140,000+ Number of days of technical and professional development training completed by our employees in 2013

Growing leaders from within PG&E—at all levels and in all roles—is one of our guiding principles. Through new strategies and training programs, we are developing a next-generation workforce with the skills and expertise to operate our business safely, reliably and affordably, while meeting our customers’ evolving energy needs.

Our Approach

Creating a culture where the next generation of leaders is constantly emerging behind the current one is our goal. To accomplish this means investing in our people. It’s an investment that requires a blend of extensive technical training while fostering career growth through an expanding set of leadership and employee development opportunities. Continuous improvement is a priority as we work to ensure our employees have the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to complete their work efficiently and safely.

As a result, we are benchmarking with the best companies and using performance measures to inform our strategy and improve the effectiveness of our training content and delivery. This included commissioning an independent study to benchmark best practices for training among North American gas and pipeline companies, as well as fostering dialogue within the gas industry on how to build a safer and more effective workforce.

Technical Training

We provide a range of technical training to equip our employees with the knowledge and skills to perform their jobs safely using approved work procedures. These courses help prepare the next generation of utility workers and integrate new technologies, systems and processes into our operations, in keeping with our focus on innovation and modernization.

We maintain two primary training facilities: the 44-acre Livermore Training and Qualification Center and the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. Beyond these facilities, we are bringing the classroom to employees through virtual training options and two mobile training centers that allow for on-site instruction. Additionally, we plan to open a state-of-the art gas training facility in 2016.

Career and Leadership Development

PG&E is committed to fostering career development and to integrating succession planning and professional development into our long-term strategic planning process.

Our efforts to build a career path for employees begin with an employee’s first day on the job through a robust onboarding program designed to engage and inspire new employees. Throughout their careers, employees have access to a package of more than 25 career development courses, an active mentoring program, tuition reimbursement for qualifying education expenses, and other tools help them to grow in their current roles and advance over the long term.

2013 Milestones

Highlights from our technical training programs last year included:

(Photo by Blake Sumner)

PG&E linemen were among the top finishers at the 30th annual International Lineman’s Rodeo—taking fifth place out of more than 200 teams in a simulated replacement of an energized electrical connection. Teams were judged not only on skill and completion time, but also on safety, coordination and teamwork.

  • Enhanced classroom and field training on precisely locating and marking gas pipelines to ensure public and employee safety around projects that involve digging near underground assets.
  • An improved gas utility worker program designed to cover the end-to-end processes needed to perform basic gas operations work safely and effectively. The course is required for all new gas utility workers.
  • Improvements to our safety and compliance training programs to better align training requirements with specific jobs, as well as new adaptive learning technologies that tailor training to an individual employee’s knowledge and skill gaps, thereby improving learning effectiveness and reducing training time.
  • Training on the use of new mobile technologies being deployed in our gas and electric operations, which allow crews to access digital maps, technical information and project-related documents to increase safety and improve response times and communication.
  • Specialized training that enables employees to learn to operate equipment in a virtual setting, such as our backhoe simulator. This approach also cuts down on wear and tear on equipment, increases the availability of training and reduces emissions.

We also continued to focus on equipping leaders with the right tools to manage their teams through:

  • Safety Leadership Workshops to align all leaders around our safety principles and further embed safety into our operational practices and culture. Topics include creating a healthy safety climate, coaching employees, and promoting and recognizing safe behaviors. All of PG&E’s leaders completed the workshop in 2014.
  • Supervisor Leadership Training, a three-week program designed to help supervisors lead their teams more effectively. By the end of 2013, approximately 900 of our supervisors had completed the program; all supervisors will have started the program by the end of 2014.
  • Manager Leadership Training, a one-week training covering skills that can support the growth and development of our managers. Approximately 300 of our managers completed the program in 2013 and all managers will complete it by the end of 2015.
  • High Potential Leaders, a course we launched in 2013 to accelerate the development of employee leaders, which includes a project that expands their leadership skills while addressing a critical business challenge.

In 2014, we introduced a program that focuses on the skills required to be a successful crew lead at PG&E. The course is highly interactive with an emphasis on hands-on learning and peer discussion. This course must be completed by all Electric Distribution Crew Leads by the end of 2014.

Highlights of our efforts to develop leaders from within PG&E included:

  • MBA Leadership Program, a two year program that enables graduates from the nation’s top business schools to work on some of our toughest business challenges. As a complementary effort, our MBA Fellows Program awards full scholarships to emerging PG&E leaders to attend a top executive MBA program, which can give them the skills to contribute at a higher level.
  • Engineer Rotational Development Program, an 18-month program in partnership with Stanford University, which gives employees the opportunity to earn a PG&E Engineering Management certification. More than 25 employees will graduate in 2014.

Measuring Progress

Our commitment to invest in our people is clear: in 2013, we delivered more than 140,000 student days of training.

To gauge the success of our training program, we survey participating employees to measure the overall quality of the training, as well as their increased level of knowledge. In addition, we require employees to pass a knowledge and skill assessment for each course or program that involves high-consequence tasks.

Building on these efforts, we have begun using a more robust system to measure the business impact of our training. For example, the new approach found that our investment in supervisors through the Supervisor Leadership Training yielded a return on investment of more than 125 percent through improved job performance after the training. Over the next several years, PG&E will expand the use of this evaluation method to additional training programs.

We have also introduced a new metric in 2014 that measures the training effectiveness of PG&E Academy, our centralized learning organization, through client surveys, performance evaluations, interviews and field observations.

Looking Ahead

With a significant number of our employees eligible to retire in the next five years, we are focused on building and sustaining the skilled and qualified workforce PG&E needs to thrive in the long-term. However, while many employees are nearing the end of the careers, overall PG&E has a low employee turnover rate: in 2013, 3.6 percent of employees left PG&E voluntarily.

One important focus is working to capture the institutional knowledge of key personnel before they leave PG&E. We have worked to identify critical positions within PG&E that rely upon experience-based knowledge and have taken steps to retain that information by building it into formal work practices and training, or by directly training other personnel.

Our Sustainability Journey





Economic Vitality