Our Team

We’re a team that serves customers who depend on us for electricity when they want it and need it. We operate power plants, build and maintain electric lines, troubleshoot service issues, and provide the support services needed to keep our company running smoothly. We also employ contractors for special assignments, such as transmission line, power plant, and customer information system projects.

We offer our employees competitive compensation and benefits, promote a safe work environment, and challenge employees to excel. Our Human Resources Department administers a compensation and benefits program that helps us attract and retain a quality workforce. We endorse Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Plans. And we provide open channels of communication with our employees. For our bargaining unit employees (50% of our workforce), we define a grievance process within our Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Employees by Location

Minnesota

453

North Dakota

198

South Dakota

107

Total employees

758

Employees by Category

 

 

Female

Male

Regular

Full-time

151

586

Part-time

12

1

Temporary

Full-time

0

7

Part-time

0

1

Includes temporary and part-time employees and our employees shared with other plant co-owners as of December 31, 2019. Plant co-owners’ shares are defined by the percentage of ownership between NorthWestern Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Northern Municipal Power Agency, and Otter Tail Power Company at our Big Stone Plant and Coyote Station. They are Otter Tail Power Company employees, but their costs are shared with plant co-owners.

Compensation and Benefits

To help retain a skilled workforce through competitive benefits, we routinely benchmark our compensation policy. Our most recent study, conducted by Mercer Consulting in 2018, benchmarked approximately 116 nonunion positions in the energy industry sector with similar revenue size to Otter Tail Power Company to accurately reflect the market value of total compensation (base salary plus incentive). Our next study will be done in 2021. On aggregate, our total compensation equaled the competitive market median. In addition to vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave, we offer our employees the following benefits:

2019 Employee Benefits

Benefit

Full Time

Part Time

401(k) retirement savings plan and/or pension plan

X

X

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

X

X

Health plan

X

X*

Dental plan

X

Group/supplemental life insurance

X

Personal accidental death and dismemberment insurance

Voluntary Accident/Critical Illness Insurance

X

X

X*

X

Health Savings Account

X

X*

Flexible benefit plan

X

X

Long-term disability plan

X

X*

Employee Assistance Program

X

X

Employee self-improvement

X

X

Adoption assistance

X

Travel accident insurance

X

X

Stock purchase plan

X

X

Safety eyeglasses plan

X*

X**

Safety shoes plan

X*

X**

Fire-retardant clothing allowance

X*

X**

 *Eligibility based on hours-worked requirement.

**Eligibility based on exposure.

Tuition Reimbursement

Employees receive reimbursement for 80% of tuition and book costs for company-related accredited coursework. In 2019, 7 employees took advantage of this opportunity.

Performance Evaluations

Our company requires managers and supervisors to evaluate their employees’ performance annually. Specifically, these evaluations include setting goals, recognizing employee strengths, and planning for employee development. In 2019 our completion rate was 94.78%.

Diversity and Inclusion

We’re an Equal Opportunity Employer with policies and practices that are nondiscriminatory. Our workforce’s ethnic diversity reflects the demographics of the population we serve. For example, ethnic minorities represent approximately 5% of the population of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where approximately 400 of our employees work. Our Human Resources Department ensures we comply with all laws regarding labor practices and that we have an inclusive work environment where talented people thrive. We respect and value diversity among our employees and all those with whom we do business, and we hold every employee accountable for their behavior in maintaining a workplace free of discrimination and harassment. The table below compares female versus male employees in each job category.

 2019 Affirmative Action Analysis

Job Group Name

Female

Male

Total*

Officers

2

6

8

Managers

6

54

60

Supervisors

11

31

42

Senior professionals

11

56

67

Mid-level professionals

31

38

69

Entry-level professionals

28

15

43

Technicians

0

4

4

Administrative support

74

10

84

Senior craft workers

0

172

172

Mid-level craft workers

0

129

129

Entry-level craft workers

0

64

64

Operatives

1

4

5

Service workers

0

2

2

Laborers

0

9

9

TOTAL

164

594

758

 

Workforce Turnover

Our 758 employees in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota expect and deserve a safe workplace where they are challenged, rewarded, and respected. Company leadership works to ensure this. Upon retirement, the average employee has approximately 35 years of service.

We typically have a low employee turnover rate compared with other industries. The 2019 employee turnover rate was 9.6%, including retirements. Below is a breakdown by age group.

2019 Workforce Turnover

Age group

Termed

Total

Rate

MEN

Under 30

 11

 87

 12.64%

30–50

 10

 267

 3.75%

Over 50

(mostly retirements)

 35

 241

 14.52%

TOTAL

 56

 595

 9.41%

WOMEN

Under 30

 4

 27

 14.81%

30–50

 5 

 64

 7.81%

Over 50

(mostly retirements)

 8

 72

 11.11%

TOTAL

 17

 163

 10.43%

MIDWEST REGION (MN, ND, AND SD)

Under 30

 15

 114

 13.16%

30–50

 15

 331

 4.53%

Over 50

 43

 313

 13.74%

TOTAL

 73

 758

 9.63%

We anticipate 35% to 40% of our workforce will reach our average retirement age within the next ten years, taking valuable skills and expertise with them. We continue to address this projected labor shortage in our internal succession planning process and by working with current employees to improve efficiencies. And in 2019 we hired to fill 49 positions.

2019 Rehires and New Hires

Regular

42

Temporary

7

TOTAL

49

Recruitment

We provide recruitment materials to educational institutions and other sources as outreach to potential employees. For example, we distribute Powerful Possibilities, our career guide, to area high school and college career services offices. It features overviews of jobs in customer service, engineering, and plant and field operations.

We also support scholarship programs and internships, participate in job fairs, and accept speaking engagements. We have ties to post-secondary programs and employee involvement in multiple advisory committees at area institutions of higher learning, including:

• Bismarck State College

• Lake Area Technical Institute

• Minnesota State Community and Technical College – Fergus Falls and Wadena

• Mitchell Technical Institute

• North Dakota State College of Science

• North Dakota State University

• Northwest Technical College

• South Dakota State University

• University of Minnesota – Crookston and Morris

• University of North Dakota

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