Beneficial workforce management information

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

Like a routine checkup at the doctor’s office to provide information on your physical health, organizations like the Grand River Dam Authority often go through similar assessments to determine corporate health. Certainly an agency GRDA’s size – nearly 500 employees in electric utility and lake management roles across 12 facilities – needs that kind of information on a regular basis.

Since construction began on Pensacola Dam in 1938, GRDA has been putting Oklahomans to work. Even today — over 70 years since the dam was completed — it takes a skilled staff of employees (pictured) to maintain that facility. Recent workforce management initiatives by GRDA will help in efforts to retain and recruit skilled employees, like these, in the years ahead.

That is why assessments like the 2011 Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector performance audit and the current KPMG efficiency study are so important. The findings of independent experts who can focus objective, trained eyes on the organization from a different perspective provide valuable benchmarking information. Such information leads to opportunities to both build on past successes and make improvements for the future. In other words, the information helps to form a strategic plan for the future.

Since the performance audit was released last December GRDA has given much time and energy to those opportunities. In many key areas – leadership, policies and procedures, workforce management – the plan is being implemented.

Related to the latter area – workforce management – the Authority recently received information that will prove beneficial in the effort to retain a dedicated and skilled workforce in the years ahead. The Oklahoma State Office of Personnel Management (OPM) bi-annual compensation study, conducted on all state agencies, is an analysis of state employee compensation and benefits during 2011. Across the board GRDA fared well, with classified employee compensation coming in 8.27 percent above market.

It is valuable information as GRDA evaluates current positions and classifications and works to correct any personnel inequities that may exist. Meanwhile, it will also prove very valuable as future employee retention and recruitment decisions are made.

Even though the GRDA workforce turnover rate is already below three percent – nearly five times lower than the state agency average – a large portion of the workforce is eligible to retire within the next three years. Thus, planning for the Team GRDA of the future is a priority in the present, and information is key.

Really, it all goes back to the GRDA “power for progress” mission and the assets needed to complete that mission for the good of Oklahoma. GRDA has broad responsibilities and multiple functions like electric generation, law enforcement, and resource management that must be performed within a highly-regulated environment. Thus maintaining the most important and most powerful GRDA asset – a skilled, dedicated workforce – is critical not only to future success but also the everyday efforts that have made GRDA Oklahoma’s low-cost, reliable electric supplier.

Since the first day of Pensacola Dam construction back in 1938 – when thousands came to the site looking for jobs – the Authority has been putting skilled Oklahomans to work to help better the state. It is still true today, and the information gained in these recent audits and studies will help to make it true tomorrow as well.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.