AEP Sustainability - Workforce

Our Workforce

We are transforming the way we do our work. The skills we need and the expectations of new generations who are fast becoming the majority of our workforce are rapidly changing and now are a primary focus area. Technology is playing a pivotal role in how this unfolds. According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will hold jobs that do not currently exist. Digital platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) are creating greater efficiencies, cost savings and new career opportunities. Access to enormous amounts of data are informing how we act, invest and engage.

While we will still have a significant need to hire new talent, we are reorganizing many of our traditional job roles and reassessing how we will perform our work in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic also brought forward thinking about where the work is done. Our business units are preparing to integrate new technologies into existing workflows while identifying new work processes that can better leverage our changing workforce.

AEP is committed to disclosing our human capital management data. The following metrics can be found in our 2020 GRI Report:

Protecting Our Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, AEP took significant steps to keep our employees healthy while ensuring our ability to serve our customers.

When prospective employees are considering their career options, they are looking for companies that share their values, offer competitive wages and benefits, provides opportunities for learning new skills and achieving career advancement, and allow flexibility to balance work and personal interests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AEP took significant steps to keep our employees healthy while ensuring our ability to serve our customers. We instructed all employees who were able to work from home to do so to help prevent the spread of the virus, closed all AEP facilities to outside visitors and curtailed all non-essential travel and participation in face-to-face meetings.

In addition, as employees grappled with unprecedented challenges and personal demands arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, AEP worked to develop a comprehensive set of pay and leave programs to support employees across a wide range of situations. This was guided by a goal to protect and provide fair continuation of wages and benefits while limiting exposure risk to protect the health of employees and their families.

We also made several enhancements to AEP’s Medical Plan and Retirement Savings 401(k) Plan for employees impacted by COVID-19. The AEP Medical Plan changes align with new federal requirements and provides temporary enhancements to employees and their families with flexible options, many with no cost, when seeking health care. AEP’s 401(k) changes provide hardship relief through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides options for accessing funds from 401(k) accounts due to financial hardship related to the coronavirus.

Learn more in COVID-19.

As we seek to attract and retain the top talent for jobs that range from line workers to data scientists to digital experts, AEP knows the competition is fierce. We are committed to providing a safe, diverse and inclusive workplace and an engaged culture. Here are some of the many benefits offered to our employees:

AEP Employee Benefits

  • Medical (includes same-sex partner benefits)
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Critical illness plans
  • Accidental death insurance
  • Health care flexible spending account
  • Life insurance (and supplemental)
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Training programs
  • Legal services
  • Vacation purchase program
  • 401(k)
  • Wellness program
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Financial planning
  • Adoption assistance
  • Education assistance
  • Retirement benefits

Across society, consumers are increasingly integrating mobile digital technology into their daily lives, from online shopping and operating their home security systems to remotely turning lights on and off and adjusting thermostats. At AEP, we are integrating digital into the way we organize, behave and operate to remain competitive, better serve our customers and create sustainable value. This operating model gives us a place to test insights and develop valuable products, services and solutions quickly for customers and become more efficient ourselves.

As we continue our digital transformation, we are creating opportunities for employees to remain open to test new ideas. We are encouraging a collaborative mindset that sparks curiosity and creativity – staying true to our heritage of innovation. Our employees must be agile, willing to challenge the status quo to test new ideas and insights, and able to accept failure as part of success.

For example, we are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve some of our key business challenges. In 2019, we began a demonstration called “AI Olympics,” where we encouraged a group of forward-looking employees to submit ideas that can showcase AI as viable solutions. The goal is to create awareness about the capabilities of AI and the kinds of challenges it can help solve.

At AEP, we are in the midst of the disruption and change that comes with the need to adapt to an evolving landscape. We now have a multigenerational workforce that increasingly prefers alternative work styles and work environments beyond the traditional office environment. The rise of mobile and wearable technology, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, drones and networks powered by 5G are among the transformational changes reshaping the workplace.

While the work is changing, the technical and physical skills required to maintain and operate the grid remain critical. Merging these different needs requires a core mindset of continuous learning and continuous improvement. We must transform our workforce by helping employees develop the skills needed to accomplish their work using these new digital platforms.

The workplace as we know it today must also transform to accommodate the work of the future. We are rethinking where we do our work by assessing options such as virtual or remote work, and we are exploring new ways to get work done. We are learning a lot about remote working as approximately 12,000 of our employees, including over 80% of call center employees, are working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also adapting offices and other facilities to accommodate new technology and enable our employees to be more productive and collaborative.

We are working with our business units to identify the changes they anticipate to their operations over the next several years. We are conducting extensive research and analysis to understand our current workflows and the way our employees currently do their work. We are also asking ourselves whether it is more effective and efficient to hire contractors, to engage third parties or to use process automation. This allows us to be more flexible as business needs and skillsets change as well as to become more efficient.