Powering Success: Explore How NRG’s Unique Company Culture Drives Innovation

Apr 10, 2024 9:15 AM ET

Originally published on NRG Energy Insights

By NRG Editorial Voices

Culture in Focus is a series illuminating NRG’s unique workplace culture via our greatest asset: our people. The shared attitudes, values, and behaviors that permeate our everyday work environment are a source of tremendous pride, and they underscore how we meaningfully serve our more than 7.5 million customers across North America.

This first installment features Bruce Chung, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Seasoned investment banker. Two-time NRG employee. Dad-rock enthusiast. First generation Korean American. History buff. Foodie. One thing’s clear when talking with Bruce Chung: there’s much more to him than meets the eye.

Though his explanation of his CFO role is simple — “I’m the guy that counts all the money” — Chung’s responsibilities are anything but. And yet, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more approachable. His love for NRG and his many colleagues, as well as his enthusiasm for what’s ahead, are testaments to the workplace culture that’s evolving.

People-centered innovation

The culture of any company can be challenging to define, especially for a company like NRG that has grown immensely through a series of acquisitions. Now in his second tenure of eight years at NRG (he served the company from 2008 to early 2016), Chung has been on the frontlines of the company’s accelerated evolution.

The crucial constant amidst change? NRG’s people.

“It’s really been very much about the people, and having the respect [for] how hard people work at NRG. When you’re a banker, you get to see how certain companies work, and NRG has always been one of those places where, number one, the level of talent has always been higher than other places. The work ethic has always been higher, [as have] the creativity and the willingness to be bold.”

This work ethic and drive to innovate is the result of a collaborative environment in which every employee is encouraged to engage and contribute something greater in order to bring the vision of NRG to life.

Never stop learning

Curiosity and the desire to make a positive impact every day are what motivate Chung to contribute everything he can to the company — “to give it everything he’s got.” And he’s not alone; this growth mindset permeates the halls of NRG’s workplace. The continuous learning culture at NRG stems from the drive to uncover what customers are looking for. From there, the exploration becomes,

“How can we make this combination something that translates into 1 + 1 = 3? We need people thinking about new things, and thinking about things in different ways. We don’t know everything, and not being afraid of discovery is important.”

Staying in the present while simultaneously looking ahead is a balance, one that benefits from the freedom to explore outside the box.

Many perspectives, one goal

Thinking about things in different ways comes more easily when the workplace is as diverse as NRG’s is, and our diversity is ever-growing. The differences in background and experience across our organization give us the ability to continually solve complex problems better. For Bruce, this is apparent in everyday collaboration with colleagues:

“When I walk around the company and work with different teams, I see a similar level of diversity. It really instills a sense of pride for me that, as a company as large as we are, we’ve done the right things to create the diverse workforce that we’ve got.

“Diversity of skin color, of religious belief, of experience, of thought, of life experiences… It’s all important for coming up with the right answer for our customers, our shareholders, and our employees at large.”

It is by virtue of our diversity that, not only are we a better company today, but we’re collectively powering a safer, smarter, more sustainable tomorrow.

Future-forward energy

Now, we find ourselves at one of the most critical junctures of our corporate history, and the drive to achieve has never been higher. As a first generation Korean American, Bruce himself is no stranger to hard work and perseverance; his first job after graduating from Columbia University with a degree in history was on Wall Street, where he worked as an investment banking analyst 80-100 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, for over 11 years. That grinding work ethic is a product of his upbringing.

“There was this faith that my parents had, that what they were doing and all of the hardship they were incurring at the time was all going to pay off… I’ve always had that ethos, to believe in the faith my parents had in me, the faith that I was going to be successful in life. It’s something I reinforce in myself.”

It's also something he reinforces in NRG — faith in a future elevated by the bold vision of the brightest innovators pushing the energy industry forward. Our strong shared purpose — to power a brighter future, together — combined with our commitment to never stop improving is cultivating a unique culture where everyone is empowered to do work that truly matters.

Want to connect with Bruce? Visit his LinkedIn here.

Want to learn more about the unique culture at NRG Energy?

Be on the lookout for more installments of the Culture in Focus series.