How the right technology empowers utility employees in a new era of work.
We all depend on utilities and the people that work for them. Globally, investors estimate the utilities market value will reach $8,105b by 2026.
Without committed, skilled workers servicing our water, gas, electricity, and sewerage facilities, we would be without the critical infrastructure we need for everyday life.
At the same time, the industry is undergoing considerable evolution – adopting new business models, moving to a new energy mix, and shifting to smart grids, distributed energy generation, and other digitally-enabled technologies. A recent study reveals that the pandemic accelerated digital implementation in 45% of utility companies.
Yet, in the current climate, many utility firms struggle to attract the next generation of employees. The sector faces a growing skills shortage, with over 30% of utility workers in the US now close to retirement.
To reverse this trend, utility organizations must focus on the employee experience – investing in solutions that help increase productivity and provide rewarding career paths for individual workers, regardless of their role or level of expertise.
Employee experience: what’s holding utility organizations back?
Several factors can affect a utility’s ability to deliver an optimal employee experience for its people:
Lack of digital HR tools and solutions
When companies manage the employee experience manually, it’s easy for things to get overlooked or for opportunities to fall through the cracks. Many utilities still use dated technology to manage core infrastructure like payroll and HR, which limits efficiencies, impacts the employee experience, and even increases potential vulnerability to cyber-attack.
Insufficient health and safety precautions
While health and safety are critical priorities in utilities, many organizations are lagging. Recent research reveals that 87% of utility sector worksites in the US operate with a “negative safety culture.”
Growing complexity in skills
Utilities expect their workers to have increasing expertise with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and machine learning, and sustainability. Employers bear a heavy onus to find employees with these skills or to up-skill existing workers.
Need to support hybrid/remote working
Traditionally, employees at utilities firms have been on-site. Due to Covid-19, there is now more flexibility in how back-office or managerial employees work. Managing this newly flexible and disparate workforce is a challenge for many utilities, particularly in the delivery of learning and development.
Why the employee experience is critical to utilities
Covid-19 aside, the utilities sector is also under pressure to achieve digital transformation and meet rigorous sustainability targets. Energy companies especially need to shift their reliance on coal-generated sources of power.
To continue thriving, utility firms need to attract and retain employees with specific and increasingly complex skills.
Companies must deliver a positive employee experience at every step of the HR lifecycle – from when a person is first interested in a role, to onboarding, during their tenure, and through their departure.
Here are a few things we know about how an optimal employee experience can benefit a company:
More productive workers
Utility employees working for companies that champion workforce wellbeing and quality put significantly more effort into their work.
Better leverage of existing skills
When employees’ specific needs and skills are fully understood, there’s a greater likelihood the company will benefit from them.
Greater likelihood of referring other employees
Workplaces with a culture of continuous learning are more likely to be recommended by their employees.
More long-term tenure
Ensuring workers can continually develop and grow their skills is essential for compliance and staff retention.
Better customer service
Happier, more motivated employees are more likely to deliver better customer service both in a business and retail context.
How digital HCM solutions can make all the difference
Utilities must put the right technology, systems, and processes in place to deliver positive, rewarding employee experiences.
Data-led insights at every step of the employee lifecycle can help employers make better decisions, identify growth opportunities, and automate time-consuming manual processes. They can also ensure they’re hiring the best candidates, engaging their employees, developing the skills of today and tomorrow, and ensuring every employee is involved and valued.
Canadian-owned utility Fortis BC is a great example of an employee-centered experience in action. Recently, this business upgraded and centralized its learning management system to ensure adherence to growing regulatory and compliance requirements.
The company is now better positioned for future growth, with a central, streamlined system for learning and a single source of truth for learning-related data and information.
Download Our White Paper
For more information on how utility firms can succeed by offering an improved employee experience, download our white paper:
How can Rizing help?
Rizing is a leading SAP services and solutions firm with deep expertise in human capital management, employee experience, and total workforce management.
We help utilities accelerate their digital transformation by providing best-practice HR technology based on SAP SuccessFactors, Qualtrics, and Workforce software solutions, supporting the end-to-end experience for employees and contingent workforces.