Mobile Engagement: Talking About Effectiveness, Ethics

February 15, 2019 Ben DiPietro

As part of my panel discussion this week on workforce mobile engagement at the SCCE Utilities and Energy compliance and ethics conference in Houston, we talked about how to measure the effectiveness of engagement efforts with employees and partners.

Are the rights analytics out there to determine what is working, and what isn’t? 

Lori Spence, executive director of regulatory affairs and the former chief compliance officer at MidContinent Independent System Operator, said her company knows how long someone spends on a training session, how long they stay on a particular web page, and keeps metrics for its apps such as who visits them and what department they work in.

“They put out those type of metrics to indicate who is visiting different training opportunities out there that aren’t mandatory,” said Spence. “How many in the department are going to those, how long are they spending with it, have they asked to use training in staff meetings?”

The information is used to improve training materials and other messaging, she said. For instance, the data may show a certain training module hasn’t been clicked on in a year, an indication changes are needed.

“Or we have a lot of people interested in energy storage and we have a lot of employees that are looking at that training, one-pagers, so maybe we need to do some more on energy storage,” she said.

Antonio Fernández, chief compliance and privacy officer for energy company Public Service Enterprise Group, said the company studies click rates and similar metrics, and is bringing together IT, human resources and compliance to create more governance around the company’s data. But he thinks the right set of measurements still need to be identified.

“With regard to training, the compliance program, that kind of stuff, we don’t yet have a strategic, cohesive point of view,” said Fernández. “That’s something we’re focusing on.”

The discussion also centered on whether there should there be a set of ethical standards in place to govern the collection of data, how it’s analyzed and how it’s used.

MISO conducts an annual survey with its customers, but doesn’t get access to the individualized data, which stays with the vendor that handles that project, said Spence. “If someone says ‘Your general counsel is a crook,’ we would never know who said that,” she said. Companies need to review their rules and their codes of conduct to make sure these issues are addressed, she said.

Because he is the company’s chief privacy officer, Fernández has to think about this issue often. As he worked through his thoughts about privacy, he concluded he preferred the model where companies don't make money off of their customers' data.

These companies “respected my privacy more, where they could have taken my information and monetized it in some way, and used me in a way that I became the product,” he said.

As the business model for the energy sector changes, Fernández said companies will have the most information about energy related to individual consumers, and need to be responsible for that trust being given to them.

“Whether it’s through your refrigerator, your meter, or your thermostat, we are going to know a lot about you,” he said. “To gain that trust...our brand has distinguished from the marketplace in a way that makes it so people trust us with their information. There’s going to be a lot of conversation around that because we do have a lot of information that people would consider to be private.”

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