Reshaping the HR function for the future

Reshaping the HR function for the future

All HR professionals know that policy and compliance are vital components for a safe and happy workplace. But too often, we let ourselves get bogged down in handbooks and regulatory frameworks that restrict our ability to promote wellbeing, creativity and collaboration.

So, how do you move away from confining systems and introduce new ways of working that build trust and break down barriers - while also getting buy-in from and ownership of senior stakeholders? Exact CHRO, Florien de Nijs spoke to Anne Jaakke from the podcast HR Changemakers about reshaping the HR function for the future, with innovation and creativity at the forefront shaping workplace culture.

Connecting HR with the wider business

‘Stepping into the shoes of the business even more.’ HR should check more with the business; we should start with them. We are moving to a business partnership, making sure we are speaking the same language. Understanding the need to integrate HR business-wide, Florien suggests mixing the HR team more, with different skill sets and different background, not only HR education, but also for example a data scientist to connect better with the business. ‘We need to prevent HR is becoming siloed and to encourage others to take an interest in the role it plays.‘

Florien believes that this approach makes HR more relevant, valuable and accepted within the business. Diversity is a good example of this. Diversity should not be considered an exclusively HR topic. It is a company-wide issue that every team member needs to take responsibility for, and encouraged to play their part.

Making positive things happen despite restrictions

Florien joined Exact during lockdown, but she didn’t let the government restrictions hold her back when it came to employee engagement. With the support of Exact’s CEO Paul Ramakers, Florien created a beach environment with chairs, sand and a swimming pool in an unused car park on the premises. Colleagues were able to meet, either socially or professionally, in a fun, inspiring and safe environment.

“The investment was almost nothing, but the exposure was enormous,” says Florien. “It was facilitated by the company and that made people proud.” Florien’s approach sets her and Exact apart from traditional HR ways of working. Naturally, regulations and compliance are a vital part of the HR landscape but rather than solely focusing on restrictive policies Florien and her team prioritised building trust and breaking down barriers to making positive things happen for the team.   

The importance of prioritising people above process

So, how did Florien go about dismantling a restrictive policy-led framework? Rather than creating yet another HR handbook on the subject, Florien decided to simply see what happens. To ensure the leadership principles were harmonised and consistent throughout Exact, she introduced guidelines to work from; building trust, prioritising people above process and maintaining a consistent dialogue. She also left it open for people to decide their approach to remote or hybrid working. “As soon as things are fixed there is a negative tone which is what I am trying to avoid,” says Florien. “You should always have some boundaries but it is important not to over-engineer. You can make a real impact by being creative, doing things differently and keeping things simple.”

Want to find out more about how Florien is transforming the HR function at Exact? 

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Are you looking for more information on this subject, would you like to request an interview, or do you have any other media-related questions? Please contact our head of Corporate Communications Annemarije Dérogée via
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