Aug 23, 2019 | Clare Chiappetta
Finding Joy in Work: A Chat with Sauntura Jones
Sauntura Jones loves puzzles. From bringing isolated organizational silos into line to finding out what makes people tick, Jones isn’t afraid to tackle complex questions.
As a training program manager at U.S. Bank, Jones says she directs her problem-solving instincts toward identifying and integrating employees at all levels of the organization. She says her greatest joy is helping others find the missing piece in their puzzle — the piece that brings the vision into focus.
We spoke with Jones about what makes her tick, the challenges ahead and the joy she derives along the way.
What is your background like? What inspired you to get into this field?
I actually intended to make a career out of marketing, specifically commercials. But social media completely changed the marketing business, and it didn’t feel like a good fit for me anymore. I realized that, as a natural communicator and someone interested in human behaviors and motivations, training and development was the right field for me.
I’m in love with the “aha” moment — for a marketer it’s the moment when a consumer makes the decision to purchase. But for an educator, it’s when the student comes to a realization, and everything clicks and makes sense — it moves the relationship with the material to the next level.
This is what brings me the greatest joy in my work. I call it “job joy.”
How are you bringing that joy into your new position? Any challenges up ahead?
I’ve actually just undertaken an ambitious training project at U.S. Bank. I’m reshaping how we utilize learning and development based on the employee’s full life cycle. You can’t have successful learning outcomes without recognizing each employee’s strengths and interests. I’m also leading various aspects of creating a learning ecosystem within the bank and linking that ecosystem to the bank’s vision around talent mobility.
It’s been my experience that a number of people external to our organization — and even employees within our organization — haven’t fully realized the numerous and varied career opportunities available within the bank. I’m all about creating a learning ecosystem that facilitates employee’s defining their career goals and aspirations, creating development and learning plans, and ultimately finding the right position for each employee, based on their talents and interests. It’s that “aha” moment when they find where they belong. It’s definitely challenging work, but I absolutely love the puzzle it presents.
How have you addressed the challenges? Has certification helped?
I’ve found that the best way to help employees achieve their “aha” moment is through a mixture of guided assessments and mentoring. Assessments help them to identify their own interests and strengths, and mentoring gives them a chance to learn more and grow in a new position. I felt so powerful when I found my calling, and I want all of our employees to have that same sense of belonging and purpose.
We offered HRCI certifications to our HR team members. We’ve had a great response rate, and I love that certifications start everyone with the same foundation. The knowledge base is consistent, so I feel confident that employees have the basics they need and can focus on specialization. All of our learning and development goes back to the idea of talent mobility and making the most of what each person has to offer. Knowing that I can help facilitate that is my continual source of joy.