In October 2001, the U.S. and Canada nuclear electric utilities and the Nuclear Human Resource Group (NHRG) agreed to sponsor a nuclear power industry-wide benchmarking project in human resources. The NHRG is a Community of Practice formed under the auspices of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in Washington, DC. The scope was defined by activity in the Standard Nuclear Performance Model - A Process Management Approach, developed by NEI. This approach is also being applied to all technical and management support functions within the nuclear power plants. The benchmarking process also is looking at other functions such as operations, maintenance, corrective actions, and management cost-budgeting processes. The goal….to improve the plant processes and ultimately improve plant and people performance.
A white paper was submitted to NEI for consideration to sponsor this industry benchmarking study. This benchmarking project was supported by the electric utilities and numerous HR Managers and Professionals formed cross-utility teams to complete a very detailed on-site benchmarking of the human resource services provided in the power plants.
A Benchmarking Process: used an aggressive and challenging schedule to reduce the time required to achieve results. Project task force and site coordinator personnel consisted of HR managers and specialists from sixteen electric utilities and a subject matter expert representing the Nuclear Human Resources Group (NHRG). The teams participated in a two-day training session and a three-day scope definition meeting before conducting the site visits and the data collection.
Sites Selected: considered factors of Plant Performance, Cost per Kilowatt-hour, Survey Responses, and Human Resources Initiatives and evaluated as follows:
- Site Analysis (Comparison Matrix): completed a quantitative analysis of each of the plant responses to the survey questions. The analysis included a weighting value assigned to each process and a numerical score for each survey question response.
- Weighted Score: a weighted score for each plant was obtained by summing the product of the weighted value and the numerical score for each response. For instance, if a question had a yes/no response, a value of one (1) was given to the yes and zero (0) to the no response. In most other cases the value for the score ranged from zero (did not have) to five (appeared value of the best process). The analysis also considered how long the process had been in place. See the survey question format for the range of scores assigned for the selected questions (range of score appears at end of selected question). Note: the range of possible scores or the weights did not appear on the survey.
- Plant Selection: The plants were then ranked from highest to lowest in total weighted score for each plant.
A total of eighteen sites provided enough information to receive a score using the survey questions and the HR initiatives. A quantitative analysis was completed using this information and the top eight plants ranged from a score of 57 to 81. The remaining sites ranged from a score of 29 to 57 points with the average being 57 points. Additional discussion on the final selection process including the quantitative analysis and the survey questions/maximum point values appears in the detailed report.
After The Sites Were Selected: two-day site visits were conducted over a six-week period. The objectives established for the benchmarking visits were to:
The Process Implemented
- Perform a baseline evaluation of human resources
- Identify and develop a process map
- Select and visit at least five sites
- Identify specific common practices and individual site best practices
- Share process results across the nuclear industry.
…included data collected from eighteen nuclear sites and analyzed to determine what factors contributed most to the ability to provide human resources services most effectively. The benchmarking teams were formed and the teams selected eight sites to visit:
The Benchmarking Team Visits
- Entergy: Arkansas Nuclear One – First-line Supervisor Training
- Onatario Power Generation: Darlington – Succession Planning
- PG&E: Diablo Canyon – Engineering New Hire Program
- Exelon: Limerick/Peach Bottom – PECO Solve
- Pinnacle West: Palo Verde – HR Strategic Planning
- South Texas – Culture and Core Values
- Southern Nuclear: Vogtle – Nuclear Supervisor Leadership Training
- TVA: Watts Bar – Integrated Staffing Plan
….were conducted in late 2001 and investigated the following Core Human Resources activities:
The Benchmarking Results
- Compensation and Benefits
- Workforce Planning
- Organizational Development
- Performance Management
- Employee and Labor Relations
- Human Resources Management
…..the benchmarking teams found that, to be most effective, human resources site teams had several common contributors and success factors such as:
- Being an integral part of site management team
- Being viewed as significant to success of the budget and planning process
- Being viewed by employees as adding value and dealing with employees honestly and fairly
- Responding to requests in a timely manner and providing follow-up
Each of the best practices discovered were described with a short description, related enablers and drivers together with the associated cost and performance measures. Each best practice was also referenced in a detailed report and process map developed by the teams at a three-day review meeting.
A Process Map
…..is a tool describing the scope of a business process (see Figure A). It consists of a process diagram and words describing the process steps. The benchmarking team developed the human resources process map by identifying and grouping all related activities identified by the team based largely on The Standard Nuclear Performance Model - A Process Management Approach, October 1998.
The human resources process map, Figure 4-1, provides a concise overall reference for work processes within SS004. Benchmarking questions were developed for each process map area, and selected references, data and performance indicators obtained have been cross-referenced to the process map. The map contains four overall process categories to meet the business need:
- Process Management: which covers program policy, structure and resource requirements
- Program References: written by nuclear industry and regulatory organizations such as Regulatory Requirements, Industry Guidance and Utility Requirements
- Core Activities: representing the categories of compensation, workforce planning, organizational development, performance management, employee/labor relations and human resource management
- Program Evaluation: activities designed to provide feedback mechanisms such as performance indicators, self-assessment of the overall process and benchmarking
The benchmarking process also included a detail review of the report and recommendations via email through the NHRG teams and organization. The report included the following areas:
: the team identified common elements found at all or most sites of the benchmarked human resources programs. These elements, called common contributors, promote a good human resources process. These contributors identified are:
- Performance Incentives
- Supplemental Workforce
- Human Resource Information - HRIS Systems
- Recruitment and Staffing
- Employee Involvement Forums
- HR Strategic Partner or Point of Contact
- Core Values
- Workforce and Succession Planning
: The performance metrics identified are listed below and the metrics are cross-referenced to the process map:
- Comprehensive Cultural Assessment
- 360-Degree Feedback Tool
- Number of New Employees
- Percent Succession Planning Candidate Readiness
- Percent Succession Candidate Development
- Percent New Employee Work Force Diversity
- Sick Leave Rate (Average Days/Employee)
- Employee Availability (Average Sick Leave/Pay Period)
- Percent Regular Employees Receiving Performance Appraisals
- Leadership Assessment Tool
- Number of Management Performance Reviews (3/year)
Figure A Human Resources Process Map
What Has Happened Since Then…..the NHRG rolled this report out to the nuclear electric utilities at a conference in Orlando, FL in April, 2001. As a result of this rollout, an NHRG Working Meeting was hosted by TVA in May 2002 and three project teams were formed for continuous improvement of the nuclear human resource processes. The teams formed were:
- Nuclear Staffing Numbers & Reporting (Red Team):
Implemented on January, 2003 to provide:
- Objective: It is intended that the staffing data will provide nuclear plants with the information to benchmark their staffing against comparable plants utilizing the NEI Standard Nuclear Performance Model.
- By using this model: member plants will have improved benchmarked data. Year-to-year consistency of data is a long-term objective of this nuclear staffing database
- HR Performance Metrics (Orange Team):
Implemented Jan 2003 to provide performance metrics in the areas of:
- Turnover Rate: defined as the permanent movement of people out of the nuclear organization
- Employee Labor: defined as total costs divided by full-time equivalent employees (FTE)
- Unit Production Costs: defined as O&M dollar divided by total Mw Hours generated
- Productivity Factor: defined as total Mw Hours generated divided by FTE
- Overtime: defined as percent of payroll for both exempt and non-exempt FTE
- HR Staff Ratio: defined as the number of HR Professionals divided by FTE
- EEI Nuclear Compensation Review (Green Team) -
Workshop schedule for Feb 24-25 to:
- Positions that need descriptions or updating
- Compile Information from Nuclear Companies
- Reach Agreement on positions to be benchmarked