As a young kid, Jill Mongelluzzo had many dreams. She spent her days in school, developing her love of the arts and photography. Yet, her main focus was sports.
It was in the pool and on the field in which she learned her life’s greatest lessons.
“I learned how to be a leader, how to work with others as a team, and how to reach toward goals you didn’t at first think were attainable,” says Mongelluzzo, who played softball and soccer as a youngster and lettered in swimming during her college years. “It was these virtues that helped me throughout my personal and professional life, and, looking back, I can see how these lessons shaped me.”
Her interest in human resources began in college, as Mongelluzzo was naturally drawn to the profession’s focus on teamwork as a key element needed for an organization to thrive.
“I was drawn to the philosophy that everyone could have a role in an organization,” she says. “I also enjoyed presenting and being in front of people, so human resources seemed like the natural career choice for me when it came to my future.”
Eventually, that future would entail spending fourteen years at the New York Public Library, where she handled total rewards and benefits administration and sat on the NYPL/DC37 Health and Welfare Plan Trust as a trustee, both developing her skills and network.
“Working at the NYPL with its three thousand employees at the time, I was exposed to everything benefits and experienced firsthand the impact of benefits decisions on the employee community,” she says. “The time I spent there was so valuable.”
Yet soon, Mongelluzzo found that her destiny was pulling her in another direction, and she found her next growth opportunity at National Grid, one of the world’s largest utility companies focusing on delivering energy safely, efficiently, reliably, and responsibly. National Grid, headquarted in the United Kingdom, is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world that plays a vital role in delivering gas and electricity to millions of people across Great Britain and northeastern US, and is swiftly becoming an innovator in the renewable and clean energy space.
After joining the company in 2015, Mongelluzzo was promoted into her current role as acting director of benefits strategy in February 2018. In this role, she directs corporate benefits strategy with a focus on the improvement of employee well-being and productivity for a multigenerational, diverse, and inclusive workforce.
Mongelluzzo says she places a lot of importance on creating a benefits package that is not only going to attract and retain employees from all generations, but one that supports the needs of National Grid’s diverse workforce.
“It’s this philosophy that is leading us to offer benefits which make sense for employees, no matter where they are in their lives,” she says. “Whether an employee is a new parent, or just graduated from college, or has dedicated their life to the company, we want to make sure we are offering benefits that support each phase of their lives.”
Mongelluzzo says getting there certainly requires data analytics, but most importantly, there needs to be the human elements of open communication with employees so she knows what needs to change, what employees want, and how best to engage with them to help them make the right decisions at the right time.
Take National Grid’s Student Loan Repayment Program, which has done much in terms of attracting young employees as well as retaining a workforce of parents who took out loans on behalf of children.
“Seventeen percent of our management employees have taken advantage of our student loan repayment program, saving an estimated $2 million in Year one on student loan interest,” she says.
Other benefit initiatives include the RedBrick well-being platform in which the employees have the ability to focus on making small changes to improve their physical and emotional health, a caregiver benefits platform that provides services for families with small children, adolescents, and adults, and a robust digital communication platform called “Live Brighter” that is the go-to site for benefits information and decision-making resources.
“The way we work is changing, and to keep up it’s important to have productive employees who are healthy from a physical, mental, and financial standpoint,” says Mongelluzzo. “Employees are pulled in so many directions. They may stay up late at night, or are distracted at work grappling with their everyday lives and how to prioritize everything. I constantly ask myself ‘What do I need as an employee?’ because if I’m facing a need and feeling this way, they must be experiencing something similar.”
Indeed, healthy living and work/life balance is something that even she personally finds herself grappling with as life ebbs and flows, from managing her professional and family life, supporting a child with Cystic Fibrosis, and volunteering her time with the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, where she currently serves as the chair of its corporate board.
This is where her philosophy comes in.
“At the end of the day, our employees are our internal customers,” she says. “Providing them with the tools they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families is what drives me. My goal is to build a suite of benefits that not only is affordable and sustainable, but is a platform to help employees like myself to ‘Live Brighter.’”