Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, PG&E has approximately 20,000 employees. The company provides natural gas and electric service to 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.
Prior to establishing a tiered governance model, line of business organizations did not have consistent voice or visibility into training decisions. A critical key to success for any training organization is maintaining close alignment with operations stakeholders. It is essential that training and business priorities are aligned, and that training and operations work in partnership to ensure optimal employee development and workforce performance.
At PG&E, a three-tiered training governance structure keeps executives informed and creates a process for the training organization to stay connected across the enterprise and ensure alignment to business priorities. The three governance levels—Enterprise, Line-of-Business, and Leader—are outlined below.
The goal of the Sr. Leadership Training Committee is to ensure that risk and compliance concerns are properly vetted, and training is or is not assigned. Requests typically impact employees enterprise-wide and/or all employees in one functional area. In addition, director-level leadership representing each major organization makes strategic training decisions based on business cases presented by director-level business sponsors.
Since the inception of this committee, PG&E has gained agreement and consensus on the regulatory requirements that govern whether one or many employees need to be trained. This has created buy-in and understanding on required training by the lines of business. Additionally, from 2013 to 2017 the number of training requirements increased by 56%, but the hours of training required per employee remained flat. This was accomplished by assigning the right person the right training at the right time versus a broad-brush approach. LOB Sr. Leader or Training Governance Committees make sure that all training resources are aligned to address the highest business priorities for each functional area (e.g., gas, electric, etc.) through an integrated planning process. The goal of these committees is to establish each organization’s annual training priorities, review business cases as organizational needs and priorities change or arise, and properly scale curriculum development and training delivery to reduce unplanned, last-minute requests. The key to making this level of governance work is leadership support from the Senior VP-level all the way down to managers, supervisors, and union representatives.
Leader Assigned Training is an important part of the process as it allows business leaders to assign training to their department or to specific individuals on an as needed basis. Examples might include Lean Six Sigma training for a specific department or improving communication skills for specific individuals. In either example, the leader making the assignment is responsible for the oversight and governance of the training. The benefit is that it allows leaders to respond appropriately to challenges they are seeing in their organizations versus training only being assigned through the formal governance processes described above.
The training governance process at PG&E continues to evolve as the business changes. The goal, however, remains the same—helping to ensure that the right people are taking the right training at the right time in the right place. A multi-tiered governance model allows PG&E leadership to have insight into the amount and type of training assigned and ultimately the impacts and business benefits to the organization.