Attribute Related Measures: Employee and Leadership Development

1. Employee retention and satisfaction

Description: This measure gauges a utility’s progress toward developing and maintain­ing a competent and stable workforce, including utility leadership.

Example calculations:

  • Employee turnover rate (percent): 100 X (number of employee departures ÷ total number of authorized positions per year). Can be divided into categories such as:
    • Voluntary turnover (percent): 100 X (number of voluntary departures ÷ total number of authorized positions per year). (Perhaps the best indicator of re­tention problems.)
    • Retirement turnover (percent): 100 X (number of retirement departures ÷ au­thorized positions per year). (Measures loss/retention of institutional knowl­edge.)
    • Experience turnover (percent): 100 X (number of years of experience represent­ed by all departures ÷ total years of experience with the organization) (at the beginning of the year). (These are harder data to collect but provide a good assessment of institutional knowledge loss potential and therefore the need to retain/capture institutional knowledge.)
  • Employee job satisfaction (percent): 100 X (number of employees with “X” job satis­faction level ÷ total number of employees) (based on implementation and moni­toring over time of a comprehensive employee survey). Can be divided into work type or job classification categories, etc., and cover overall satisfaction and topics deemed relevant to longer-term employee satisfaction and retention, such as:
    • Compensation and benefits
    • Management
    • Professional development and long-term advancement opportunities
    • Work and teamwork
    • Procedures
    • Fairness and respect
    • Communication

2. Management of core competencies

Description: This measure assesses the utility’s investment in and progress toward strengthening and maintaining employee core competencies.

Example calculations and assessment areas:

  • Presence of job descriptions and performance expectations: Does your organization have and maintain current job descriptions and related performance expecta­tions (yes/no)?
  • Training hours per employee: Total of qualified formal training hours for all em­ployees ÷ total FTEs worked by employees during the reporting period. This is a QualServe Indicator.[1]
  • Certification coverage (percent): 100 X (number of certifications achieved or main­tained ÷ number of needed certifications per year) (across the utility).
  • Employee evaluation results (assumes utility evaluates employee performance in a routine way and documents results): Results of employee evaluations (e.g., em­ployee growth not clearly demonstrated, employee growth only demonstrated in certain areas or for certain labor categories, etc.).
  • Presence of employee-focused objectives and targets: Do you have employee-focused or­ganizational objectives and targets and a related professional management system in place? Are you meeting your targets (yes/no)? (Targets could be, for instance, related to quantity, quality, timeliness, or cost. A timeliness target could, for example, relate to the number of hours it takes on average to complete a routine task.)

3. Workforce succession preparedness

Description: This measure assesses utility long-term workforce succession planning ef­forts to ensure critical skills and knowledge are retained and enhanced over time, particularly in light of anticipated retirement volume in coming years. Focus is on preparing entire groups or cohorts for needed workforce succession, including con­tinued training and leadership development.

Example calculations:

  • Key position vacancies: Average time that critical-skill positions are vacant due to staff departures per vacancy per year.
  • Key position internal/external recruitment (percent): 100 X (number of critical-skill positions that are filled internally (through promotion, transfer, etc. rather than outside recruitment) versus filled through outside recruitment ÷ total number of positions filled per year). (This will help the utility to understand if internal workforce development is covering long-term succession needs.)
  • Long-term succession plan coverage (percent): 100 X (number of employees (or co­horts, work units, etc.) covered by a long-term workforce succession plan that accounts for projected retirements and other vacancies in each skill and manage­ment

More information on resources for this attribute-related measure can be found in the EUM Resource Toolbox.

[1] From AWWA and AwwaRF, Selection and Definition of Performance Indicators for Water and Wastewater Utilities, p. 38. 2004. Note: This material is copyrighted and any reprinting must be by permission of the American Water Works Association.