Great River Energy truly values the people that make the organization successful – our employees. We strongly believe in helping employees, and their loved ones, live their best lives possible. This dedication is demonstrated in many ways: our safety programs, our inclusion efforts, our wellness programs and our benefits.

A Great Place to Work

Great River Energy received the Great Place to Work Certification again in 2018, identifying the organization as having a high-trust and high-performing workplace culture. We earned the ranking by surveying employees on the five dimensions in the Great Place to Work® Trust Model® – camaraderie, credibility, fairness, pride and respect. Overall, 89% of employees say Great River Energy is a great place to work.

The cooperative demonstrates the trust dimensions through its corporate competencies and values, employee benefit offerings and inclusion efforts. These practices, along with a team focused on the organization’s culture, contribute significantly to achieving a high-level of trust.

A healthy employer

Over the past decade, Great River Energy has partnered with workplace wellness programs and our wellness committees to continually add benefits, tools, resources and programs to make positive changes in employees’ healthy living. Those efforts have resulted in achievements that contributed to consistently health-care premiums that are lower than the national average – saving our member owners and employees money.

Focus on safety

Every day, at work, at play and at home, our employees have a keen focus on safety. Throughout the year, we work to reinforce the message of safety. Many meetings begin with a “safety moment” where we highlight a safety measure – everything from sun safety to safe driving.

Great River Energy showcased how our senior staff members take safety personally off the job in 2019. David Saggau, president and CEO, focused on how he doesn’t use his cell phone while driving, and Mark Fagan, vice president and chief corporate services officer discussed how he remembers safety precautions while doing yard work. Each senior staff member shared their personal stories with employees and on social media.

The Coal Creek Station Safety Action Committee hosts an annual Safety Day at Coal Creek Station. Employees are invited to participate in Safety Day and learn about various safety practices, including training sessions on heat strokes, electrical burns, adult trauma and pediatric drowning. The day also includes demonstrations on rope rescue, fall protection and harness inspections.

Hazardous waste operations emergency response training was conducted at Spiritwood Station and Coal Creek Station. These trainings focused on the chemical hazards that exist within a power plant and how to respond in case of a spill, leak or other chemical incident.

Enterprise Safety Council formed

Our Enterprise Safety Council is comprised of safety leaders throughout the organization. The team is responsible for establishing a strategic plan for enterprise-wide safety that aligns with Great River Energy’s strategic plan and policies, with the ultimate goal of providing a consistent, results oriented safety focus across the organization.

Valuing differences

At Great River Energy, valuing diversity means creating an environment that respects and includes differences, recognizes unique contributions of individuals and creates a work environment to maximize the potential of all employees.

To be successful, a company must develop a culture of inclusion: working intentionally to foster an open and innovative work environment by respecting and valuing differences and recognizing the contributions of all individuals.

We strive to include all employees regardless of race, work experience, educational background, marital status, generational differences, sexual orientation, gender identity, personal habits, income, work location or union/non-union affiliation. In addition, we pride ourselves on being a veteran-friendly employer.

To further strengthen our workplace culture, Great River Energy’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (DEI) conducted an inclusion culture audit in 2018. The council worked with an external partner to identify what our employees understand about inclusion at Great River Energy, and where we may need additional awareness and education. The audit included gathering feedback through focus groups and one-on-one interviews with a diverse group of randomly-selected employees.

The audit identified our strengths, which include: our great work-life balance and benefits package; our committed employees and leaders; remaining a Great Place to Work as a vision for all; a well-managed executive team; our innovation and willingness to change; our prioritization of safety and reliability; our strong belief in an inclusive, respectful and trusting workplace; and that all employees support inclusion.

We did find areas for improvement: getting more people involved in teams and activities; finding more ways to develop, promote and recognize talent in a flat organization; improving flow of communication; expanding recruitment efforts to increase diversity; and making the organization comfortable for everyone.

The DEI council sponsors employee events throughout the year: For example, the council hosted a live streaming of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast and sponsored of The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s annual conference.

Additionally, the DEI council sponsored several Pride month events in Minnesota and North Dakota as well as displayed the rainbow flag at our facilities. These events are supported by Great River Energy’s Pride Alliance Employee Resource Group, which was created to foster a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and allies) employees.

Pride month events included the Twin Cities Pride Rainbow Run and Capital Pride: This was our first time sponsoring this series of events in Bismarck and surrounding areas. Events are designed to serve as a safe space for the LGBTQIA community as well as promote an inclusive environment in North Dakota.

Benefits Leader Jason Vollbrecht spoke to attendees at the Capital Pride event in Bismarck, North Dakota, about Great River Energy’s inclusive culture. (Right)

Great River Energy enrolled to be listed in the Welcoming Business Directory, an ongoing project of Dakota OutRight. By joining the directory, we assert our support of the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

Great River Energy had a strong showing at the Twin Cities Pride Rainbow Run in Minneapolis. Employees participated by running in the 5K race as well as volunteering to hand out water at the finish line. (Left)

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Since our beginning, Great River Energy has actively supported our nation’s service men and women and their families. We recognize the many sacrifices made by these individuals and their families, and we’re proud and honored to be able to do our part to give back to service men and woman on active duty and veterans. As a result of this commitment, we have been a Yellow Ribbon Company since 2017. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Great River Energy employees attended the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company Conference in 2019 to learn more about recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon supports service members and military families through recruiting, policies, procedures, training, development and outreach.