From a director to a talent manager. The changing role of talent managers
The soft side of Human Resources asks for looser control and closer listening. HR development according to the opinion and the experience of the new HR Officer of Esaote.
HR are changing and the intuition of certain pioneering companies to promote cross-competences in most functions (Human Resources, Marketing, Communication, CSR) to bring the brand to people, rather than to consumers, is now a challenge for any company wishing to operate with high profits on the global market.
One of the toughest challenges for the Italian corporate model is to support the transformation of the labour-relations function that, in the words of Pietro Golini, Chief HR Officer of Esaote, has two sides, and both are very important: a hard, administrative side, focused on ensuring clear employee relations, and a soft one tied to the acquisition and enhancement of resources that are crucial for the brand’s and the company’s growth. “In employment interviews, we often happen to feel we are being investigated, as a company, by the candidates, with questions concerning opportunities for personal growth, work-life balance, alignment with their values. This no longer surprises me, having worked for many years abroad where professional mobility and talent management are everyday phenomena. My time at Danieli allowed me to experience the practical side of a well-known theory, by which people will be more motivated and engaged if they will find 3 M’s in their workplace: Membership, Mastery, and Meaning. The economic factor only plays a partial role in these balances. A company wishing to secure the best talents should cooperate with its employees to strike the right balance among these factors, being aware that such balance is always awkward, very personal, and difficult to standardize.”
In commenting on the widespread change in the role of HR, Mr. Golini refers to his experience at Luxottica, where offshoring policies focused on China were supported by a cautious dissemination of the Corporate Culture, obviously adjusted to the needs of employee communities, to their traditions, and to their customs.
“It was not about transferring a ready-made model, but rather about solving the practical problems of workers in that particular situation: being away from home, the need to socialize and to reunify with their families. In that case, investments were made on the hospitality of relatives, on nurseries, on movie-going and entertainment events, crucial to prevent isolation and the feeling of loneliness. The projects implemented with that experience evoke key concepts that, if designed according to the needs of each community, can be applied universally - care, development, performance, competences, welfare. These factors are intertwined, as well as closely tied to the brand’s health and long-term market perception. We should not think it is only an issue for multinational companies and marketing related aspects. At Danieli I had the fortune to conceive and develop a number of welfare instruments, including the company nursery school Cecilia, in a smaller, but very open and proactive environment.”
Therefore a shift is under way from operational efficiency (pay-slips, attendance sheet, working time) to a more strategic role. The main challenges for the new HR now include talent identification and acquisition, an alliance with in-house communication to create an organizational texture through information sharing, personal support to co-operators in the change process to help them cope with a complex environment, subject to the growing impact of Digital Transformation.
Thus, in the future, those involved in Human Resource management will invest less and less of their time on supervisory tasks, such as calculating the working hours, and more on designing the selection, growth, and sometimes even the transition of the best professional figures available on the market. “In a company, each one is a talent manager to the extent that they manage to stimulate something powerful in their team members. It should be noted that talent is still something unexpressed, it is not a given fact, but rather an attitude triggered by a complex set of stimuli. The challenge for an HR manager is to establish a training and information sharing process capable to generate value at multiple levels: it is important to be aware that profitable personal development for an organization does not always follow utility logics for the person as an individual. Finding the way to match personal development objectives with the company’s ones is the main challenge.”
Companies in the future will be increasingly part of multicultural communities, both in generational and geographic terms, and this calls for an open mind and, particularly, for the ability to share values, which are inherent to people and conveyed through their work. If it is true that a question a scouter is often asked is “why should I choose this company,” what was the answer of Mr. Golini when he chose Esaote?
“It is definitely an international, culturally bright environment. It has the right size to compete on most markets and you hardly get bored there thanks to its decision-making speed, to a smooth information flow across the organization. The fact that investors come from the industrial world is a guarantee for a long-term vision and the assumption for great market synergy opportunities, especially in China, a country to which I am indissolubly linked. As a father, I needed to return to Italy after seven years spent abroad, and in this company I do not miss the opening attitude I enjoyed in my international experience.” And from the offices on top of the technological hill, you can even spot the sea.
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