Diversity & Inclusion | Succession Planning | Talent Strategy | Employee Safety | Employee Health & Wellness | Total Rewards Strategy | Employee Engagement | Employee Concerns | Union Connections

Updated: July 2020

Our more than 6,200 dedicated employees strengthen our company with their skills, experience and diverse perspectives.

Several key factors will impact the APS employee of the future. Many experienced employees are approaching retirement, making transfer of their knowledge and experience a key priority. As our industry adopts new technologies and our customers’ needs evolve, employees will need to be both technically and technologically fluent. Changing demographics are reshaping how employees think about and structure their careers—placing a growing emphasis on continuous training, targeted experiences and networking opportunities that broaden their experience.

We recognize that the next generation of employees has its own unique career expectations, and our business is evolving to accommodate the changing workforce. We are taking steps to support the changing needs, skills and priorities of our employees. We also continue to develop new strategies to attract and retain our highly skilled employees, and ensure they remain engaged during this time of change. For these and other reasons, our employees have an average tenure of 12 years.

Diversity & Inclusion

Respect and inclusion are core APS values, and we recognize that diversity of demographics, backgrounds and cultural perspective is a key driver for our success. Our efforts to support and empower employees include:

  • A focus on veteran employees. We were honored with the HIRE Vets Medallion Award (Nov. 2019), an honor established by President Donald Trump and presented by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Medallion Award recognizes a standard of excellence in veteran hiring and helps veterans identify employers who are committed to advancing veterans in the workplace. We were one of five Arizona companies honored with the inaugural Medallion Award and were the only Platinum winner in the state. Learn more about APS Veterans Programs.
  • A commitment to full inclusion. In August 2019, APS President Jeff Guldner signed the UNITY Pledge in support of full inclusion and equality in employment, housing and public accommodations for all Arizonans, including gay and transgender people. The UNITY Pledge reinforces our commitment to fostering an environment that recognizes our employees’ unique needs and celebrates the value of diverse perspectives. See Guldner’s LinkedIn post about signing the UNITY Pledge.

We continue to focus on hiring diverse employees as well as hiring employees from our veteran community. At the end of 2019, more than 45 percent of our workforce was diverse (ethnicity, race, gender) and 17.5 percent of our employees were veterans, nearly three times the annual VEVRAA benchmark for veteran employment.

Overall Employee Diversity

  • 32% of employees are ethnically or racially diverse
  • 24% are female
  • 17% are veterans

New Hires in 2019

  • 44% were ethnically or racially diverse
  • 29% were female
  • 17% were veterans

Our Executive Diversity Council drives this commitment with an emphasis on diversity among employees, in the workplace and through our community involvement, as well as an increased focus on attracting diverse talent. This focus extends to individual business units, which report on the diversity of their team during management review meetings to build awareness and address gaps of workforce diversity.

Succession Planning

Through a strong focus on succession planning, we ensure that our company is prepared to fill executive and other key leadership roles with capable, experienced employees. We continually fine-tune succession plans to make certain that qualified individuals are in place to move into critical positions. In 2019, the Board of Directors announced that Jeff Guldner would take on the role of CEO for APS. Our targeted succession plans were used to backfill his and other critical roles as positions and focus areas changed. We have strategically selected successors for our management team who we are confident will lead our company successfully into the future with continued strong and sustainable performance.

  • 83.3% of officers, including our CEO, were promoted from leadership positions within the company
  • 96% of officer positions have “ready-now” replacements identified
  • 100% of director-level positions have “ready-now” replacements identified

In addition, we assure that each business unit has talent management strategies and development plans to meet its future leadership needs. Effective succession planning helps us identify employees with leadership potential and also allows us to evaluate any gaps in education, skills and experience that need to be addressed to prepare those employees to move into leadership roles. At monthly management review meetings, executives and directors review how business units are addressing succession planning, leadership opportunities and retirement projections. A succession-planning structure at Palo Verde Generating Station has received worldwide recognition as an industry leader.

Learn about Pinnacle West Board Succession Planning Practices.

Talent Strategy

We place significant focus on attracting and developing a skilled workforce. To attract and retain top talent, we provide formal professional development programs through blended learning education and leadership training.

Professional development. Our employees have access to a wide variety of training and development opportunities, including leadership academies, rotational programs, mentoring programs, industry certifications and loaned executive programs. In 2019, we graduated 115 employees from leadership academies and provided hundreds of individual contributors with development across a broad spectrum of subjects.

In the leadership arena, our three-tiered leadership training program prepares emerging, new and experienced leaders to advance within the company. Each program emphasizes a blended learning approach, encompassing a mix of instructor-led sessions, on-demand self-paced learning, mentoring and project assignments and/or assessments.

  • Foundational Leadership Academy: Develops those possessing the desire, commitment and capability to move into a leadership role. The academy is for employees identified as high-potential individual contributors.
  • Leadership Academy: Focuses on developing the competencies and business acumen to be successful in their new roles. The academy is for new leaders and managers.
  • Advancing Leadership Academy: Develops high-potential frontline leaders for roles of greater scope and responsibility.
  • Leadership Impact Journey: This new program, for existing leaders and managers, is designed to build the participant’s skillset and create a common language among the leadership group. This program minimizes impact on the business by primarily leveraging an online learning portal, allowing participants to own their development at a self-guided pace.

Our open enrollment courses allow all employees an opportunity to select learning that targets various competencies and skills. In 2019, we offered 71 open enrollment courses attended by more than 950 employees. Some of our most popular courses for the year were Strategies for Influencing Others, Managing Meetings and Excel 2016.

New for 2019 was the introduction of Productivity Pathways, which leverages a combination of training modalities and on-demand resources to anchor development more fully toward a specific goal or competency. In alignment with the 70-20-10 model for adult learning, participants have access to live instructor-led courses as well as supplemental materials and tools designed for self-driven learning. Thirty participants successfully completed the two sessions of our inaugural Productivity Pathway launched this year.

Talent pipelines. Talent pipelines help sustain our skilled workforce needs. Pipeline strategies include our apprentice and rotational programs, including our pre-apprentice and engineering rotational programs. Additionally, our recruiters target specific colleges and programs of study that we have identified as talent pipelines.

  • 2019 Internship Program
    • 61 summer interns across the company
    • Acceptance rate of about 85% on offers made to eligible interns
    • 61% of interns were diverse
  • Incoming Engineer Programs
    • New Engineers in Operations Program (Fossil)
    • Legacy Engineer Program (Palo Verde)
    • Rotational Engineer Program (Transmission and Distribution)

Employee Safety

Employee safety is of paramount importance at APS. We develop safety practices and programs that ensure all employees have safe and secure workplaces that allow them to perform at the highest levels. Our comprehensive safety programs and our focus on human and organizational performance and injury case management contribute significantly to our strong safety performance.

Our industrial safety performance consistently ranks in the top quartile of investor-owned electric utilities, according to the most recent Edison Electric Institute (EEI) survey. Over the past 10 years, the number of APS employees seriously injured on the job has declined by 40 percent. Accomplishments for 2019 included the following:

  • Ended the year 2019 with 41 OSHA recordable injuries.
  • Lost work time cases due to OSHA recordable injuries decreased by over 35% in 2019 vs. 2018 results.
  • Minor injuries were down 29% as compared to 2018.

New strategies are driving continued improvements in our safety performance. We installed Remote Vehicle Telematics (RVT) on over 1,100 of our vehicles in 2018. This provided us the opportunity to improve vehicle driver performance and promote safe driving in 2019 based on real driver data. The installation of this technology inside vehicles allows us to monitor safety information such as harsh acceleration and braking, excessive speed by street and sharp cornering.

In 2019, the safety data visualization project led to the creation of an online dashboard to allow all employees to see where we stand in terms of both leading and lagging safety indicators. As we move into 2020, added emphasis on learning from good catches and close calls, and a focus on the potential for serious injuries, will help us in our efforts to see where opportunities exist to control and potentially eliminate risk to our workers.

As we continue to improve our safety performance, our ultimate goal remains serious injury reduction. Central to this objective is empowering our employees to take ownership of our safety culture through the expanded use of employee learning teams for systems safety improvement. Safety committees operate in organizations throughout the company, providing opportunities for frontline employees to positively impact their local safety cultures and performance.

Employee Health & Wellness

At APS, we care about the wellbeing of our employees. We know happy, healthy employees are more engaged, more productive and more satisfied. That’s why we encourage employees to participate in the Total Wellbeing program. 

Total Wellbeing inspires employees to take charge of their physical, financial, emotional and social wellbeing by providing tools to invest in their wellness and have fun while doing it. Employees can learn more about their wellbeing and how they can improve it when they participate in challenges and coaching. Challenges are tailored to employees based on their activity interests and interactions with the Total Wellbeing platform. Employees can also give and receive encouragement using the Community Feed.

Total Rewards Strategy

In addition to our talent strategy, we place significant focus on our Total Rewards strategy for attracting, developing and rewarding our highly skilled workforce. The robust Total Rewards package includes:

  • competitive base pay compensation
  • short-term incentives (for all employees)
  • pay-for-performance incentive plan
  • affordable medical and prescription drug plans
  • health savings account
  • income protection plans (in the form of paid sick time, short-term and long-term disability coverage)
  • vision and dental plans
  • wellness program
  • generous paid time-off plan (in addition to nine yearly paid holidays)
  • 401(k) plan
  • pension plan and retiree medical
  • paid parental leave
  • tuition reimbursement program

We offer a full suite of company-subsidized benefits to assure our employees and their families have appropriate benefits to meet needs.

Employee Engagement

An annual employee experience survey and focused quarterly pulse-surveys, administered by a third party, enable us to gather employee feedback, identify opportunities for improvement and compare our performance to other companies. We received 6,371 responses for our employee experience and pulse surveys in 2019.

Through the quarterly pulse and annual employee experience surveys, we track our Employee Experience Index, a set of seven questions that encompass some of the more important elements of a positive employee experience, including recognition, career development possibilities and pride in the organization. In 2019, our score on this important index was 82% of employees responding positively to the underlying items, which compares favorably to 76% for our energy/utility benchmark.

Based on survey results, business units and individual managers are encouraged to take meaningful actions to improve the employee experience. In response to past surveys, we have launched enterprise-wide initiatives focused on improving communication between employees and management as well as removing obstacles that prevent job success. Other initiatives driven by the survey have given employees more access to leadership and improved meeting efficiency. Our cross-functional Employee Engagement Council focuses on improving employee recognition across the organization.

We work to ensure that a positive work environment is maintained for all employees. Through an outreach initiative, we obtain feedback from new hires regarding their employee experience. In 2019, we integrated our employee experience surveys with onboarding surveys and exit interviews. Bringing together these elements allows us to get a more complete picture of the experience of an APS employee, from the time they join the company until they decide to depart.

Our Employee Network Groups promote engagement, inclusion and leadership opportunities. These ten self-organized, voluntary groups are formed around the basis of a common attribute, such as experience in the utility industry, gender, ethnicity or race, but each group is open to all employees.

Learn more about Employee Network Groups

Employee Concerns

Multiple avenues for resolving grievances are available to employees, including pursuing resolution through the chain of leadership, the Employee Relations department or the Ethics department. All employees receive annual training on processes and channels available for filing grievances. In addition, the Ethics department provides a third-party administered website for anonymous reporting of concerns. For union employees, a three-step process to file and resolve grievances is outlined in the collective bargaining agreement.

Learn more about employee options for reporting grievances.

Union Connections

Maintaining strong, long-term relationships with our union members is important to our success. Over 21% of APS employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 387. In January 2018, members of the IBEW Local 387 voted to ratify a two-year extension of a collective bargaining agreement through April 1, 2020. We expect to continue to have a positive, collaborative working relationship with union members in pursuit of our common goal of delivering safe, efficient and reliable energy to our customers.

In September 2017, security officers at Palo Verde Generating Station decertified their union affiliation with the United Security Professionals of America (USPA) International Union Local No. 08 following the expiration of a three-year collective bargaining agreement.

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