Kansas City Power & Light Company

  www.kcpl.com
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Kansas City Power & Light Company Reviews

Updated Jul 28, 2014

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3.2 10 reviews

100% Approve of the CEO

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Terry D Bassham

(2 ratings)

50% of employees recommend this company to a friend
10 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Excellent

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsCutting edge oracle technology and great working team

    ConsI do not have any cons to say

    Advice to Senior Managementkeep up the good work

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Aged Workforce, Relatively corrupt HR practices, Declining industry, No Dev Ops, Focus on Pub Image vs Pub Good

    Analyst (Current Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsThe health benefits are ok, though they've been changing to getting progressively worse each year as mgmt feels health benefits are too pricey and local economy gives power to employers (time off is actually not good for new employees).

    Work-life balance. Because you can do little in many departments the pay isn't bad for each hour worked - in some sense people are making just as much per hour of actual labor as the executives (though that is also a problem since some execs are just as ineffective as their staffers). Great if you have time consuming hobbies.

    There are some good smart people around (despite the problems).

    It's hard to get fired.

    Monopoly; you're probably not working for a bankrupt entity anytime soon. Regualtors keep rates in check.

    Majority of the workforce will be retiring in the next 15 years. Should lead to opportunity if you're willing to wait.

    ConsProfessional growth is non-existent for most everyone, with the exception being those who are closely held by someone high up. Professional growth at KCPL means using their 'KCPL University', which is a childish series of Microsoft Outlook classes or lectures about mgmt books - not actual opportunity to see who can sink or swim on their own. Because there is no competition with other power providers (monopoly) there is no true 'discovery' of talent in a competitive landscape - and the needed order to discover talent is often reversed; 'I like / pick you so you'll be good at things' vs 'you are good at things so I pick you'. Not always but often.

    Operates like a high-school in many regards. A very small clique runs a large part of the politics of KCPL - and since there is no independent review of management you'll see them strongarm more capable people out of opportunities in favor of friends or those who they want to keep happy. You'll see the same 5 people get 90% of new opportunities. For ex: I saw someone go into a department as an Analyst in her mid 30's. She could not do pivot tables, was primarily confused, and had quickly burned through short stints at large accounting firms (BAD sign) before but because of a VP was told to lead projects. She left to get promoted for a risk job (but had actually never heard of reinsurance and was not able to do financial modeling) and then to another job. The foundation for the job switching and promotions are a special relationship w/ a VP, and despite the lack of intellect, curiosity, or leadership ability it's a quick way to make sure they get a raise and stay quiet. I have not seen promotion of obvious incompetence anywhere like this example. As a rough rule: if you are an idiot you can hide in plain site as long as everyone knows that the VP will hold an umbrella above your head.

    Lack of courage by many managers. Many are afraid to try anything that has not gotten consensus - and why? The punishment is too high w/ the execs who will hold your "failure" as a trophy for their dept and a business model that is guaranteed. Also, there is a strong likelihood your boss will not have the power or desire to do anything about credit stealing by others (happens a lot), and other typical office injustices. I have several funny (albeit petty) examples about a boss not wanting to spend more than $12 per head on the annual holiday lunch - that is the timidity and undignified level of fear driven into management. Prepare to never see a decision be made.

    Corruption seems higher than expected as well given it's a utility though I'm referring to the actions of a few departments. Besides corruption in hiring and mgmt practices there are attempts at misleading the public. Statistics and figures often used in dealings with the public are gamed or misleading - though some departments are quite honest in their work. The company publicly calls for environmentally friendly action but privately funds a PAC which donates nearly all of its funds to Republicans who will hopefully vote against environmental initiatives at their request. Another source of corruption exists in the dealing of corporate communication activities (though this is not unique): while it can be well known who actually drives business, they will typically apply credit to only the same individuals, and they do it in public forums like email news bulletins to justify the actions they will be taking later). It gets old when it becomes plainly transparent and thinly veiled by childish corp comm language that overuses punctuation.

    Mgmt infighting exists quite extensively at times. The leaders of some business units can sometimes be seen stealing other employees in an attempt to undermine them before a high workload period, found discrediting other departments in email chains, or stealing resources from other units in order to vault their perceived value. Again, gets old. There are definitely departments you do not want to be in - and they have a reputation as being the losers in these political turf-wars due to the power balance on the executive floor (the exec floor is in a whole separate elevator lobby, which is funny).

    Culture is not ideal. This is the prototypical Midwestern utility - paternal, fearful, slow, not competitive, conservative, lifer tenure, demotivated, disengaged. Because there is no opportunity for growth and most people are in their 50's they have little incentive to care beyond the day's task. People barely communicate, often cut out early (me included), do not share information, get scared when things change even in the slightest degree. Exec mgmt itself just wants to get through the work week. Getting people to care is nearly impossible and if you're looking at the company, you should acknowledge that the culture will change you and not the other way around. If you're young you should understand that you're likely going to be isolated and unhappy, though this may depend on how much like them you are, and be aware there are better games in town.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPrepare your golden parachutes: You are probably a turnaround story and there is much in EPS sitting in terms of excessive labor and mgmt that value should be relatively easily discovered. The Regulatory division and those leading efforts in rate case issues are the only ones worth saving in a sense as they make the firm money. The rest are fungible and would result in greater efficiency if rolled into a larger firm, IMO.

    Quit the corrupt promotion / hiring practices. It is the biggest driver of your demotivation and the reason why you are not considered a good place to work and have awful culture. You should conduct real processes to find talent and not hire a VP's partner in crime - even if it doesn't result in optimal talent usage (which your current method doesn't do anyway) it is recognized as fair and as attempted.

    Recognize the severe role of infighting plays in corporate culture and re-organize to reduce it.

    Time off is behind several competitors and seems out-dated.

    Industry in is in decline and you are a slow mover. Look at the actions of others (NRG, Excelon) compared to your strategic growth efforts. You move so slowly and the team you have selected to lead seems out-gunned. Look elsewhere / rethink this effort. Stick to what you know - you'll get beat in real competition. Culture won't adapt.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good place to work. Good pay and benefits.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsGood pay and benefits, good job security, very good equipment and tools to do your job. Work environments are nice. Got new mgmt at the top a few years ago that is making positive changes.

    ConsDecision making is slow at times.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEmpower directors and managers in the business. Encourage sensible risk taking.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Accountant

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsSalary, Vacation/Sick Time, Pension Plan

    ConsThe invisible ceiling seems to follow minorities.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPromote more minorities. Not just the same 2 or 3.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    I had worked for KCPL for years and have been admiring it.

    Senior Electrical Engineer (Former Employee) Kansas City, KS

    ProsKCPL treat its employee quite well. It has excellent utility culture, rational pay and benefit, fair training opportunity, flexible work hour, not much overtime, and great high and direct managements.

    ConsWorking in one of tradistional power utility is less challenging and has less opportunity to grow.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLess micro-management and more encourage

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    The work and pay were good, too bad the management wasn't.

    Network Engineer (Former Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsGood pay, good benefits, nice 401k matching

    Cons"Good old boy" environment, incompetent supervisors and managers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf a supervisor has so many complaints against him that HR has to send out a survey about him then it's probably time to let him go.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Not perfect but a lot more pluses than minus and well compensated for the job.

    Shift Supervisor (Current Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsCompensation is very good in the generation positions. Time off, work / life balance is good. Very proactive in promoting and hiring young people, minority and military. They try very hard to show employee appreciation and improve the working enviroment. Make a real effort at trying to foster a family type atmosphere within the company. Managed to not have any layoffs even with the economic down turn.

    ConsThe company doesn't seem to listen to input from anyone outside the HQ building. People out in the field and working at the generation plants seem to have their voice ignored.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you are going to hold company events make them something people want to participate in. Don't give up, there have been some very positive changes in the last few years.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    Some things have improved while others have gotten worse.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsGood work/life balance although flexibility with work schedules depends on your manager; pretty good benefits package; great people; stable industry

    ConsPositions are often not filled fairly; there have been cases of blatant favoritism from managers; managers tend to be very "hands off"/don't want to get their hands dirty, so sometimes throw their subordinates under the bus; information sharing from manager to subordinate is VERY poor; complete lack of direction from management leaves people floundering; too many layers of bureaucracy

    Advice to Senior ManagementFocus on putting real leaders in managerial roles and empower them to make decisions without fear of backlash and get rid of some of the unnecessary red tape that prevent people from doing their jobs well

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Above Average Midwest Utility Employer

    Front Line Supervisor (Current Employee) Kansas City, MO

    ProsManagement to Management employee relations are generally quite good. Most mid-level management employees are friendly, hardworking and dedicated to doing a good job.
    Wages are good, perhaps slightly above average. Benefits are good, and possibly even great if you consider that employees earn a pension AND a dollar for dollar match up to 6% for 401(k) contributions.

    ConsSome policies are unnecessarily arbitrary. As a management employee, it seems that the union employees are protected and the executives are protected (in both cases with contracts) but professionals and mid-management types are not. There is a perception that simple mistakes, or simply being the person who makes a decision can be enough to get you banished, transferred or fired. Overall, there is a deeply ingrained cultural reluctance to make decisions and go out on anything resembling a limb.

    There is definitely a bias to all things HQ. When KCP&L decided to move from 1201 Walnut to 1KC, an email went out to all employees describing the "exciting changes". Ok, if you were one of the 20% of the workers who got to make the move, maybe it was nice to get all sort of new amenities, pick out new furniture, vote on color schemes, etc. But for many of the employees not assigned to the HQ, it wasn't so exciting hearing that the people who already worked in the nicest offices were getting even nicer offices when many of the service centers have pothole filled parking lots that fill with 3 inches of water in a moderate rain fall or you work in an office that hasn't been remodeled (or received new furniture) since LBJ was in office.

    The company is far more proud of office and rank than other companies I've worked for. Each step up the ladder is visibly displayed through progressive larger and more elaborate offices. At the new HQ, the executives conveniently ended up on a floor that is served by a completely different elevator bank than every other employee. It creates the sense that the executives don't want to be forced to share a morning ride with with the masses.

    That said, the interactions I've had with with the senior executives have all been positive and they do seem to genuinely care about employee concerns.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGive management and especially supervisory ranks the freedom to work without fear and reward risk taking and assertiveness. Recognize the employees who really go above. Follow through on all of the corporate speak and HR promises.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    It is a job with good pay and benefits...nothing more.

    Buyer (Former Employee)

    ProsThe pay and benefits are above average and KCP&L has the potential to be a good place to work. but

    ConsSenior management more concentrated on in-fighting than running the business. Clean house at the top and value the employees keeping the ship afloat.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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