Andre Declerck joined Ingersoll Rand in March 2008 as the Director of Human Resources, Corporate and Labor Relations, Europe.
Under this role, he has been providing direction and counsel for labour relations matters (24 work councils, European Work council, Data Protection, and more) in Europe and has also been the HR Businees Partner for all European corporate positions.
He actively initiates, supports & coordinates initiatives that aims at improving employee relations.
Prior to this, Andre was employed by Agfa-Gevaert as the Global Manager, Employee Relations and communication. He then played a key role in the industrial relations, internal communication, company culture, leadership and change management. He was also a part of the demerger team (social laws & Internal communication). Andre has earlier worked with well known organizations like De Post, Vicindo and KPMG Consulting. He has been assertively involved in defining the HR strategies & policies throughout his professional life.
Ques 1. Ingersoll Rand has a global footprint. As HR Business Partner for the European region, what remains your focus area while framing the HR strategies?
Ans. Ingersoll Rand works on 3 strategic dimensions: Becoming a progressive, diverse and an inclusive company, having operational excellence at all levels & functions and being innovative.
As HR Business partner for Europe, we take initiatives in our own area (for eg. operational excellence: providing role clarity by defining HR activities into e-HR, HR shared Services, HR Business Partners and Centers of Expertise) as well as support the other functions in defining and setting up similar actions for improvement.
As a consequence, HR Business partners are focused on talent development, change management and supporting Business leaders.
Ques 2. De Post, Agfa Gevaert NV, Fortis & now Ingersoll Rand. How has this exposure across industry sectors helped you evolve as an HR professional?
Ans. Each sector/ company has it’s own pace of doing things, it’s own stakeholders, it’s own typical accents (what is important, the do’s & don’t ) and its own economical environment. Having to deal with this large variety of inputs, wondering how the relationship between employees and employers can best be optimized in all these different circumstances teaches and trains an HR professional to become more flexible, open and innovative to be an effective support for all parties concerned.
Ques 3. In the increasing global competition, it is believed that ‘the effective management of people side of global business pays dividends in stronger bottom lines’. What are your views on that?
Ans. I am an advocate of this. I can also refer to studies (by Human Synergistics) where the improvement of collective behavior (also called company culture) and the P&L improved simultaneously over a number of years.
Ques 4. Human resource is the most unstable and powerful resource of an organization. What are the key points that you keep in mind while forming your HR policies to ensure the efficient performance and constant motivation of your employees?
Ans. HR cannot act as a ‘stand-alone’ function. To ensure this, HR plays its part just like that of the leadership and the vision of the company. It is only when these three elements are not only linked to each other but also support each other, that the human resource of a company can turn into a powerful resource for an organization.
Ques 5. There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. What is the most important lesson that your journey as an HR executive taught you that might be helpful for others in the same field as yours?
Ans. Learning in calm or in stormy situations is a rather personal preference. The most important lesson I have learnt is that HR can only be powerful and effective if its supported by the leader of the organization. If you miss this, better look for another opportunity (even if it means smaller organization or smaller budgets) where you can have this trust and support. It will make you grow as an HR professional.
Ques 6. How have the recent mind boggling global economic crashes affected human resource management?
Ans. HR is challenged not only to provide its part of the ‘improvements’, it is also challenged to prove it’s added value. Strong HR professionals will strive in this kind of environment, “HR tool box operators” will face difficult times.
Ques 7. Drawing from your experience, which role defines a HR professional best: Business and Strategic Partner, Employee Advocate, or a Change Champion?
Ans. Just like in life, the answer to this question is also not an “either-or” story. A real HR professional has to be good at all these factors. One might also add alliance builder, legal expert, communicator, talent builder. The more roles an HR Professional has in his reach, the better he’ll be.
Ques 8. Your wide experience in this field makes you eligible for listing some DO’s and DON’T’s for the new foot setters in your field. Would you like to suggest some points?
Ans. These are my personal do’s and don’t’s that I have tried to apply during my professional career, I guess one has to judge for oneself how useful these might be for him/her:
• Be consistent in what you do, say or behave
• Be honest, regardless of whether it is political correct or not
• Listen (“yes, and” instead of “yes, but”)
• Trust people without being naïve
• Be open to new ideas
• Think in extremes
• Complain: fight it, accept it or leave it
Ques 9. After travelling very far we often tend to forget why we began with the journey in the first place. Can you share the reason why you chose to be in this field?
Ans. I like people. Companies/organizations are a collection of people. Being in HR puts one in the center of the tension between collective vs individual interest, which was and still is a challenging and emotionally rewarding environment for me.
Ques 10. An inspirational quote that keeps you moving ahead even in times of stress and strain.
Ans. Do well and don’t look back.
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