ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 25

To move into the future, utilities will be well served if they create a culture of "organizational
learning" that recognizes and supports the importance of ongoing learning for each employee
across the organization and engages employees in creating ways for the organization to continue
to adapt, demonstrate agility and evolve in response to the changes and challenges it faces.
care about the impact of decisions on employees as well as the business and
customers has not changed-except possibly to have increased.

IMPLICATION OF THESE CHANGES/NON-CHANGES
There is a myth told in training and development circles about the Chinese
word for crisis. It was believed that it was made up of two symbols-one
that stood for danger and the other for opportunity or (more correctly)
crucial turning point. While that may not be the exact meaning of these
symbols, the idea is very relevant to this time. We are well aware of the risks
and danger we face in this time of coronavirus. But we may not be seeing
and grasping the opportunity for change, new development and growth
that are also implicit in the situation.
People matter. They always have, but making clear the organization's
care of and commitment to its employees is important to continue beyond
this disrupted period. It may well entail a revisit of the tried and true "Our
Values" list on the wall or on an organization's portal page on the internet.
Agility matters. If flexibility and evolution are important (and we agree
that they are), then workgroups and leaders should look at what has been
learned during this period that can benefit the operation going forward.
For example, some may be able to work from home efficiently and save
both the organization and employee time and money as well as reduce
commuting stress and pollution.
Customer service matters. The way we interact with customers may move
even further in the direction it has been moving, with more "virtual contact"
and less in-person engagement, but not necessarily in all situations, with
increased speed and efficiency.
Communication and connection matter. We will move more and more to
virtual communication, including meetings, some training and testing, quality checks, performance measures, and easier methods to do job-sharing. In
the last two months, we have become much smarter about and comfortable
with a wide variety of communication technologies.
Technology matters. For some smaller organizations, the implications of
a move to even more digital may involve dread instead of delight. Utilities,
like most organizations, are constantly searching for technologies that
will make work more efficient and safer to better serve customers. But as
we move toward even more of a virtual operation, technology takes on a
broader importance.
Training and development matter. We, in Collaborative Learning, believe
training and employee development will continue moving to more to virtual
platforms. Universities and other institutions have already moved much of
their instruction online-a trend that has been in play for years. Though
some are opening for in-person classes in the fall, most will have some or
all classes offered virtually.
The bottom-line matters. As utilities move out of this stay-at-home period,
they will be faced with the pressure to reduce costs (but not service) and will
need to ponder the bottom line. They make discover new understandings of
ROI and how organizations invest in their people and yes, the simplest, easiest way to get things done. We believe it is critically important that employee
education and training not be cut to reduce short-term costs. E-learning is
an affordable way to deliver quality programs AND manage costs.

WHAT EMPLOYEES NEED AND EXPECT-NOW AND IN
THE FUTURE
Out of this time of coronavirus, we believe the utility workforce has a
set of expectations that may be different from the past. The Barrett Values
Centre recently conducted an organizational values assessment across a
wide range of sectors around the world. The Barrett report of this assessment
noted some very specific values that have become important to people
for the future that were less evident in the past. For the utility industry
specifically, Barrett reports that the value "agility" was not a marker prior
to the coronavirus but has been during the shut-down and will be going
forward into a post-coronavirus world.1
We believe employees want a high degree of engagement and input in
the work that is done and how it is handled. They want to continue in this
team-oriented, collaborative, non-hierarchical work environment. And they
want to continue the more personal and caring interactions they have been
experiencing, so they know they matter as people to the organization, not
simply as task performers delivering to the bottom line.
Part of this new or increased expectation is for ongoing real time, honest and open (meaning two-way) communication. Our employees don't
need hard situations sugar coated-they just need to know what the
situation is, what is known about it and what ideas are being considered
for dealing with it.
We don't know how a return to more "normal" work operations will evolve,
and we don't know if the coronavirus will come back in large numbers and
send everyone back home. What we do know is that organizations and
the people in them will need to maintain the agility they have shown in
the last few months, and continuous improvement will be important for the
post-coronavirus culture. And employees want to be focused on a shared
vision that provides a sense of meaning to their work and a clear picture of
the future. We believe employees want their voices to be part of casting
that vision, and they want to see the way in which their contributions add
to the whole and to the future.

HOW WE CAN DESIGN AND SUPPORT CHANGES THROUGH
VIRTUAL LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
This article grew out of work and teaching we have been doing with
utilities on e-learning. To deal effectively with past and future demands and
employee expectations, we know the workforce will need to evolve as the
organization evolves. To remain agile and continue to improve, employees
need new skills and knowledge to work in the way the future will require
Up until March of 2020, a primary focus for intentional employee development occurred in face-to-face training, instruction and coaching. We know,
because we have done a lot of that, and done it successfully. Collaborative
Learning also has offered online webinars for years, but it was not our preferred approach, but the coronavirus has caused us, like everyone else to
abandon, at least for now, our successful model for continuing education.
We have had to learn different ways to work-and that means different
ways of helping people develop. We have had to come up to speed quickly
on e-learning and how to conduct even more effective webinars. We too
have a new appreciation for the value of virtual (or e-) learning.
WWW.RMEL.ORG  25


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ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020

Letter from the Executive Director
RMEL Board of Directors
Effective Communication & Culture Strategies in Times of Uncertainty
Overcoming Cybersecurity Overload & Security Impacts During COVID-19
Staying Connected to Customer Needs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
Now What? A Move to Post-COVID Operation With the Help of e-Learning
2020 Fall Convention
The RMEL Foundation Auction is Going VIRTUAL!
2020 Calendar of Events
Member Listings
Foundation Board of Directors List
Advertisers’ Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Intro
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - bellyband1
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - bellyband2
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - cover1
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - cover2
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 4
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 5
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Letter from the Executive Director
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 7
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - RMEL Board of Directors
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 9
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Effective Communication & Culture Strategies in Times of Uncertainty
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 11
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 12
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 13
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Overcoming Cybersecurity Overload & Security Impacts During COVID-19
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 15
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 16
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 17
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Staying Connected to Customer Needs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 19
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 20
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 21
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Now What? A Move to Post-COVID Operation With the Help of e-Learning
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 23
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 24
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 25
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 26
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 27
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 2020 Fall Convention
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 29
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - The RMEL Foundation Auction is Going VIRTUAL!
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 2020 Calendar of Events
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Member Listings
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - 33
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - Advertisers’ Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - cover3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - cover4
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - outsert1
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - outsert2
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - outsert3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2020 - outsert4
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