People centricity sparks sustainable renewal.

Portland General Electric Builds the Collaborative, Employee-Centric Foundation to Help Power Carbon-Free Energy by 2040


Improves employee experience, collaboration and efficiency

Enables continuous operational improvements

Reimagines HR service delivery from the ground up

Replaces 4 systems with just 1, on time and under budget

Pioneer energy provider Portland General Electric (PGE) implemented a program that runs on wind, solar and hydroelectric technologies – 20 years ago, before these power systems were popular. Today, more than 230,000 customers voluntarily opt in to PGE’s renewable energy programme, making it the largest of its kind in the United States. To build a clean energy future and meet its commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from power served to customers by at least 80% by 2030, PGE is developing a clean, smart grid. By 2040, PGE is committed to serving customers with 100% emissions-free power, with an additional target of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions across its business operations. Carmen Milashouskas, manager of HR strategy and operations at Portland General Electric, says, “These are ambitious goals. To be the organisation we aspire to be, we need to attract, develop and retain amazing talent with the right skills.”

Given the significant changes in our industry’s talent landscape, we looked at our HR systems and employee experiences through a new lens and saw we had to modernise.

Manager of HR Strategy and Operations

PGE’s previous HR platform included four siloed applications connected by 31 custom integrations. Workflow complexity, limited self-service options, and a lack of mobile access hindered employee efficiency and created frustration. Software updates were also so complicated and slow in coming that PGE often asked a third party to help. Milashouskas says, “It's hard to imagine not being able to access applications outside of the office or with your phone, but that was our situation.”

After looking at options, we knew that Workday was the system we needed to change the game.

Manager of HR Strategy and Operations

The courage to get it right.

After establishing solution goals that prioritised employee experience, PGE worked with a third party to deploy the Workday. However, PGE recognised early on that it needed a different partner in order to be successful, so the company engaged Workday Professional Services as its deployment partner. In less than 14 weeks, PGE redeployed its solution. Dawn Mendenhall, divisional chief information officer for corporate systems at Portland General Electric, says, “We were not willing to compromise our standards.”

Changing our plan at this early stage was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make, but we needed the right talent leading our deployment strategies.

Divisional Chief Information Officer, Corporate Systems

Sparking an efficient, cross-functional design.

By working with Workday Services, PGE improved its HR data foundation and deployment processes. “We intentionally created a hybrid system design and support team that included IT and HR people”, says Milashouskas. “This collaborative approach helped us achieve our goals. Even during testing, we co-located the IT and HR teams together so as people had a question or encountered a problem, they could talk about it right then and there.”

Employees now use automated, self-service workflows to manage tasks including recruiting, goal setting, learning, reporting and performance appraisals. Managers have greater insight into their teams so they can facilitate workforce strategies and resolve issues such as turnover. Employees can manage tasks using any device from any location. And by consolidating four systems into one, and eliminating 31 custom integrations, PGE simplifies software updates and support. Mendenhall says, “I'm so glad we held true to our principles. Even with our redeployment, our project came in under budget and we had zero payroll issues. The benefits were so significant that our team won an internal award, beating out 10 other major projects.”

Sustainable operations power innovation.

To ensure it can attract and retain the talent needed to build a clean energy future, PGE continues to refine HR operations, sometimes engaging Workday Services for guidance. “Our recent deployment of Workday Help has modernised and improved our managers’ and employees’ experience”, says Milashouskas. “Now they have one place to go for case and knowledge management, and it’s integrated with the Workday Assistant chat functionality. The system is so impressive – and it keeps getting better.”

We now have a flexible HR platform that we adapt to meet our employees’ needs.

Manager of HR Strategy and Operations

The company has also participated in a Workday value realisation assessment to identify areas where it can make better use of its Workday tools. Milashouskas concludes, “Teamwork and uncompromising standards don’t happen by accident. They require ongoing choices made with courage and tenacity. We knew Workday was going to be a game changer for HR and it really has been.”

It’s the partnership and collaboration between our internal and external stakeholders that’s made everything possible.

Manager of HR Strategy and Operations

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