Bridging the gap between the business and human resources side of a company served as an overarching theme at the latest HR Connections, led by Whirlpool’s Antonio Netto, who has spent the past three years as Director of Human Resources in Latin America, after working for 11 years in finance at the company.
Several HR Connections members wanted to know what Netto brought into HR from his previous world of finance and whether experience in HR is attractive for advancement.
“For sure. The CEO has a right hand on a CFO and the left-hand on HR,” said Netto.
Here are five topics that stood out from more than a dozen questions posed to Netto from a room eager to learn from his multi-departmental perspective.
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Be Open to Bringing in Outsiders to HR
- “One of the things I regret the most these three years was not bringing more people from the business (side) to HR.” – Antonio Netto
- “I had worked on the business side for about 12 years before I found HR…To me, the employees became my clients. My products became training, development, and exposure.” – Francia Guzmán, Managing Director and Founder, FBG Consulting
- “As I look back on Right Management, every single person has had some type of large business background to be able to relate (HR) back and forth to business.” – Tammy Davidson, Sr. Vice President of Client Services, Right Management
But Not Every HR Outsider Will Bring Value
“They can become an asset or a liability to HR. HR is always a safe landing for anyone. That’s a mistake. Not everyone is capable or ready to face the people challenge. They can have a culture clash. The asset side is awesome, and maybe (Netto) is a great example of that.” – Daniel Loria, Global Head of HR, Millicom International Services
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Aligning Business Leaders Around Objectives
How do you get business leaders to buy into key competencies and training initiatives, asked Nathalie Weister, RRHH Director at FOX Latin American Channels.
“What worked was I had face-to-face with the leaders, and I said, ‘Why don’t you guys tell me what you need instead of waiting for us to present to you guys. We don’t know what you need.’ So that really worked,” said Netto.
Once the leadership told HR what they were looking for, Netto’s team built the best possible package to build the team.
HR Analytics Are Important but Not Without Insight
A story on diversity analytics emerged at the discussion from Mario Fernandez Montero, HR Manager for Microsoft Latin America. The analytics showed a positive 40 percent female representation, but within that 40 percent there was a concern.
100 percent of those hires were internal hires. In reality, external diverse talent was not being brought into the business.
“That was very enlightening for us. More so than the analytics/data, let’s go more over to insights,” said Fernandez Montero.
“It’s the challenge everywhere. Building the numbers, building the analysis, then not having enough time to think about insight,” said Netto.
Why Some Leave
What were the reasons some employees were not a fit after Netto made some changes in Whirlpool’s HR? Geeta Gwalani, TATA Consultancy Services Head of Talent Integration, wanted to know.
The biggest reason was the elimination of broad roles in favor of specific ones. If someone struggled with a specific role, chances were given to try a different specific role. Ultimately though, some could not succeed in specific roles.
“Sometimes when you have a very broad role, it’s hard to measure performance. After we made the changes, it was easy to see who was performing and who was maybe hiding behind the content manager or whatever,” said Netto.
Many at HR Connections agreed sending talent into the business side from HR and bringing them back is extremely valuable. The opposite is also true, as evidenced by Antonio Netto himself. Do not be afraid to bring the best talent from the business side to HR. Either way, success in HR is attractive for advancement.
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