Violeta, you have a lot of experience in “bank” HR. Do you see some differences between HR in banks and in other industries?
Positioning and the role of HR should be the same in every industry. HR processes are also the same, what is different is the methodology or implementation of the processes. The difference is coming out of the specific field of industry and also from different competencies required for the jobs.
We are privileged to work in the banking since it is one of the most regulated sector and therefore we are enforced to implement the professional standards and the processes regardless the consciousness of necessity or understanding of their benefits within the organization. The banks were, in a way, a driver for development of HR in our region.
Devoted people are the biggest strength for a company. How can we nourish them to stay in that “mode”?
Of course it is a complex question; and the answer goes back to the early stages, all to the recruitment process and setting up of the company business models. There is not one single thing you need to do or not to do, it is about creating a culture of common values, openness, trust and responsibility and sharing that culture with professionals. Competent and motivated persons are joining the company, but devoted are those contributing to the company development. The first is what you get, the second one is what you are able to create.
I’ll emphasize two points.
Nevertheless in what industry you are working, your job needs to make sense. If you give purpose to the job, add value to the goals or associate the goals with the values your coworkers are sharing, that is one important part of the puzzle.
Depending on the industry, you will modify the level of information you are providing or the way you are communicate the values to your people.
The second point is to acknowledge your employees. It is not easy or the shortest way to make the business finished, but is mandatory to ensure the desired outcomes and success. How do we do that? You need to see your coworkers as individuals; to hear what they have to say even when you know that their proposal is not the best at the moment. They need to feel that they could address you openly and express their opinion on every subject, that they are appreciated, that you value what they think. It would be beneficiary for the business if you are able to devote your time to develop and operationalize their ideas and make them personally aware of the quality of their proposals. It also means that your coworkers have a right to be wrong; to make mistakes, as we all do unintentionally. Learning from mistakes is not just of the saying; it is a real opportunity to evaluate and validate our perspectives. Eventually with the experience of the open discussion, they will become more productive, realistic and doable. Both sides will learn (both sides, because decision making as one the main role of the manager or leader needs to stay with them). Yes, it is time consuming, but benefits are numerous. You will create trust and their trust will help you to make them still devoted when you do not have a privilege to include them in the project, when you just need to say what needs to be done without additional explaining.
Do it because I told you so won’t work for professionals or people in our culture. Or even if it works, think if you really need the people who would always wait for you to tell them what’s to be done?! This will increase your ego, but what if you are failing to notice the obvious obstacle? Obedient people may be loyal, but they will not become devoted. And one more thing: we do not need to create people devoted to the managers, but devoted to the results, business, and company.
Your role is very important when we talk about people’s development. How can you explain it in more detail?
HR needs to know and understand the company’s business and on the other side, to know the employees.
People’s development is an integrative process, where deepening one’s knowledge on business is followed by personal growth and maturity.
The success comes if you manage to elevate all those streams. The outcome could be that you develop the person who is ready to leave the company, but this is not a negative thing. We are all growing throw this process and the benefits for the company are numerous, both internal and external.
The best results are when we combine different methodologies for people’s development. What do you prefer?
I prefer when I start all the way from beginning: professional assessment of the candidates in the recruitment process, careful leading throw the integration, smart evaluation and feedbacks when needed. It is not about the methodologies so as it is for your realistic approach and balanced interventions.
How can coaching influence HR’s way of work in order to improve it?
Internal coaching is an important HR role. Managers open to work closely with HR are not only solving the “issues” in their area of responsibility, but also learning and improving their manager’s set of skills.
This depends on the experience of HR, for sure, but softly leading managers in their personal growth is, from my perspective, one of the main tasks for HR.
In the end, what is your vision of future HR?
I believe that successful HR is integral part of the business model. From my perspective, you do not need to know what exactly your HR is doing (meaning, to name all HR processes), and that the greatest achievements are coming when HR is intertwined with other processes in the company. The greatest compliment for me personally is when people come to ask for my opinion on their work, reflection on ideas or advice how to proceed with some project or interrelations. It stays confidential, you cannot go around praising yourself for this. But knowing that someone trusts you and cherish your experience and support is gratifying. To accomplish this, knowing your people and understanding business is mandatory. So, HR is a travel kit in your successful business journey that true HR is for me.