mPower Hour: Preparing for the Future You With Grainger

Grainger Quote

Have you thought about your five-year plan? There’s a lot to consider when planning your career goals, from how you’ll advance and salary needs to securing flexibility and great benefits. During a recent mPower Hour session, we sat down with Nadalie Bosse and Lisa Thompson from Grainger, two leaders who have carved their own paths and are committed to making a difference for others.

In this recap, we’ll go over how Nadalie and Lisa found their career goals, why Grainger has become one of Fortune’s best workplaces for women, and what you should look for in a workplace to build a career you’ll love.

The road to now

Grainger is a premier industrial supplies and equipment provider with over 1.6 million products to keep their customers up and running. Nadalie Bosse is the Vice President of North America Contact Center Operations. She joined Grainger seven years ago to lead the consolidation of their customer service operations.

Nadalie grew up on a farm, where she learned the value of hard work and teamwork and getting results. She was lucky to have several early positive influences, including one of her teachers, who told her she was good at math and encouraged her to go to college.

“I was the first in my family to go to college. I earned a degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State, where I was one of only two women in my class. Needless to say, I felt the pressure to show that women could succeed in engineering, and I did.” - Nadalie Bosse

Her career has taken many turns over the years. At one point, Nadalie took a year off to spend time with her ill father. To this day, she still considers that to be one of the best decisions she ever made — it gave her much-needed time with her family and led her to where she is now with Grainger.

Lisa Thompson is the Director of Benefits at Grainger, where she leads the benefits function for nearly 25,000 global team members, specifically overseeing the retirement and health teams. Lisa was also inspired at a young age to pursue her dreams. Her father was the first in her family to go to college, setting a positive example for her.

Every step Lisa has taken over the course of the career has made her into the leader she is today.

 “In every step in my career I brought the knowledge with me from my previous roles, building upon my knowledge in the industry, best practice, as well as what I liked or didn't like, from a leadership style.” - Lisa Thompson

Working woman in a man's world

“I always felt that I had to prove myself to earn my place at the table, and that I wanted very much to help other women earn theirs.” - Nadalie Bosse

Both Nadalie and Lisa have learned a lot over the course of their careers, especially when it comes to being a woman in the workforce. Now, they are proud to be part of an organization that has earned a spot on Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Women. This particular award is an honor — it’s extremely competitive as it's the only company culture award in America that selects winners based on how fairly women say they're treated at their workplace.

At Grainger, they’re proud to have strong representation of women in the organization. Nearly 40 percent of the workforce is women, with 34 percent of leadership positions filled by women.

Their evolution to becoming a great place to work for women has many elements. It comes down to listening to employees and understanding what makes for a great place to work. Grainger caters to mothers by working hard to make re-entry smooth when moms return, providing comfort such as  mother's rooms at all locations.

They also are proud to offer business resource groups for employees,  recognizing how important they are to culture in the workplace. They currently have over 1,400 women in North America in their women’s group, which works to advocate for inclusivity.

The importance of benefits... and how companies can rebrand their programs

Grainger wasn’t always a leader in employee benefits. They had to work to get to where they are, and much of it is because they learned the importance of listening to their employees. In the past, their employee assistance program had a negative stigma that they wanted to erase. So they changed it, positioning it in a way that encourages team members to use the tool for themselves and their families in support of their emotional well-being. They also added programs for financial well-being. In addition, they do an annual employee survey that gives them insight into what people want.

Benefits are hugely important for anyone considering their career plan. Indeed, many people stay in jobs they may not necessarily love to keep their benefits; on the other hand, many seek out new jobs specifically for better benefits.

As Lisa reminds us, it’s important to remember that benefits change over time. Things that are not covered today can change later. That’s why both Lisa and Nadalie recommend being forthright when discussing benefits while interviewing. If you feel strongly that a company is the right fit and could be a great match long-term, don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation and tell the company what benefits you’re seeking. In their experience, companies like to know what candidates are seeking, perhaps to improve their benefit offerings in the future. Often, people are afraid to ask about benefits until they have an offer in hand — at Grainger, they’re trying to change the narrative on that to make things more transparent.

The same goes for flexibility. Once you’ve identified a place is a great match, bring up your employment needs and preferences. At Grainger, they’re always evaluating new ways to make their employees happy. The pandemic changed how they think about and approach flexibility. Now, Grainger prioritizes giving employees the support to balance work and home.

What to look for with a new employer

Both Nadalie and Lisa have worked hard to get where they are today. Along the way, they’ve learned some important lessons on finding the right workplace. The top three things they recommend looking for when evaluating a new employer are:

  • Culture and values
  • Growth opportunities for the future
  • Investing in your personal development

The final parting advice from these experts is to, above all, be true to yourself and to find what will truly make you happy in a career.

Find the full session of the Grainger mPower Hour here. Visit Grainger online to learn more about current career opportunities.


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