NiSource: Modernizing Operations Training

“Mosaic’s deep expertise and decades of experience in this industry is helping us create a structured, consistent and well-documented approach to training that will allow NiSource to increase and maintain the skills of its employees to ensure safe, customer-focused operations through a highly skilled workforce.”

Mark Chepke, VP of Training, NiSource

About Our Client

NiSource, Inc. is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States. The company’s utility subsidiaries —  Columbia Gas and NIPSCO — provide natural gas and electric service to approximately 4 million customers across seven states in the Midwest, the South and New England. In 2015, NiSource spun o its pipelines into a separately traded public company, Columbia Pipeline Group, which includes 15,000 miles of natural gas pipeline and 300 billion cubic feet of storage, plus other midstream assets in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

The Situation

NiSource has established a goal to be the premier provider of natural gas distribution services. To achieve this goal, they are undertaking a number of initiatives to “Modernize Operations,” including a commitment to strengthen and spread a culture that transforms and sustains industry-leading safety and operational performance through training and process improvement.

The operations workforce is the company’s most important asset, and while NiSource has a long history of investing in training and development, a new commitment is required to achieve their modernization strategies. The need to do this work now is magnified by changing demographics due to the expected wave of retirements, increasing and changing regulatory pressure, the increasing complexity of work due to new infrastructure and technology in the field, and the high consequence of human error.

Mosaic Offers a Solution

To address these challenges, NiSource partnered with Mosaic to create a “Culture of Learning” by developing an integrated training program that achieves, sustains and confirms mastery in field employees. This program enables the operations workforce to become fully competent more quickly and in a more complex environment. The new “Culture of Learning” includes the following elements of best-in-class field operations training:

  • Consistent, effective and efficient training that shortens the time to competency for all field employees.
  • Focused training that includes hands-on opportunities, context and end-to-end process knowledge.
  • Sequenced, task-based training that provides just-in-time and just-enough content, supported by on-the-job training, performance support and feedback loops.
  • An increased focus on required and structured refresher training and practice to ensure employees maintain the knowledge and skills needed over the course of their careers.
  • A governance process that drives organizational alignment and prioritization, and measures return on investment.
  • Strong and consistent communications from senior management supporting the initiative over the long term.

“Aligned with our stakeholder commitments of being recognized as a best place to work with industry-leading safety and customer satisfaction, this training program is designed to meet a unique set of challenges we are facing across the industry,” said Chepke. “New technology, changing regulations, workforce knowledge transfer, significant capital programs — all of this has a dramatic impact on how we develop new and existing employees. And it is why we partnered with Mosaic to improve our approach to training.”