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


Updated: March 2021

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

Several factors will impact the APS employee of the future. Many are approaching retirement, making transfer of their knowledge and experience a top priority. As our industry adopts new technologies and our customers’ needs evolve, employees will need to be 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 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 strategies to attract and retain 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, Equity & Inclusion

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is a key force driving the APS Promise and Principles. Inclusive behaviors support all three of our Principles, and they are foundational to Empower Each Other. By taking actions to include each team member, we create a culture of trust that allows us to embrace diverse perspectives, create psychological safety for challenging respectfully, and unite as a team. 

Our Philosophy 

At APS, we believe that belonging matters. When we feel seen, heard and valued, we can more effectively unite behind our APS Promise. We create this sense of belonging through our commitment to inclusionwhich involves embracing the unique perspectives of each employee. True inclusion brings greater appreciation for our diversity. This allows us to equitably leverage our powerful workforce so we cansuccessfully bring our APS Promise to life.  

 

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is demonstrated in numerous ways, internally and externally, including:

  • Evolved Inclusion Council.  Our revitalized Inclusion Council includes a Steering Committee and Executive Advocate group. In 2021, we will be adding an Employee Advisory Board to expand stakeholder representation and an Inclusion Working Team to drive progress.
  • Robust, long-standing Employee Network Groups. Our 10, self-organized Employee Network Groups (ENGs) were formed around the basis of common attributes. These groups are open to all APS employees and promote engagement, inclusion, and leadership opportunities through programs and activities. Our ENGs support employees, provide educational opportunities, and navigate current events with significant impact. We have 1,000+ employee members across our ENGs.
  • Listening sessions with executive participation. We held listening sessions with multiple employee groups to learn more about inclusion at APS and areas for growth and development. Officers attended each session. Feedback was shared with the entire officer team and incorporated into our diversity, equity and inclusion roadmap. The sessions proved powerful for everyone involved and will be continued and expanded in 2021. 
  • Ongoing community partners for recruiting diverse talent. In the past three years, an average of one-third of the Company’s pre-apprentice programs hires for lineman, electrician and polyphase meterman positions were ethnically diverse. This is an example of the Company’s recruiting efforts centering on ensuring a diverse slate of candidates to reinforce equality for all roles. APS partners with the following organizations to recruit diverse talent into the Company’s internship and emerging talent pipelines: American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Hispanic Business Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Student Veterans, Women's Business Leaders Association at Arizona State University. 

 

Recently, the Company’s efforts to build a diverse, inclusive environment have received recognition such as: 

  • Parent company Pinnacle West Capital Corporation is one of only eight Arizona-based companies included in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index.
  • APS received the Torch of Liberty Award from the Arizona Anti-Defamation League in 2019 for its support of diversity and inclusion.
  • APS is a recipient of the Employer Support Freedom Award, the Department of Defense’s highest recognition given to employers.

We continue to focus on hiring diverse employees as well as hiring employees from our veteran community.

Overall Employee Diversity at the End of 2020

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

New hires in 2020

  • 36% were ethnically or racially diverse 
  • 36% were female 
  • 18% were veterans

We remain committed to recruiting, hiring and developing top talent with a focus on increasing diversity and creating opportunities for historically underrepresented populations.   

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 ensure that qualified internal individuals are in place to move into critical positions and, where necessary, augment the plans with strategic external hires. We have strategically selected successors for our management team, whom we are confident will lead our Company successfully.

  • 75% of officers, including our CEO, were promoted from leadership positions within the company
  • 86% of officer positions have “ready-now” replacements identified
  • 81% 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 allows us to evaluate gaps in education, skills and/or experience that need to be addressed before those employees can move into leadership roles. At monthly management 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 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 variety of training and development opportunities, including leadership academies, rotational programs, mentoring programs, industry certifications and loaned executive programs. In 2020, we successfully and quickly transitioned all of our programs and courses to a virtual classroom environment to ensure the continued development of our employees. We graduated 137 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 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 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.

Our open enrollment courses allow all employees an opportunity to select learning that targets various competencies and skills. In 2020, we offered 26 open enrollment courses attended by more than 400 employees.

In 2020, we added another pathway to our suite: LEAD: Leadership Exploration and Development, along with Productivity Pathways. These pathways leverage 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. Sixty participants completed LEAD and Productivity Pathways.

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 identified as talent pipelines.

  • 2020 Internship Program
    • 56 summer interns across the company
    • Acceptance rate of about 89% on offers made to eligible interns
    • 52% of interns were diverse
    • Fully virtual program
    • Recognized by WayUp as a Top 100 Internship Program in 2020
  • Incoming Engineer Programs
    • Legacy Engineer Program (Palo Verde) 
    • Rotational Engineer Program (Fossil)
    • Rotational Engineer Program (Transmission and Distribution)
    • Rotational Planner  Program (Transmission and Distribution Operations)

Employee Safety

Employee safety is of paramount importance at APS. We develop safety practices and programs that ensure all employees have a healthy and safe work environment that allows them to perform at the highest level. Our comprehensive safety programs and our focus on human and organizational performance and injury case management contribute significantly to our strong safety performance. 

We have achieved a top quartile safety record for OSHA recordable injuries when compared to peer electric utilities. For 2020, serious injuries and fatalities decreased by more than 50%.

Accomplishments for 2020 included: 

  • Ended 2020 with 40 OSHA recordable injuries 
  • Lost work time cases due to OSHA recordable injuries decreased by over 10% in 2020 vs. 2019 results 
  • Ended 2020 with four (serious Injury and/or fatality) injury cases, which was a decrease from 2019
  • Our 2020 Avoidable Motor Vehicle Accidents were down 23% from 2019  

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 called for swift action to ensure our employees, contractors and the public remained safe and healthy. We achieved this outcome by transitioning to a remote work model for most of our employees. For those critical workers who remained on our APS sites to continue their essential work, we implemented weekly testing and key COVID-19 health and safety protocols, distributed protective materials and equipment, and set-up health screenings. A team of health and safety personnel monitored the progression of the pandemic and the impact to our Company by tracking all Company cases and implementing key self-quarantine and self-isolation requirements based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. APS employees are updated on the Company’s current COVID-19 status through a dashboard. We continue efforts to maintain a low percentage of positive cases across our organization.   

In 2020, our safety data visualization continues to allow all employees to see where we stand in terms of leading and lagging safety indicators. As we move through 2021, we continue to focus on key leading and lagging indicator learnings across our organization. APS has launched initiatives geared toward building on our current safety foundation to establish a culture of trust and continual learning that effectively addresses safety risks and continues to reduce serious injuries and fatalities. In 2020, we shifted our focus from OSHA Recordable injuries to Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIF) as our primary safety metric. As we move through 2021, the Safety Classification & Learning Model established by EEI will be integrated into our existing programs and event analysis processes. Doing so will maintain our current safety system, while focusing on identifying and removing weaknesses to ensure resiliency is built into our work and systems to protect employees. In addition, human and organizational performance education and communication remain a focus with a priority placed on employee-supported learning teams and corrective actions that control risks by establishing a systems-focused workplace. 

As we continue to improve our safety performance, our main objectives are to continue to learn as an organization, grow and adapt based on those learnings and build the capacity to fail safely.  Central to these objectives is empowering our employees to take ownership of our safety culture through the continued use of employee learning teams. In addition, 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 well-being of our employees. We know happy, healthy employees are more engaged, more productive and more satisfied. That is 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 well-being by providing tools to invest in their wellness and have fun while doing it. Employees can learn more about their well-being 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 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
  • Affordable medical and prescription drug plans
  • Health savings account with a high deductible health plan
  • 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 with Company match
  • Company paid 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. In light of the unprecedented changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we added two surveys to gather real-time feedback from our employees regarding the challenges they faced and how the Company could be most helpful. We received 7,811 responses for our employee experience, pulse and COVID-19 surveys in 2020. 

Through the quarterly pulse and annual employee experience surveys, we track our Employee Experience Index, a set of seven questions that encompasses some of the more essential elements of a positive employee experience, including recognition, career development possibilities and pride in the organization. In 2020, 84.5% of employees responded positively to the underlying items in the Index, which compares favorably to 75.5% for our energy/utility benchmark. 

Based on survey results, business units and individual managers are encouraged to take 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. 

*Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee Concerns

Multiple avenues for resolving concerns are available to employees, including pursuing resolution through the chain of leadership, Human Resources or the Ethics Office. In addition, Palo Verde employees may also contact the Palo Verde Employee Concerns Program, programs under Palo Verde’s integrated issues-resolution process or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. All employees receive annual ethics training on processes and channels available for filing concerns. 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.

Union Connections

Maintaining strong, long-term relationships with our union members is important to our success. APS has nearly 1,300 employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 387. In March 2020, members of the IBEW Local 387 voted to ratify a three-year extension of a collective bargaining agreement through April 1, 2023. 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.

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