Human Resources Nuclear Excellence Performance Improvement

How People Health Committees© Improve Organizational Performance

people health committee

In a time when organizations are determining how to manage talent in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this article offers a strategy and process that can guide organizations through this difficult period. Managing organizational performance is a fundamental objective for any leader. This process provides a strategy and direction for them to follow.

A few US nuclear power plants (NPPs) have experienced a decline in operational performance due to shortfalls in considering and addressing the potential effects of organizational changes and personnel reductions. The aging demographics of the workforce, and pressure to lower costs associated with staffing, resulted in organizational changes and personnel reductions.

Accelerant Solutions has assisted US nuclear power plant leaders with the implementation of the People Health Committee© Program (PHCs) to correct these shortfalls. This article provides a high-level review of how to implement the People Health Committee© approach at your utility, develop a sustainable knowledge management process, and achieve the desired outcome of improving and sustaining operational performance.

INPO Performance Objective Criteria CO6.6, and WANO Performance Objective Criteria CO6.6 states: The potential effects of organizational changes and personnel reductions are considered and addressed before such changes are initiated.

Workforce studies continue to show a need to replace significant portions of the US nuclear power plant workforce due to aging demographics. Furthermore, the need to lower staffing-related costs due to electrical pricing competition for electricity generated from renewable methods is driving nuclear power plant staffing reductions. This requires nuclear power plant leaders to implement comprehensive workforce planning strategies to ensure people possess the appropriate knowledge and skills to safely and reliably operate their nuclear power plants.

During any plant challenge (COVID-19 pandemic, short notice outages, transient events, etc.), having the right people, with the right skills, at the right time is a critical element in maintaining a safe and effective operation. This process helps NPP leaders work through those decision points.

How the PHC is Implemented

Accelerant Solutions assisted nuclear power plant leaders with the implementation of the People Health Committee© approach to accomplish the following:

  • Set strategy, process, and direction for the people section of the business plan. Also, an operating model focused on current and future people’s needs for the organization
  • Review program results and provides guidance on the people programs
  • Provide senior management oversight of issues and trends along with the changes impacting people (knowledge, proficiency, and workforce capabilities)
  • Provide the organization with a sustainable process to ensure strategic workforce planning, leader development, and knowledge management initiatives achieve their desired results
  • Develop a sustainable process to manage people development, knowledge management, and organizational proficiency

People Health Committee© Monitoring Strategy

The People Health Committee© provides nuclear power plant leaders with a forum to identify people’s knowledge and skill issues and align the organization on corrective actions. Here is what they monitor:

  • Talent management and planning including mentoring
  • Performance and proficiency management
  • Knowledge transfer and retention (knowledge management)
  • Workforce planning
  • Workforce development including staffing pipelines

The People Health Committee© uses key performance indicators to measure progress and results in each of these programs. The performance indicators focus on talent planning, workforce demographics, talent acquisition, knowledge management, and performance/proficiency management.

PHCs typically meet monthly using the following format:

  • Department-Level Reviews: each major department provides an overview of organizational risk assessments based on key performance indicators
  • Top Performance Indicators and Challenges – review of succession planning, staffing, turnover, and organizational culture indicators; and knowledge management challenges, employee recognition, and high-potential candidates
  • Program/Topic Deep Dives – human resource events, alignment opportunities, and other topics as needed

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, one utility used their people health committee to respond to the challenges such as the following:

  • Retaining critical skills for plant operations – skills inventories
  • Addressing remote working strategies
  • Developing solutions to provide training in a remote work environment
  • Addressing the ability to return retirees to support skill gap needs
  • Redeploying talent from various departments to support emerging plant needs
  • Developing strategies for the safety and welfare of employees who are required to support plant operations

NPP leaders that have implemented the PHC approach noted the following improvements to programs and initiatives affecting people:

  • INPO/WANO recognized PHC as an industry strength and as a sustainability mechanism to manage people proficiency challenges
  • Increased focus on assessing loss of critical and unique knowledge and development of knowledge loss action plans
  • Improved people development quality by identifying proficiency gaps and strategies to close those gaps
  • Enhanced discussions regarding organizational effectiveness actions and methods to improve people engagement

Contact us today to learn more about how to implement PHCs at your nuclear site today.


D. Heler and M. Marler

Comment (1)

  1. Daniel A Cifonelli
    May 22, 2020

    This looks like an excellent program and could be detailed in a Nuclear Leadership Training Program.

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