Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Succession Planning | Employee Development and Training  | Employee Safety | Total Rewards Strategy | Employee Engagement | Employee Concerns | Union Connections


Updated: March 2022

Our nearly 5,900 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 about 12.5 years. 

 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) 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. 

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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 inclusion, which 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 can successfully bring our APS Promise to life. 

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

  • Multi-Year DEI Strategy and Roadmap.  In 2021, we launched a comprehensive DEI strategic roadmap to provide clarity around our DEI efforts. The strategy was created with input from key stakeholders throughout APS and incorporated the extensive, candid feedback received from the Listening Sessions with executives held in 2020 and 2021. The DEI Strategy focuses on eleven key areas, which are organized into three primary focuses: Alignment and Accountability, Workforce Evolution, and Leveraging Connections. The eleven focus areas are internally facing within APS, and externally facing in the communities we serve.

  • Evolved DEI Governance and Advisory Groups. Our revitalized Inclusion Council includes a Steering Committee and Executive Advocate group. In 2021, we added an Employee DEI Advisory Council to expand stakeholder representation and ensure that employees across the organization can add their voices and opinions to our DEI work.
  • 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. Our ENGs include:
    • African American Diversity Network for Diversity and Inclusion
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Alliance
    • Veteran Engagement, Transition and Retention Network
    • Women in Search of Excellence
    • Palo Verde Young Generation in Nuclear
    • Palo Verde Women in Nuclear
    • Native American Network Organization
    • Next Gen
    • Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement
    • Links

  • 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: 

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

Overall Employee Diversity at the End of 2021

  • 33% of employees are ethnically or racially diverse
  • 25% are female 
  • 16% are veterans

New Hires in 2021

  • 44% were ethnically or racially diverse 
  • 37% were female 
  • 10% 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.   

Read our Consolidated EEO-1 Data Report covering diversity statistics.

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.

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We continually fine-tune succession plans to ensure that qualified internal individuals are in place to move into critical positions and, when 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.

  • 68% of officers, including our CEO, were promoted from leadership positions within the company
  • 60% of officer 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.

Employee Development and Training

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.

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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 2021, 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 84 new leaders from Leadership Academy and rebuilt Foundational Leadership Academy and Advancing Leadership Academy to align with our APS Promise and 10-Year Strategic Plan, both of which will relaunch in 2022.  

In our commitment to provide equitable development across the enterprise, leaders completed 486 self-paced modules to build personal and leadership skills. Additionally, APS was recognized as a best-in-class employee training and development organization, earning a Training Apex award which ranks companies’ excellence in employer sponsored training.  

Ethics Training. We require our employees to complete annual mandatory online training on our Code of Ethical Conduct covering a variety of topics including company assets, business courtesies, ethical conduct, conflicts of interest, and reporting and retaliation. Upon completion of the training, employees are asked to acknowledge having read, understood, and agree to comply with the Code of Ethical Conduct. Our Code of Ethical Conduct serves as a guide to how we live the APS Promise. It demonstrates the actions and behaviors that will enhance ethical decision-making and strengthen our culture. Some of the standard of behavior include human rights, no tolerance for harassment and discrimination, bribery and corruption, and many other standards for employees to understand and uphold to deliver on the APS Promise.

Talent Pipelines. Talent pipelines help sustain our skilled workforce. Pipeline programs include our pre- apprentice and rotational programs which includes engineering and IT. Additionally, our Talent Acquisition Team targets specific programs of study available through our academic partnerships.

  • 2021 Summer Internship Program
    • 69 summer interns across the company (includes Palo Verde)
    • 68% of interns were diverse
    • Fully virtual program
    • Recognized by WayUp as a Top 100 Internship Program in 2020 and 2021
  • Incoming Engineer Programs
    • Legacy Engineer Program (Palo Verde) 
    • New Engineers in Operations Rotational Engineer Program (Fossil)
    • Rotational Engineer Program (Transmission and Distribution)
    • Rotational Planner  Program (Transmission and Distribution Operations)
  • Rotational Programs
    • Rotational IT Program (CHQ) 



Employee Safety

Employee safety is of paramount importance at APS. We’ve developed practices and programs that ensure all employees work in a healthy and safe environment that allows them to perform at the highest level.

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Our comprehensive safety programs and focus on human and organizational performance and injury case management contribute significantly to our strong safety performance. APS requires all new hires to complete a general safety training that outlines expectations, regulatory guidelines and the overall safety culture at APS.  Additionally, employees at APS are assigned recurring safety trainings based on their job duties and related regulatory training requirements.

We have achieved a second quartile safety record for OSHA recordable injuries when compared to peer electric utilities, and a top quartile safety record when removing COVID-19 cases. Safety performance in 2021 resulted in 53 OSHA recordable injuries and a 20% reduction in avoidable motor vehicle accidents.

Management of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 continued in order to ensure our employees, contractors and the public remained safe and healthy. Our field and powerplant workforce has continued to keep the lights on for our customers while minimizing the COVID-19 impacts and transmission of the disease. APS remains in a remote work model for most of our office employees. 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.

As we moved through 2021, we continued 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 2021, we focused on Serious Injuries and Fatalities as our primary safety metric. We launched the Safety Classification and Learning Model established by EEI by integrating into our existing programs and event analysis processes. Doing so supported our safety system, while focusing on identifying high energy risk to ensure resiliency 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. 

With a focus on high-energy hazards, controls and learning 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 and 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 is why we encourage employees to participate in the Total Wellbeing program.

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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 interact through the Social channel and give encouragement and support to other participants through the Cheers channel.

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:

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  • Competitive base pay compensation
  • Short-term incentives (for all employees)
  • Pay-for-performance
  • 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. We received 5,616 responses for our employee experience and pulse - surveys in 2021. 

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Through the quarterly pulse and annual employee experience surveys, we track our Employee Experience Index (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 2021, 85% of employees responded positively to the underlying items in the Index, which compares favorably to 81% 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. 

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.

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In addition, Palo Verde Generating Station 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 Office provides a third-party administered website, helpline and phone app for anonymous reporting of concerns.

Union employees have a four-step process to file and resolve grievances as 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 1,205 employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 387.

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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 a continued positive, collaborative, working relationship with the IBEW Leadership and our represented union employees in pursuit of our common goal of delivering safe, efficient and reliable energy to our customers.

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