Janine N. Truitt is a Senior Human Resources Representative at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Chief Innovations Officer for Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Janine is fostering HR innovation by day in the national laboratory system focusing on recruitment, diversity outreach and talent management initiatives. On a part-time basis, she is helping start-ups and small businesses refocus on investing in their talent through the creation of realistic and innovative HR programs, practices and initiatives through her business Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Her passion is empowering talent while creating smart and innovative HR practices that deliver successful business outcomes. You can find her on Linkedin here and Twitter here.
1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?
I have spent most of my career working in healthcare and scientific industries. This background prepared me well for my current position since I had a basic understanding of how to recruit for technical professionals as well as extensive knowledge of how companies in these industries function. My degree is in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial Psychology. I also have several certifications from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations that have further prepared me to act as a strategic business partner within HR.
I believe my education and specific mix of industry experience has been my key in giving the edge to work the day-to-day HR functions as well as contributing to the development and implementation of initiatives that have the overall success of the business in mind.
1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?
I have been eyeing the project management professional designation. This is fast becoming a hot commodity regardless of your vocation since a focus on employees acting like internal consultants has seen an uptick. This designation would enhance my ability to effectively plan the details and milestones for projects as well as lead them.
2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?
My role requires that you remain flexible. It requires a lot of patience since things are always subject to change depending on the whim of my stakeholders. It is equally important that I can communicate effectively, which includes being able to explain what I do and how I do it to a challenging group of professionals that aren’t particularly keen on HR. This also means along with effective communication there needs to be confidence in what you do-which ultimately lends itself to you being respected as a subject matter expert. Change is episodic in my environment, so having a vision and the ability to accept small victories versus winning the entire war at once is essential to being successful in my job.
3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?
Most of my jobs have been producer in nature with a blend of the other three types. I haven’t been in a solely producer job since before I graduated from college.
At the core, I am a mix between builder and thinker. This is what I enjoy and this is where I thrive. I’m also sure this is what moved me to start my own consulting firm.
My job at the laboratory could easily be a producer job only. Since I have been in it- it has become a mix of producer, improver and builder.
4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?
I do not manage any direct reports in my current capacity. I have an indirect report by way of the person who assists me with the administrative aspects of my work. I am an individual contributor.
5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?
The initiatives I work on in my job have strategic impact for the entire laboratory. Getting anything done in a highly regulated environment like the laboratory is an arduous process. It requires meetings, and buy-in, and more meetings, and sifting through several layers of policies, SOP’s and regulations to find gaps or overlaps of pieces you need to be successful in getting your initiative off the ground. There is not very much that I do, that doesn’t require me to calibrate my efforts with other key personnel before taking the initiative off pilot.
When I say my work has strategic impact, it means that the implementation of my initiatives means improvement beyond the doors of HR. My work impacts the laboratory’s ability to attract, retain and engage the brightest and most talented scientific and technical professionals in the country.
I am in the forefront of the diversity outreach for the laboratory which includes building tailored programs to increase our efforts in employing minorities, the differently-abled and veterans.
Additionally, I am in charge of spearheading the laboratory’s first brush with talent and employment branding. The hope is to make are programs and work recognizable beyond the confines of the scientific community and the Department of Energy.
I am also responsible for getting the laboratory to look at moving all of their HR systems to Saas technology.
If I were to cease doing my job, they would continue to survive on auto-pilot as forward as moving the laboratory into more modern practices with HR and beyond. Essentially, they wouldn’t cease to exist in the short-term without my expertise. In the long-term they would find that the initiatives I am pushing for now were created with an immediate and future competitive edge in mind.
6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?
My job is pretty safe. I would give it a 2 on your safety scale. There are rare instances where I may need to enter an area that does hazardous work, but these are very infrequent and you must have clearance and training to do so.
7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?
The work that I do at the laboratory has national impact in that I am working to attract and retain the people responsible for driving innovation and scientific discovery for the purpose of improving everything from our use of energy to homeland security.
It’s not just important to work for a living, but to do work that has impact and is useful. I get to do that every day and that is pretty awesome.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.