We consider it a privilege to serve as an integral partner to our customers and communities, delivering safe and reliable energy to nearly 1.3 million businesses, and families across our expansive 8-state service territory. Our approximately 3,000 employees work together as one team, committed to making a positive impact on the lives of our customers and in the communities, we call home.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
We're committed to building a diverse workforce representative of the communities we serve, and a culture of belonging for all. We recognize that each of our team members brings unique and valuable experiences, perspectives, and talents to the organization. With our value of respect as our guiding force, we strive to actively engage all employees to foster a culture of belonging where every team member can bring the best parts of themselves to work and is enabled to reach their full potential while contributing to business outcomes.
Some of the ways we are working to build a more diverse workforce and culture of belonging for all include:
- Recruiting diverse individuals and forming strategic partnerships within the communities we serve to increase our pipeline of diverse talent. Evaluating our internal systems and processes to support an equitable and inclusive experience for all people.
- Providing a variety of career development resources and tools for employees. These include tuition assistance, mentoring opportunities, book clubs, an annual career development challenge, and a college partnership program which allows employees to achieve college degrees at an advanced pace and/or discounted price.
- Encouraging participation in employee resource groups (ERGs). Our ERGs are employee-led and encourage connection and belonging for their members while also providing education and outreach to the organization. Our ERGs include:
- Aspire, a women’s resource group
- Analytics in Action, a resource group for current and aspiring data and analytics professionals
- New Connections, a resource group for new employees within their first year of service
- The Multicultural Team, a resource group for racially/ ethnically diverse employees
- The Project Management Interest Group, a resource group for current and aspiring project management professionals
- The Veterans Engagement Team (VET), a resource group for military personnel and Veterans.
- Hosting an annual diversity conference which provides opportunities for all employees to connect and focus on personal and professional development.
EEI’s member companies — America’s investorowned electric companies — have made diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a strategic imperative for years. Now, and as the next step in this journey, EEI’s member companies have joined together to align their DEI and workforce development initiatives and are pledging to take meaningful action to:
- Promote racial justice
- Advance DEI goals and diversify the workforce at all levels
- Provide more equitable access to employment opportunities for underrepresented and underserved members of their communities
- Create a workforce that is more representative and responsive to people of all backgrounds
- Take measurable actions that can address the racial and gender gaps within the industry and accelerate the ability to reach and support those suffering from systemic racism, poverty, and economic disadvantages.
Community and economic impact
Serving over 1.3 million natural gas and electric utility customers in 824 communities across eight states, our direct economic impact included charitable giving, compensation for almost 3,000 employees, franchise fees, payments to suppliers, and property, sales and use taxes paid to our communities.
Each year, our employees give generously of their time and talents to support community organizations and nonprofits across our service territory. This support includes personal contributions to the United Way through monthly payroll donations and one-time gifts. In 2021, nearly 48% of our workforce participated in the company’s annual United Way campaign, contributing at least their Fair Share (one hour of pay per month) for a total of $650,000. Combined with a 25% matching gift by the Foundation, 2021 giving to the United Way totaled over $800,000. In addition, almost 800 employees volunteered over 36,000 hours of their time, including nonprofit board service, mentoring to students in STEM education, coaching youth sports teams, and countless service projects — providing support to more than 1,000 organizations.
The Ambassador program is a corporate initiative that began in 2008, providing employees opportunities to serve and lead. Ambassadors serve as positive representatives of our company in both internal and external settings, connecting people with concepts and information on a personal and relevant level — the essence of a grassroots program. Ambassadors are nominated and selected to serve two-year terms that involve volunteering, coordinating initiatives at a local level and participating in key community events. Ambassadors are in every state in our service area and help represent Black Hills Energy in community engagement, community service and corporate citizenship.
In addition to volunteerism by both our Ambassadors and employees, we also regularly engage with our customers and communities. Our community affairs team, who leads this engagement, is embedded within each state of our service area. Each state has a formal community engagement plan, unique to the makeup and needs of that area. Multiple tools are used for engagement, both formal and informal, including citizen advisory councils, community technician programs, periodic surveys of elected officials and direct community outreach.
Our community impact
We care for our communities through charitable giving, outreach and employee volunteerism.
Our safety culture
Safety is one of our company values, a top priority in all we do and deeply embedded in our company culture. We are committed to being the safest utility company in the nation and this requires persistent, daily attention in all we do. Every meeting of three or more employees begins with a safety share, a practice which contributes to keeping safety top of mind.
Employee safety and wellness
Since 2010, we have reduced workplace injuries by more than 75% and continue to see long-term, sustained improvements in our safety practices and performance. In 2021, our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Total Incident Case Rate (incidents per 200,000 hours worked) was 1.06, with the utility industry average of 1.71. Our Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate (vehicle accidents per 1 million miles driven) was 1.81 in 2021, also well below the industry average of 2.74. Safety extends to employee health and wellness, in and outside of work, with 81% of employees participating in our proactive safety and wellness program.
Employee safety training
Our safety training is delivered through an online learning management system which tracks completion status and completion dates. We review classes to make sure they are in accordance with our procedures and practices. Training occurs throughout the year, with frequency driven by required regulation and assessed need. All online safety training is available in several languages. All safety training is provided at no cost to our employees and may be completed during working hours.
Safety in our communities
Our safety culture extends beyond our buildings and into our communities. In 2021, we conducted 342 public safety trainings to first responders and excavators. We work each day to help our customers and communities learn how to stay safe around overhead and underground electric and natural gas lines.
We appreciate our long-standing community partnership with the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce in north Arkansas. As a champion host sponsor for the chamber’s annual meeting on March 14, team members Mike Kite, Sam Eaves, Scotty Edmonson, Colin Jackson, Mindy Butler and Robin Mizell were on…
Black Hills Energy is excited to be recognized as one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces® in North America. This annual award recognizes top employers that demonstrate leadership in leveraging innovative employee engagement and recognition tactics. A panel of 11 esteemed judges comprised…
Division Senior Manager Tom McCormick in Ozark, Arkansas, and supervisors Keith Masingale and Nick Schwartz along with ambassador and senior technician Josh Yarbrough are always willing to support community partnerships — no matter the day or time. Special thanks to these leaders for representing…
Staff members from the Norfolk, Neb. office recently participated in the annual “Souper Bowl” bowling fundraiser event benefiting The Salvation Army’s soup kitchen in Norfolk. Three radio stations in the area host the annual event on the Friday before the Super Bowl. This year more than 4,800 food…