Corporate “news show” introduces the bottom line to staff

At Ontario Power Generation, changing employees’ mindset required a crash course in private-sector realities
By Mani Goulding and Tom Pendlebury
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/19/2003

Changing from a government-owned monopoly to a nimble, private-sector player in a competitive market is a huge change. For Ontario Power Generation (OPG) the opening of Ontario’s electricity market meant shifting the attitudes of all employees to fit new realities.

OPG, which inherited the power generating capacity of the former provincial electrical utility Ontario Hydro, also inherited a culture that saw itself having one mission: keep the lights on. Ontario Hydro had faced virtually no competition, and its ballooning debt load demonstrated that the need to be fiscally restrained frequently took a back seat to the service imperative.

Changing this attitude demanded a new focus on fiscal responsibility and attention to the bottom line at every level of the organization. Front-line workers, many who wear hardhats to work, needed to become familiar with complex financial concepts so that they could see how their actions affected the organization’s financial health, and contributed to its success.