We consider it a privilege to serve as an integral partner to our customers and communities, delivering safe and reliable energy to nearly 1.33 million businesses, and families across our expansive eight-state service territory. Our almost 3,000 employees work as one team, devoted 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 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:
- Building a talent strategy that attracts and retains talent representing multiple dimensions of diversity.
- 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, and a college partnership program which allows employees to achieve college degrees at an advanced pace and/or discounted price.
- Hosting an annual diversity conference which provides opportunities for all employees to connect and focus on personal and professional development.
- 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:
- ACT, cultivating a culture of belonging by accelerating growth, connecting employees and touching lives.
- 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.
- EDGE, 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.
Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) member companies have joined together to align their DEI and workforce development initiatives and are taking 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 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 1.33 million natural gas and electric utility customers in 825 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 2022, nearly 40% 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 $604,500. Combined with a 25% matching gift by the Foundation, 2022 giving to the United Way totaled over $757,000. In addition, almost 760 employees volunteered over 34,000 hours of their time, including nonprofit board service, mentoring to students in STEM education, coaching youth sports teams, and countless service projects. Sharing their time and energy, our employees donated more than a $900,000 value of their time in support of 930 community organizations.
The Ambassador program is a corporate initiative that began in 2008, providing more than 100 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.
In addition to volunteerism by both our ambassadors and employees, we also regularly engage with our customers and communities. Our community affairs team leads this engagement and 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. This requires persistent, daily attention in everything 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
In 2022, our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Total Incident Case Rate (incidents per 200,000 hours worked) was 1.39, placing us within the second quartile of American Gas Association (AGA) peer utilities. Compared to 2021, we also achieved a 13% reduction in lost workdays in 2022. Our Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate (vehicle accidents per 1 million miles driven) was 1.33 in 2022, a top quartile achievement among AGA utility peers. We are also leading the way in the industry by encouraging employees to report injuries within one day, achieving reporting timeliness 17% above the utility average.
Employee safety training
Our safety training is delivered through an in-person instructor led and online learning management system that tracks completion status and completion dates. 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 2022, we conducted 247 public safety trainings to first responders and excavators, intensified our commitment to prevent damage to our facilities via expanded awareness messaging, and communicated with every landowner who lives, works or plays along our system regarding how to stay safe around overhead and underground electric and natural gas lines. Black Hills Energy also conducts large-scale emergency response drills to help guarantee we are ready to serve our communities in the event of natural disasters or others in times of need.
Damage prevention trailer rolls out in Arkansas
Underlying all we do is our culture of safety, and it extends beyond our workplace and into our communities.
That’s why we regularly partner with state and local damage prevention groups to provide public safety education to help our customers and communities stay safe around overhead and underground electric and natural gas lines, and to urge everyone to dial 811 before starting any project that involves digging.
On August 11, 2022, we celebrated 811 Day by rolling out a new damage prevention demonstration trailer in Arkansas. This trailer, which is the first of its kind for our company and the industry, was taken to community events and job sites across the state by our damage prevention team. The team provided safety education, outreach, and training to help raise awareness and prevent future accidents.
A hot, windy day in southwest Nebraska generated $3,768 as Black Hills Energy employees, family and friends putted for a playground. The Central Region's 4th Annual Golf Tournament was hosted in McCook, Nebraska this year on Sept. 30 at Heritage Hills Golf Course. The tournament, with a field of…
On Friday, Sept. 22, the Kearney office went to the dogs…literally! To show support for the local community and hold an event to coincide with the area Junk Jaunt, a garage sale was hosted to benefit the Kearney Area Animal Shelter. Committee members met and chose the animal shelter as the charity…
Each year Black Hills Energy is able to support United Way in a Day of Caring event as part of the Season of Giving campaign. Several employees from the Bluffs facility in Iowa joined together to help the New Visions Homeless Services get ready for their December Community Christmas by sorting…
South Dakota Mines recently recognized our company as the 2023 Community Champion at their annual state-of-the-university address in Rapid City. Our company was the business recognized this year for having dedicated time, treasure and talent to further the mission of the school. Attendees of the…