Most organizations undergo employee demographic changes over their business life cycle, with the average time that an employee stays working for the same employer an average of 4.6 years. This statistic comes from the Bureau of Labor statistics and varies by occupation, but it is indicative of the mobile society we now live in. Opportunities abound for the millennials and generation X employees in the workforce today, and they will not hesitate to jump jobs for those new opportunities.
After many years of very static employment, Nodak Electric has also joined in the ranks of employers, especially cooperatives, who have witnessed significant employee turnover over the last five years. After a flurry of hiring in the early to mid-1980s, those seasoned employees have now moved into their retirement years and another group of younger employees are eager to take their places. From the period 2014 through 2018, a total of 17 employees have retired from Nodak, or 26 percent of our employees. Those 17 employees took with them 563 collective years of experience, or an average of 33.1 years of service for each retired employee. That amount of experience is quite different than the average time on the job for today’s employee, but it signifies the fact that Nodak employees know they are working for an organization that takes care of its members as well as its employees.
From the members’ perspective, on the surface it might seem that losing this much experience would be a cause for concern, especially when it comes to restoring service after a power outage. However, with a total employment force of 65 employees, there remains a solid core of experience to guide the 19 new employees who have been hired in the past five years. History has a way of repeating itself and the trend for employee turnover remains relatively high at Nodak, with another 20 employees eligible for retirement within the next five years. Change is inevitable; we are an industry that has witnessed many changes over the last 80 years of our existence. Employment changes are just one of the latest to occur.
These new employees bring with them a new perspective and in many cases a new way of doing things that might even be more efficient than in the past. They embrace the new technology that Nodak has implemented in the past decade without the need for a long learning curve. Safety, commitment to service and respect for our member/owners remains the same, regardless of whether he/she is a new employee or someone who has many years of service with the cooperative.
So, if you see someone driving down the road in a Nodak vehicle or if you hear an unfamiliar voice on the phone that you maybe do not recognize from the past 33 years, rest assured that your power delivery is in good hands for both you and the next generation.