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Power Perspectives™ Interview: Welcome Danielle Gruppo, New Expert in the HR & Recruitment Community

image credit: Energy Central

Much of the attention in the utility industry goes to the frontline and visible initiatives: the power generation, the energy efficiency professionals making home energy audits, the linemen ensuring reliability and consistency in the grid. While all these utility professionals are no doubt vital to the daily operation of the power industry, behind the scenes it’s the HR professionals who help the business run smoothly and ensure these more frontline professionals have the resources they need. The critical importance of these HR professionals is why the HR & Recruitment Community of Energy Central is similarly key, as HR professionals can and should be sharing their insights and lessons learned with the peers working in other utilities. Best practices being shared in a collaborative environment will elevate the entire industry.

One of the ways Energy Central continually seeks to bolster the value of this HR & Recruitment Community is by identifying leaders in the field and adding them to our renowned network of experts. As we add new members to this network, though, it’s, of course, important our community members are aware of these additions and recognize the true value these utility HR thought leaders are bringing to the community. As such, it’s my honor to introduce to you Danielle Gruppo of InternAlliance.com, our latest HR & Recruitment expert. To give you a peek into the value she brings, Danielle agreed to participate in our Power Perspectives™ ‘Welcome New Expert Interview Series.

Matt Chester: We’ve so happy to have you as the newest expert in Energy Central’s HR & Recruitment community. Can you give a quick background on your experience in utilities and how you got involved in HR of utilities? What is your role these days? 

Danielle Gruppo: It is a pleasure to continue my contribution to the growth and success of utilities by providing expert organizational effectiveness guidance through Energy Central. I began my journey in utilities leading both organizational effectiveness and D&I at a $12.7 billion energy company delivering electricity to over 10.5 million customers in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Great Britain.

Today, I am CEO and founder of InternAlliancean award-winning human resources consulting firm with expertise in workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) supporting organizational effectiveness. My clients include global utilities. 

 

MC: As a key area of the world of HR you work in is DEI, how would you say the utility industry is doing on these critical issues compared with other industries?

DG: Utilities have a strong base in compliance, and that is a good start to identifying and tracking year-over-year metrics. All industries can improve their focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, after all, it is a journey. A good start is to align DEI to organizational goals. Those utilities that take a strategic approach see a better return on their investment.

MC: Are there other key areas that the utility sector needs to have more of a focus on in today’s climate? What are some of the challenges, for example, of an aging workforce across utility companies?

DG: A strong, fluid communications strategy is needed for utilities beginning or growing diversity and building an environment of inclusion. Utilities see a lot of movement when there is M&A or downsizing activity. These organizational activities open the doors to strengthen an environment of inclusion and increase diversity sourcing in an industry where there is traditionally low turnover. Risk management and cross-generational communication are key focus areas to successfully retain and transfer knowledge in an aging workforce.

 

MC: Are there unique considerations that HR professionals need to take into account when moving in the utility industry from other industries? What aspects make it different or present a unique challenge?

DG: Utilities are compliance-focused, traditional, and more rigid than most industries. HR subject matter experts are sought out to guide the success of operations and their leaders in a changing world, while keeping the lights on. To successfully source and retain three of the four generations in the workforce today, utilities human resources leaders must keep abreast of best practices (i.e. interviewing, total rewards, pay equity, remote work) and align to business goals.

 

MC: As you’ve started to get involved with Energy Central, what do you find to be the value that the platform brings to you and to the industry? Why do you participate and stay so engaged, and how do you hope to bring value based on your experience and knowledge to fellow Energy Central users?

DG: I’ve been a member of Energy Central for many years, it is my go-to source for up-to-date utility information. As a contributor, sharing my cross-industry, global expertise in support of the success of utilities is very rewarding to me.

 

MC: Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about you?

DG: My inspiration for building the InternAlliance SaaS platform that streamlines college students to internships across the United States stemmed from the utility industry. I saw a need and closed the gap utilizing my patented algorithm in support of frustrated talent acquisition experts and students.

The business evolved to include speaking, after writing a book Recruiter Secrets: What recruiters want you to know, but don’t tell you in support of employee resource groups, students, and graduates needing career guidance.

Consulting in DEI was a logical next step in my business portfolio. I partner with firms out of Manhattan, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia, to provide expert support to global organizations no matter where they are in their diversity, equity, and inclusion journey.

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Please join me in thanking Danielle Gruppo for sharing her insights in this interview and bringing a new set of experiences as an HR & Recruitment expert. Now that you know she’s here, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask Danielle questions in the comments sections or just say hi

The other expert interviews that we’ve completed in this series can be read here, and if you are interested in becoming an expert then you can reach out to me or you can apply here.

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