By Peter Tyschenko, Commonwealth Edison and Stacy Woodward, Exelon Business Services Co.
Have you ever wondered what skills and strengths are needed to move into a different role, but didn’t know where to find that information? Engineers at Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) and other IT professionals across its parent company Exelon Corp. have wondered the same thing.
The Exelon family of companies participates in every stage of the energy business, from generation to competitive energy sales to transmission to delivery. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon has operations and business activities in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon employees 29,000 people throughout its family of companies, including 6,000 at ComEd who provide power to 3.8 million customers in northern Illinois.
myCAREER’S MAIN MENU
ComEd is the largest of Exelon’s utilities. Sister companies, Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) and Philadelphia Electric Co. (PECO) deliver electricity and natural gas to customers in central Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania, respectively.
Exelon’s goal is to be the leading 21st Century energy service provider. To meet that goal, employees must have the ability to fully realize their potential. Employees have consistently shared that often they are unsure of what steps they should take to build a career within the company.
EMPLOYEE SURVEY SAYS…
Exelon’s leadership team listened and now some 5,800 employees across the company can access a new innovative career development tool called “myCareer.” Some 1,000 management employees in ComEd’s technical services, T&S engineering, testing group, regional engineering and new business engineering areas are part of that employee group.
myCareer is a platform for employees to invest in their own development and the development of others.
The online myCareer portal helps employees ask and answer six critical, career-shaping questions:
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
- What do others see?
- What do I work on?
- Who can help me?
- What can help me?
Exelon IT employees embarked on application development in mid-2012. As the Exelon family of companies grew, employee development and collaboration was considered a top priority. A new innovative approach was necessary to help facilitate the collaboration of geographically dispersed employees.
The myCareer application developed from the ground up has been a game changer on how employees develop and collaborate.
Crowdsourcing was used to solicit ideas from a large pool of geographically dispersed employees. A “bureaucracy buster challenge” was then conducted to determine what was keeping employees from doing a good job.
Based on employees’ inputs, a framework was developed for the myCareer application that would eventually allow employees to navigate the company, develop career paths and connect with peers in a way that had never been done. myCareer allows employees to enhance their professional development by connecting with an informal mentor, having access to training resources and getting recognized for their work toward building their own career and helping others build their careers.
myCAREER’S UNLOCKED ACHIEVEMENTS
To systematically organize data within myCareer, individual “positions” on an organization chart were grouped into “roles,” “role families” and “career tracks.”
A role is a job function required to complete the organization’s objectives. One or more positions on the organizational chart perform similar job functions. A role family is closely related to roles. The two build on each other. A career track is the grouping of related role families that make up the most obvious career.
Teams hosted workshops with managers to gather skills and common proficiency levels for all roles. These common proficiency ratings were then available as benchmarks for employee development.
As part of ComEd’s initial rollout of myCareer in March of 2015, employees from engineering and non-engineering organizations gained access to the Web-based tool. With that access, users had the ability to manage information through both personal and public profiles, develop personalized career paths, assess current skills and compare those skills to skills needed for open positions within the company. In addition, they could find mentors or identify training to further develop or refine their skill sets. Other capabilities included receiving anonymous feedback, learning about available positions and earning rewards for their participation.
The main menu, as shown in Figure 1, as well as the dashboard provide access to all major features within the application. These include Career Path, Skills Assessment, Mentorship, 360°, Thank You app (application), Achievements, Endorsements and Explore Opportunities.
The Career Path wizard allows employees to create a career path from their current role to a target future role. A role hierarchy allows employees to view the roles within a variety of business units. Both intermediate and long term roles can be identified and employees can compare their skills to the skills required for any role along their career path. They also can also see their colleagues who are in those roles-fantastic people to invite to be their mentors.
The Skills Assessment module allows employees to use myCareer to rate their proficiency in personal (core competencies), business and specialized skills. It creates a “bioprint,” which is a unique professional mapping of an employee’s skills and abilities that allows that employee to compare his or her current skill sets to those needed for job roles he or she may want to pursue. Because each bioprint is employee specific, it puts a spotlight on professional strengths and helps the employee better understand the competencies needed to make the most of his or her career journey.
An employee can interact with the skill by marking it as a passion, a targeted skill the employee wants to work on, or a skill in which the employee wants to mentor. The employee also can see how many training resources or mentors are available for each skill.
Employees are encouraged to become mentors because Exelon believes everyone has knowledge and experience to share. Employees can be a mentor for their specific roles within the company or for specific skills they want to share. The mentoring process is very informal. It might be something as simple as coffee once a month. Employees also can search for mentors by skill, location, level and other criteria.
The 360° Feedback wizard provides a way for employees to obtain actionable feedback from colleagues they select. The 360° wizard allows employees to customize their feedback requests so that they can better understand their strengths and opportunities for growth in areas they select.
Great work gets done all the time. The Thank You app in myCareer encourages employees to take time to thank someone who does a great job and demonstrates Exelon’s core competencies. It allows employees to provide positive feedback to peers, other employees and managers for their good work.
The Thank You app cultivates a culture of feedback from all stakeholders, not just managers. It is innovative and provides a fun, yet purposeful option to recognize others using technology. It’s short, sweet and to the point because the message can be only 140 characters long. The Thank You app generates an e-mail to the targeted employees and encourages them to pay it forward.
myCareer employs novel gamification techniques to help increase employee contributions. Employees earn achievements by contributing to career development. They can choose to display unlocked achievement symbols on their public profile (see Figure 2). Some achievements require completion of only simple tasks while other achievements progress from novice to guru and finally master level.
myCareer offers employees the ability to endorse colleagues through the Endorsement wizard when a user has first-hand knowledge of another person’s demonstrated skills. This benefits both hiring managers and mentees searching for mentors. It provides a new way to validate skills of prospective employees.
Through the Explore Opportunities module, employees can “watch” selected roles along their career path. Watching indicates an interest in those roles should they become available. Employees can search for particular skillsets for hiring or special projects or both. They also can find a subject matter expert to answer questions.
Collaboration Quotient (CQ)
Because myCareer’s goal was to enhance employee collaboration, a method to measure collaboration was essential. A collaboration quotient (CQ) that uses a collaboration module (see Figure 3) was, therefore, developed.
The CQ is a simple measure of an individual or group of employees’ collaboration with others. It tracks an employee’s investment in his or her own development, how much an employee is investing in others’ development, and how much others believe that employee is contributing to Exelon.
The CQ number ranges from 1 to 100. The higher the score the more an individual employee or group of employees is seen as setting the standard within Exelon for collaboration, self-improvement and helping others develop.
Everyone in myCareer has a CQ on their public profile and it changes over time.
Employees can increase their CQ more by helping others rather than themselves. All actions taken in myCareer, however, contribute to the CQ.
Consistent actions over time also increase CQ more than spurts of intense actions. No predetermined, special, secret or ideal combination of actions must be completed for an employee to achieve a score of 100. Those who get 100 are simply doing more of these measured actions more frequently and consistently than those who don’t.
It’s a two-way street; CQ is measured by the actions others take with an employee in myCareer, as well as by individual actions taken both in myCareer and in everyday work. Outside of myCareer, positive actions can be as simple as going out of one’s way to contribute and help out as many people as possible during every day work-related activities.
EMPLOYEES ARE KEY
myCareer’s success is due to Exelon employees. It puts the opportunity for career enhancements at employees’ fingertips. Employees can actively plan their professional growth through a range of practical steps. The information compiled in myCareer can help ensure an employee is focused on the skills and behaviors needed to take that next step on his or her career path. That employee also can help others by providing feedback and endorsements.
ComEd will be rolling out myCareer across the rest of the organization throughout 2015. Body copy
Peter Tyschenko is manager of distribution standards at Commonwealth Edison in Illinois. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and joined ComEd after graduation. He has been involved in a broad range of activities including field engineering, work management and reliability engineering. Reach him at email@example.com
Stacy Woodward is manger of information and technology in the Exelon’s Cultural Transformation Office. Reach her at Stacy.Woodward@constellation.com