Our Employees

Our Employees

MDU Resources’ commitment to employees is based on a firm belief in the value and dignity of the individual. Through the following, we strive to maintain an environment in which each employee can perform effectively and efficiently:

  • Comply with applicable labor and employment laws and regulations.
  • Provide a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation and violence.
  • Recruit, hire, train, promote, discipline and discharge employees fairly and impartially based on job-related criteria without regard to age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other personal characteristics determined to be a protected category under applicable state law.
  • Respect employees' differences and support an inclusive culture where everyone can feel valued.
  • Prevent workplace injuries by adhering to applicable workplace safety laws and regulations and corporate standards.
  • Maintain a workplace free from the influence of illegal drugs and abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs.
  • Promote trust, pride and camaraderie in the workplace.
  • Treat each other courteously and respectfully.
  • Maintain an inclusive environment that respects the differences and embraces the strengths of our diverse employees.
  • Give employees timely information concerning operations and results.
  • Give employees work-related information necessary for them to effectively perform their responsibilities.


Employee population

The number of employees at MDU Resources’ businesses fluctuates during the year depending on the number and size of construction projects. As of December 31, 2020, MDU Resources had 12,994 employees:

  • 250 at MDU Resources.
  • 1,592 at our utility companies.
  • 323 at WBI Energy.
  • 3,582 at Knife River Corporation.
  • 7,247 at MDU Construction Services Group.

Approximately 88% of all employees identified as male and 12% of employees identified as female. By business segment:

  • 41% of employees at MDU Resources’ corporate office identified as female.
  • 12% of employees at the construction materials and contracting business identified as female.
  • 8% of employees at the construction services business identified as female.
  • 27% of employees at the electric and natural gas utility business identified as female.
  • 20% of employees at the pipeline business identified as female.

Collective bargaining

In total, about 55% of MDU Resources’ employees at December 31, 2020, were represented by collective bargaining agreements. Montana-Dakota Utilities had 336 employees and WBI Energy Transmission had 67 employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Cascade Natural Gas had 190 employees represented by the International Chemical Workers Union. The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada represented 129 employees at Intermountain Gas. Knife River Corporation had 39 labor contracts that represent 555 of its construction materials employees. MDU Construction Services Group had 103 labor contracts representing the majority of its employees.


Employment philosophies

MDU Resources hires employees because they have the skills, abilities and motivation to achieve the results needed for their job. Each job is important and part of a coordinated effort to accomplish our objectives.

MDU Resources has six general philosophies that guide employees’ actions:

  • Teamwork and cooperation. A positive work environment is dependent on willing cooperation by everyone. Every employee is expected to be a positive and productive member of the work group, and to cooperate with coworkers.
  • Open communication. An effective and responsive organization relies on knowledgeable and informed individuals. All employees are responsible for seeking out the information they need to perform their work responsibilities, and for willingly providing information to others in a positive and open manner. Communication must be open and two-way. Managers are expected to be good listeners and must provide easy access to information. Employees also must be good listeners and must provide managers and co-workers easy access to information.
  • Mutual trust. Effective teamwork and cooperation, as well as open and honest communication, is based on developing and maintaining trusting relationships. Managers must provide a work environment that encourages and supports trusting relationships. All employees must guard against prejudging, jumping to conclusions or questioning another person’s motives or actions.
  • Increasing standards. Employee skills and abilities must be continually improved upon and expanded to meet changing job requirements and maintain business competitiveness. Managers must stimulate positive change by providing clear performance expectations, resources for self-development, and by maintaining high standards in the selection of individuals for hire, promotion, transfer or reassignment. Employees must continually develop their skills and abilities to be able to meet ever-changing job requirements.
  • Individual responsibility. Managers are responsible for providing a positive and supportive work environment that encourages individual responsibility and initiative. Employees are responsible for taking advantage of the opportunities available to them, and for working toward positive change when they have a better idea.
  • Balance. Human resource philosophies, when properly applied to the various programs and practices, will assist in attaining an appropriate balance between the various needs and interests of employees, customers and shareholders. These philosophies work together to help maintain a positive and productive work environment.

Employment policies

MDU Resources’ corporate policies address Human Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plan practices. MDU Resources is firmly committed to providing equal opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment according to all EEO and Affirmative Action laws, directives and legislation. Our EEO policy ensures employees are not discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to other characteristic protections.

We will:

  • Recruit, hire, train, promote, discipline and discharge persons in all job classifications without regard to age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other personal characteristic determined to be a protected category under applicable state law.
  • Ensure that employment-related decisions are made in accordance with the principles of equal employment opportunity by imposing only job-related requirements for employment opportunities.
  • Ensure that all personnel actions, such as compensation, performance reviews, transfers, layoffs, returns from layoff, company-sponsored training, education, tuition assistance and social and recreational programs, are administered without regard to age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other personal characteristic determined to be a protected category under applicable state law.

Each MDU Resources business unit, including the corporate office, has assigned EEO coordinators. The most recent EEO Employer Information Report-Type 2 can be found on our website.

Diversity and Inclusion

MDU Resources is committed to an inclusive environment that respects the differences and embraces the strengths of our diverse employees to further our corporate vision. Essential to the company’s success is its ability to attract, retain and engage the best people from a broad range of backgrounds and build an inclusive culture where all employees feel valued and contribute their best. We seek an environment that attracts and retains the best talent and recognizes the value of diversity in our workforce. As outlined in corporate policy No. 104, to be the employer of choice for the broadest pool of talent and skill, MDU Resources is firmly committed to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action and is dedicated to the achievement of equality of opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment.

MDU Resources views diversity through a broad lens. Diversity is who we are as individuals, including the differences that make each employee unique. Those differences go beyond gender and race. Diversity also includes education, background, approachability, work function, union affiliation, management status, seniority, sexual orientation, physical ability and all the other factors that make us who we are. By valuing, respecting and rewarding individuals and groups free from prejudice and fostering a workplace climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, we create a cooperative success-oriented workforce.

MDU Resources respects employees’ differences and supports an inclusive culture where all employees feel valued. It is important to the corporation that all employees can contribute their full potential to help achieve our strategic objectives. Inclusion ensures that employees of all backgrounds have an opportunity to belong, contribute and achieve in a workforce where they feel valued and respected, have a sense of belonging, have a connection with one another and the organization, and feel empowered to do their best.

MDU Resources has three strategic goals related to diversity:

  • To enhance collaboration efforts. An inclusive work environment allows employees to increase collaboration and cooperation, and to share best practices and ideas within our companies and across our enterprise. It also allows employees to work together to develop new ways to meet individual, customer and shareholder needs.
  • To maintain our culture of integrity, respect and safety. Respecting the individuality and wide-ranging skills and expertise of our employees is parallel with our core cultural values. Ensuring employees understand that integrity, respect and safety are essential values will contribute to our growth and success.
  • To increase productivity and profitability. An inclusive work environment values all employees’ perspectives and methods of how to accomplish work and drives more innovative ideas that will help us solve issues effectively. An inclusive environment removes barriers to new ideas and advances integration efforts.

To help accomplish our commitment to an inclusive environment that respects the differences and embraces the strengths of our diverse employees, MDU Resources has a diversity officer at each of its business units. The officers serve as a conduit for diversity-related issues, giving a voice to all employees.

MDU Resources also provides the following to help promote an inclusive environment:

  • Benefits for same-sex partners who have a legally recognized marriage certificate or as otherwise directed by state laws and regulations.
  • Providing a Guideline on Gender Transition for employees.
  • Annual training to employees on diversity and respectful workplace practices.
  • Monthly communication on diversity topics.
  • Educating employees on disabilities and how to report their disability status.
  • Training on Affirmative Action Plans.

Employee recruitment

MDU Resources uses a variety of means to recruit new employees for open positions:

  • Website. MDU Resources hosts a website that contains postings of all positions within the corporation that are available to external applicants. Anyone with Internet capabilities can view and apply for available positions.
  • Social media. We post open job positions through various social media tools, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Job service organizations. We notify and post all external opportunities through various state job service organizations.
  • Associations. We utilize disability, veteran, female, LGBTQ and minority professional associations in sourcing job candidates.
  • College recruitment. We establish partnerships and build relationships with colleges and technical schools to hire students and promote knowledge of the corporation. Company representatives meet with career placement personnel, department heads and student clubs, as appropriate.
  • Career fairs. MDU Resources and our business units attend career fairs, as appropriate, to seek applicants for open positions.
  • Advertising. We advertise for open positions on a scale relative to the market and available talent pool. Advertising generally occurs online and in print media, including magazines and city newspapers.

Compensation and gender pay ratios

MDU Resources respects employees’ differences and supports a diverse and inclusive culture where all employees feel valued and are treated equally. Equal treatment includes pay equity, regardless of an employee's gender, race or other individual attributes. MDU Resources and our companies annually analyze gender pay equity. If concerns are identified, corrective action is taken, such as making necessary pay adjustments.


Employee benefits are an important part of MDU Resources’ total compensation program. Our philosophy is to provide and maintain competitive, cost-effective and flexible benefit programs that attract and retain top talent; support business needs and the changing workforce; foster shared responsibility and encourage wise consumerism; and are easy to understand and administer.

MDU Resources provides employees enrolled in company benefits with access to an Employee Assistance Program as well as mental health services through the Learn to Live program. We offer multiple wellness campaigns throughout the year. In 2020, 782 unique users participated in programs.

MDU Resources also implemented the Omada Program for Prevention in 2020, which provides preventative health guidance to employees enrolled in benefits. The enrollment rate of eligible participants was 86% compared to a benchmark enrollment of 79%.


MDU Resources in 2020 established a Telecommuting Policy that allows employees to apply to work from a remote location on a permanent basis. Telecommuting allows our employees to work at home or some other off-site location for all or part of their regularly scheduled workweek. The company considers telecommuting to be a viable, flexible work option when both the employee and the job are suited to such an arrangement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the company also has been providing flexible work arrangements for employees impacted by family emergencies, school closures or other complications.

Compliance training

MDU Resources uses a third-party vendor to administer training programs on various legal and ethical compliance topics. The following training has been administered at various times to employees:

  • Diversity. Information is provided to help clarify the concept of diversity and differentiate it from affirmative action, identify the different characteristics that make people diverse, address stereotyping and provide steps to address diversity challenges.
  • Effective leadership. This curriculum emphasizes key tenets of effective leadership, such as communication, performance standards and expectations, feedback, commitment to success and employee development.
  • Sexual harassment. Training instructs supervisory employees on preventing sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
  • Workplace harassment. Training helps employees understand workplace harassment, how it happens and how to avoid engaging in harassing behavior.
  • Code of Conduct. Employees receive annual training on the company’s code of conduct, the Leading With Integrity Guide.

Employee surveying

MDU Resources surveys its employees to gauge employee opinion on issues such as fairness, camaraderie and pride within the workplace. Survey results are compiled at various levels throughout the company — by region, by business unit and corporatewide — to evaluate results. We use the surveys to develop action plans that address areas of concern to our employees.

Starting in MDU Resources’ 2021 survey, employees will be asked additional focused questions related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The company will use responses to further its diversity initiatives and identify areas where improvements may be needed.

Grievance reporting

MDU Resources employees are encouraged to report if they have concerns that something may be unethical or illegal within the company. Employees can report concerns to their manager, human resources representative, a company executive or their compliance officer. MDU Resources also has a reporting tool in place called EthicsPoint® that allows for reporting anonymously.

EthicsPoint is a third-party telephone- and internet-based system. Employees, customers and other stakeholders can report confidentially and anonymously any concerns about possible unethical or illegal activities. Reports are carefully considered and investigated. Summaries of the reports and investigative results are provided to the board of directors. Anyone who wishes to file an anonymous report can call 1-866-294-4676 or visit http://ethics.mdu.com.

MDU Resources’ Disciplinary Action Policy provides non-bargaining employees with a procedure to appeal any discipline, discharge, layoff, or a change in working conditions. Employees represented by a bargaining unit are encouraged to pursue grievances through the procedures outlined in their collecting bargaining agreement.


MDU Resources is committed to safety and health in the workplace and in the communities where we do business. We maintain a variety of safety and health policies, and each business unit also has policies and procedures regarding health and safety. MDU Resources’ Safety Leadership Council meets quarterly and receives and reviews information about identifying and adopting best management practices to prevent occupationally induced injuries and illness. The council membership is comprised of MDU Resources’ general counsel, MDU Resources’ risk management director and the safety directors for each of the company’s business units. Among its responsibilities, the council reviews each business unit’s safety performance, oversees and assists the safety directors and operating companies identifying and adopting best management practices in preventing workplace injuries and environmental health hazards, monitors the effectiveness of MDU Resources’ safety and environmental health programs, and critically reviews reports or incidents of significant proper damage and personal injury accidents and discusses corrective actions that will facilitate a safe and healthy work environment.

Safety and health policies

MDU Resources’ safety policies take into account seven key principles:

  • All injuries can be prevented.
  • Working safely is a condition of employment for all employees.
  • Management must demonstrate leadership in preventing injuries by providing a safe work environment, adequate resources, performance incentives and appropriate follow-up on any unsafe conditions or actions.
  • All employees are responsible for preventing injuries to themselves and others.
  • All operating exposures can be safeguarded or controlled.
  • Training employees to work safely is essential.
  • Preventing personal injuries and property damage is good business

MDU Resources provides continual safety training to meet the needs of our business units and employees. MDU Resources’ continual safety training programs emphasize safety excellence in employee safety and health, third-party liability, vehicular safety, protecting property, and recognizing and handling environmental exposures. MDU Resources’ corporate safety and health policies include:

  • Employee safety. MDU Resources and its companies protect the health and safety of employees by identifying, assessing and managing safety and health risks and impacts; integrating safety and occupational health into all business decisions, plans and operations; establishing objectives and targets that result in continuous improvement in health and safety performance; providing leadership and resources to meet objectives and targets; informing, training and establishing expectations for individual employee responsibilities; including health and safety performance when evaluating employees; providing internal standards for managers and employees; and routinely monitoring, assessing and reporting on safety and health performance.
  • Accident and incident reporting and investigation. MDU Resources conducts its operations in a manner that provides for the safety of employees, customers and the public, and protects all property affected by operations. We internally evaluate safety procedures and conduct investigations of accidents and incidents involving company operations, personnel or property.
  • Motor vehicle safety. MDU Resources and its companies have a program for the safe operation of company-owned, leased or rented vehicles and the use of personal vehicles for company business.
  • Restricted smoking. MDU Resources prohibits smoking in company facilities, including vehicles, except in those areas where smoking is designated as permitted. The company’s headquarters campus is a tobacco-free workplace.
  • Substance abuse prevention. MDU Resources has guidelines for substance abuse prevention through drug and alcohol testing and provides professional assistance for employees who need it.

Recordable incidences and DART cases

MDU Resources’ goal is to have zero injuries or incidents among its employees.

Recordable incidence rates for the past three years were:

MDU Resources’ days away, restrictions or transfers (DART) case rates for the past three years were:

Regrettably, MDU Resources had one work-related employee fatality in 2017 and one work-related employee fatality in 2019.

Contractor safety

At MDU Resources’ construction operations, subcontractors are requested annually to provide information about their safety programs and recordable and lost-time incidence rates, if they track these statistics. If our companies deem a subcontractor’s programs to be inadequate, the subcontractor is provided with our company safety policies and training for their personnel. Our goal is to ensure safe operations by our subcontractors for the protection of employees and the public.


Workforce planning

MDU Resources’ business units annually conduct workforce planning and analysis. Succession planning for key positions is conducted annually, while succession planning for other positions is conducted every other year. During this process, members of our human resources team partner with management to ensure diversity and inclusion in the process. Development plans are created for employees as part of this process.

Learning Center

MDU Resources’ Learning Center was launched in 2006. It serves to strengthen the company’s most valuable competitive advantage — our employees — and the culture in which they excel. The Learning Center delivers training and development to employees.

Learning Center events include general business or function-specific curriculum, team building, communication meetings and strategic planning sessions.

The core focus of the Learning Center is technical and interpersonal skill building, professional certification, talent identification, growth and development, retention, and culture transfer and preservation.


MDU Resources has a long-term goal to ensure that each supervisor and manager within the corporation takes on the role of mentor with each of his or her employees. There are many formal and informal mentoring partnerships and programs within the corporation.


MDU Resources’ internship programs offer students an opportunity to explore their chosen majors and careers with professionals working in the industry, as well as gain on-the-job experience by applying what they have learned in the classroom.

Students can develop key competencies, skills and work characteristics, and the corporation benefits by identifying potential candidates for future regular employment. Internship opportunities typically are posted on MDU Resources’ website.

Employee communication

MDU Resources encourages open communication among employees. A number of communication tools keep employees, shareholders and other stakeholders informed of company activities and efforts.

Such tools include electronic newsletters, the corporate intranet and mobile app, and various other employee-related informational brochures and video programs. Other communication efforts include websites, social media tools and presentations. Various strategic materials also support communication efforts, including the corporation’s Annual Report and news releases.

Performance reviews

As part of our efforts to maintain open communication with employees, MDU Resources encourages supervisors to provide ongoing feedback and conduct regular performance reviews with employees.

During the review process, the employee and the supervisor have the opportunity to talk about job performance and to clarify the supervisor’s expectations of the employee. It also gives the employee a chance to express concerns about his or her job and to discuss areas of support that would help him or her do the job better. Performance reviews generally are done at least annually and in writing to enable two-way communication and prevent misunderstandings.

Open-door policy

One of MDU Resources’ employment philosophies is “open communication.” We want employees to be knowledgeable and informed, and we encourage employees to voice their ideas and concerns. To this end, MDU Resources has an “open-door policy.”

Communication must be open and two-way. Managers have a responsibility to provide information necessary for each person to perform his or her job effectively and efficiently. Managers also are responsible for providing general information about the company through supervisors, written communication materials and employee meetings.

Employees also have the responsibility to seek out the information needed or desired, and to willingly provide information to others in a positive and open manner.

Managers, as leaders, must be good listeners and must provide easy access to information. Employees also must be good listeners and must provide managers and co-workers easy access to information.


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