People drive the power
The driving force behind any cooperative is being there to serve needs in communities that aren’t currently being met.
So, what do people need that they don’t have already, beyond electricity? That is where our member services and Human Resources staff and charitable giving coordinator come in.
Basin Electric is a proud partner in the Co-op Connections card discount program, offered in conjunction with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives across the country. The program was developed to help cooperatives deliver more value to their members and employees, and to build stronger relationships with businesses in our communities.
With child care needs vastly outpacing availability, the cooperative was instrumental in starting the Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care in Hazen, North Dakota. Basin Electric also helped form a partnership for child care with the Missouri Valley YMCA near its Headquarters offices in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Funded entirely from the generosity of employees, the cooperative’s Casual for a Cause campaign (in which employees have the privilege of dressing casually for work) raised $62,300 for charity in 2019. Since 2016, employees have contributed nearly $150,000 to charity through this initiative alone.
For the third year in a row, and seventh time since the award was created in 2007, Basin Electric was named to the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Top 10 workplaces list. This annual award is given to local businesses committed to recruiting and retaining talented young professionals.
Basin Electric experienced a record number of retirements in 2018, meaning decades of experience and organizational knowledge was lost in addition to the productive work these employees provided. In response, Basin Electric developed a workforce plan to create a structured process to ensure the cooperative has employees in place who are prepared and qualified to fill these vacancies and step into leadership positions.
In short, the workforce plan provides a framework for making staffing decisions, and a means of aligning resources to meet Basin Electric’s needs, addressing workforce needs, and providing optimism about our ability to meet foreseeable challenges.
The workforce plan was developed using data and the collective opinion of senior managers, and addresses current and future challenges facing Basin Electric. Challenges include increased workload and less staff, uncertainty of commodity prices, and internal transfer of knowledge.
The Human Resources department focuses on training opportunities for employees, providing the coordination of internal training and creating a calendar of topics. The “People Power Purpose” video series is a quarterly series on a variety of topics featuring our own internal experts. The department also brings in outside training, such as SmartDollar, a program that helps employees with their personal finances, and groups like Toastmasters to help employees develop communication and leadership skills.
Basin Electric’s major leadership development program is now in its third year. Twenty-five Basin Electric employees from a cross-section of several of Basin Electric’s facilities and Headquarters participated in the BE Leaders program in 2019.
The program gives participants an opportunity to explore various aspects of leadership and form career-lasting relationships with other future leaders throughout the cooperative.
Participants complete monthly assignments, a leadership project, quarterly in-person learning sessions, and job shadowing. Each assignment focuses on a specific skill paired with a required activity, which helped participants understand and apply the skill in day-to-day professional or personal settings. The one-year program culminates in a value-added team project presented to senior management. Many of these projects have been implemented by the cooperative.