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Geoffroy_de_lestrange_lowhresThis is a guest blog post from Geoffroy de Lestrange. In charge of product marketing within Cornerstone OnDemand in Europe, Geoffroy has been working in the Talent management industry for five years, and has over 15 years of experience in B2B marketing across various European countries. He is convinced that Cloud computing, mobile and social technologies will help HR make everyone in the organisation aware of their strategic role for the company’s bottom line.


It’s been about 5 years since I started to work in an HR environment (first learning, then talent management). Before this, I was in various industries and my employers more often than not did not have an HR manager/director. I can even remember a specific company which prided itself in not having any HRD at all, considering this a complete waste of money…

This raises an interesting question: what’s the perception of HR to the majority of employees? In most cases, it’s simply considered as:

  • The person that asks dumb questions during the hiring interview (“what are your 5 biggest weaknesses?”)
  • the place where hiring contract are written and signed, but certainly not decided
  • the department to talk to when I don’t understand my salary slip
  • the service that drafts redundancy notice, but do not decide them
  • the organiser of the Christmas party…

So all in all, HR is perceived as the place in charge of administrative stuff but not a decision maker. It was actually the way I felt about HR at the time too. And at the end of the day, nobody liked HR…

Now working in talent management, I can only admit my own feeling about HR was completely wrong. We must recognise that all talent management related processes have a deep impact on the company bottom line, both in the short and long term:

  • Recruiting a good candidate is obviously strategic for a company, and the pre-screening done by HR to ensure that candidates fit the company culture can definitely be a significant part of the hiring process.
    • The alternative of hiring an unsuitable candidate that may be technically good but would not pass the trial period or leave after 1 or 2 years can result in very high recruitment costs and loss of productivity
  • Developing a truly operational evaluation process based on performance and competencies can result in highly strategic learning programmes, efficient succession planning and rewarding compensation plans.
    • A simple paper-based evaluation grid is the best way to ensure that employees are demotivated, feeling undervalued and not considered. The immediate result is a high staffing turnover in the company
  • The absence of a dedicated HR manager will generate a feeling of unfair rewarding, where trainings, raises and promotions are given if your face fits.

We can argue that people having a bad impression of HR have simply never had the opportunity to meet good HR, and that their own management is at fault of not considering the importance of managing resources humanly!

The immediate conclusion is that HR deserves much better than its current reputation coming from companies that do not take it seriously. I’ve seen the alternative: organisations where HR has a deep understanding of the company business and strategy, acting as a true partner for each operational manager and contributing directly to the success of the entire business.

The goal of this blog is to talk about HR and talent-related topics and get your opinions, insights and reactions, with the ultimate goal to put HR in the limelight and credit them with the success they deserve.