HR Grapevine: The European Connection: HR in Europe

Cielo’s own Sue Brooks, Chief Innovation Officer, and Andrew Manning, Director - Consulting & Solutions, were quoted in HR Grapevine today, speaking to the cultural differences among European countries, and how they impact multi-national organizations that try to keep a consistent, global company culture. They claim that, while companies do have to take every culture and its norms, traditions and communication style into account, there are still similarities in the talent agenda and strategies.

Excerpts from the article:

Andrew Manning, Director, Cielo Talent, supports this theory and believes that if a country’s customs are not respected and worked with the company will run into trouble. He explains: “People within a country are the living embodiment of the way that different countries do things. So if there is any area of the business that is less likely to conform to a global conformity standard, in terms of how things are done, it will be HR. Lots of large businesses do, of course, have international shared service centres and centres of excellence where different parts of the business from different countries go and access certain best practices or knowledge, but nevertheless the way that HR itself is deployed on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, will reflect its local customs and way of doing things. All of the businesses we at Cielo have worked with, certainly across Europe and other multinational business, HR will take into account the ways its people like to be communicated to. How they are informed, the level of information they like to receive, the ways in which they like to be informed about things and the level of engagement that the business feels it needs to have with them in order to get the best out of them. And those things do vary quite a bit from country to country. If a company aren’t taking into account the modification of global or regional standard processes in order to reflect how they’re going to be received on a day to day basis by the people within those regions, then I think they’re doomed to failure.”

Sue Brooks, Executive Vice President, Cielo Talent says that in many ways there’s more similarities than differences between multinational companies, and, whether they’re in Germany, the Netherlands or the UK (for example), they share common challenges within HR that are currently consolidating HR in Europe. Brooks says: “For most of the companies we have worked with across Europe, they are always pushing a talent agenda – whether it’s because of a skills shortage, maturing markets or the need for innovation and growth. And so what is also common to all of these organisations is that there’s an absolute focus on managing talent. Making sure that companies have the strongest company branding possible and improving their ability to attract and keep talent, in particular leadership roles are crucial. And there’s a big focus on managing change – the cultural transformation of the business and the HR capability – to step up and be able to play a more strategic role. These are just some of the common agendas for HR in Europe in that particular way.”