

We wait for your questions

If you are interested in talking to us on this and other initiatives, we would love to hear from you. Let’s discuss how we can work together and how we can support your initiatives or share your experiences, please reach out. You can also reach us
by email: safeenergyspaces@gmail.com
by whatsapp at +254 798 824402

We can’t wait to hear your ideas, questions and any programmes or initiatives you are working on. 

Responsible for the content of this page: safeenergyspaces@gmail.com