Part II: What Does the Water Utility of the Future Mean for the Existing Workforce?

Part II: What Does the Water Utility of the Future Mean for the Existing Workforce?

In Part I of this two-part blog, West Monroe identified four key competency areas that we believe will be required to support the Utility of the Future:

  1. Water Resources Management
  2. Data Management
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Operations

Each represents an area of transformation driven by the change in industry. After defining the areas of competency, we compared current employee types against these competency areas to highlight the level of impact the competency categories are expected to have on employees. The anticipated impact levels are documented in the matrix below, with green representing areas of low impact to a particular employee job function, and red representing areas of greatest impact.

Blog chart

Executive Management: When the outlined areas of competency were compared to employee types, it was determined that the Executive Management roles will be most heavily impacted by the requirements to standup and maintain a Water Utility of the Future, including positions like the Executive Director, Director of Operations, and the Water Quality Director. Each of these positions will assist with driving change, encouraging employee participation, and maintaining customer satisfaction. These employee roles may require training to adjust responsibilities and gain understanding of the changing water utility atmosphere, or may require water utilities to hire new resources with a fresh look on the current and future state of their organization.

Operations: Some job functions within operations are expected to fundamentally change. Meter readers will become obsolete, communication network engineers will be become critical, and IT departments will require deeper understanding of security and data governance. Conversely, some job types within utility operations departments, such as lab technicians, construction engineers, and maintenance crews, will likely be performing tasks with the same goals and will continue to have similar required job qualifications. However, their roles will be impacted by changing technologies. New lab equipment and processes and mobile workforce management solutions will change how day to day operations are carried out by these teams. New data and the real-time information will impact the nature and prioritization of work, and in many cases who is performing that work.

Administration: Within Administration, roles related to call center and customer experience will be transformed by access to real-time data to help address customer needs. Human resources departments will still have the same primary job functions, but water utility recruiting arms may be hiring for new job types and will need to maintain an understanding of industry trends.

As water utilities continue to adapt to increased attention to water rights, analytics, and telecommunications infrastructure, it is vital to re-align job functions and responsibilities to best meet changing needs. West Monroe observes, understands, and can assist with the transition into the Water Utility of the Future. Change is inevitable as we begin to see the benefits technology can provide for water utilities and the way workforces must shift to accommodate challenges and opportunities of the Water Utility of the Future.

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Phone: 312-602-4000
Email: marketing@westmonroepartners.com
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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