Five Keys to Building a Great Grid Modernization Team

An icon of a transformer, which is part of a power grid. Grid modernization, including upgrading power lines and transformers, is a priority for utilities companies.

Modernizing our power grid has become increasingly important as our world becomes more reliant on all kinds of electricity, from fossil fuels to renewable resources. Electricity consumption is projected to “dramatically” increase by 2050, and with that has come billions of dollars of investment from the United States federal government to make sure our power grid can maintain reliability, resilience, and security.

So, what does this mean when building your grid modernization team that will help with this mission-critical goal? How should you better prepare your company and teams as we grow over the next couple of decades?

Grid modernization is a complex process requiring a team with diverse skill sets to succeed. We know building these teams can be challenging, but it is crucial to get it right to ensure the successful implementation of modernization initiatives. So let’s dive into some insights that can help you hire the right people for your team.

Why Building a Strong Grid Modernization Team is Important

To build a solid and effective grid modernization team, it’s integral to understand the different types of roles needed and their significance in the process.

Here are some key roles that you may already have or are looking to add:

  • Project Manager: lead and manage the overall modernization project, ensuring it is completed on time, within budget, while meeting all objectives.
  • Electrical Engineer: design, develop, and test electrical equipment and systems, ensuring they are reliable, efficient, and safe.
  • Data Analyst: collect and analyze data to identify patterns, trends, and insights to inform decision-making and optimize grid performance.
  • Cybersecurity Specialist: develop and implement security measures to protect the grid from cyber threats and ensure critical infrastructure security.
  • Field Technicians: install, maintain, and repair equipment in the field, ensuring it is functioning correctly and meeting performance standards.

There are hundreds of other positions that also play important roles on grid modernization teams’ ability to design, plan, and implement initiatives.

Each role plays a critical part in building a solid grid modernization team, so it’s essential to carefully consider each position and how they fit into the overall project. With a diverse and skilled team, grid modernization projects can be completed successfully, improving the reliability and efficiency of our power grids for years to come.

But how do you build a great team?

Tips for Hiring a Successful Grid Modernization Team

Along with Evergreen, our managed service division, we know how to build and manage teams—including in the grid modernization and utilities space. We’ve worked with some of the largest utility companies to help them accomplish their mission-critical initiatives.

Building a successful grid modernization team takes intention and an investment from all levels of the company, from leadership to the employees executing plans. Along with technical skills, you’ll want to prioritize finding team members with diverse backgrounds, great cultural fits, and other critical soft skills.

Here are five tips to help you build a successful grid modernization team:

Hire from Diverse Backgrounds

Building a solid grid modernization team starts with a commitment to diversity. Diverse groups bring various perspectives and experiences, which can lead to more creative solutions and better outcomes.

Companies that focus on outreach and recruitment efforts to attract and hire candidates from diverse backgrounds create a welcoming and inclusive work environment. This can result in a couple of things:

  • You’ll reach a wider talent pool
  • Teams that are more diverse often perform better financially than those that aren’t
  • Retention rates rise and burnout decreases among teams built equitably and inclusively

graphic of a latino man shaking hands at job interview with text Experts Korryn Williamson & Keri Clarke-Pearson cover diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging plus micro-aggressions in the workplace

Look for a Good Culture Fit

Are the people you’re hiring on the same page with your company goals? Candidates who fit well with the culture and values of a grid modernization team can aid the team’s success and longevity.

Such candidates are likely to be more engaged and productive if they share the team’s values and are invited to collaborate and bring new ideas to the forefront.

To evaluate cultural fit, hiring managers can use behavioral questions during interviews, arrange team interviews, and provide candidates an opportunity to interact with potential colleagues. Moreover, hiring managers should clearly communicate the team’s culture and values during the hiring process to ensure that candidates thoroughly understand what is expected of them.

Technical Skills are Important, but Not Everything

When it comes to building a successful grid modernization team, technical skills are essential. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that they’re the only factor to consider. A candidate with excellent technical skills may struggle to fit in with the team or communicate effectively.

So, when assessing technical skills, it’s paramount to look at other factors, such as:

  • ability to collaborate
  • willingness to learn
  • adaptability to change

To assess technical skills, you can use various methods such as testing, reviewing a candidate’s past work experience, and asking them specific technical questions during the interview.

Look for Candidates with Strong Communication and Collaboration Skills

Finding individuals with strong communication and collaboration skills is crucial to building a successful grid modernization team. These skills are necessary to ensure that everyone works smoothly and effectively.

Simply evaluating a candidate’s communication and collaboration skills during the hiring process and not focusing on it afterward is insufficient. Provide ongoing training and development opportunities that can help team members continuously improve these skills. Examples of such activities include team-building exercises, evaluation periods (for both employees and management), and regular check-ins to ensure everyone works well together. By prioritizing communication and collaboration, grid modernization teams can work more efficiently and achieve better results.

Sometimes, it’s not always about what someone knows—it’s just as important to implement and discuss it effectively.

Seek Out Innovative Thinkers

Staying current with new ideas and solutions in this field is crucial to meeting the industry’s ever-changing needs. Hiring individuals with innovative thinking skills is essential to keeping your team’s ideas and solutions fresh.

Prioritizing innovative thinking during the hiring process can help ensure your grid modernization team remains at the forefront of the industry. To assess a candidate’s innovative thinking skills, interviewers can ask open-ended questions that challenge candidates to think creatively. Additionally, interviewers can look for past evidence of innovation in the candidate’s work experience or ask for examples of unique solutions they have developed.

Related: 12 Strategic Interview Questions

Modernizing the Grid with Insight Global and Evergreen

Building a solid grid modernization team involves considering various factors beyond technical expertise. Hiring managers should prioritize diversity, cultural fit, communication and collaboration skills, and innovative thinking. It’s also important to emphasize that technical skills are vital but not the only factor to consider when hiring.

We can help build you a great team. Don’t forget to let us know your needs below.

Building a Team to Modernize the Grid?

We can build and manage teams of all sizes. Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853