PRACTITIONER PROFILE HR executives share their experience in human resources Joerg Boder is group HR director at Alliance UniChem. His career in HR Joerg Boder, began at Credit Suisse, followed by seven years as executive director of HR at AT&T, before joining PepsiCo, where he spent five years as HR vice Alliance UniChem president in central Europe. uring his extensive 20-year HR implement is the induction program, you’re credible, then you can usually get career at high-profile which invites new recruits to meet the what you want.“ But, he says, the two Dmultinational companies, Joerg major executive directors and function traits must go together. “In my case, Boder has experienced plenty of heads, see presentations about the they’ve been a wonderful recipe for difficult mergers and acquisitions. As business and take part in Q&A sessions making things work.” Alliance UniChem’s (AU) group HR with the CEO. Part of Boder’s role involves director, he’s now participating in its reinforcing support for innovation. “I current merger with Boots, a Engaging staff at all levels love that all the HR teams I work with pharmaceutical retailer. Boder knows that staff need to be across Europe are different,” he says. We “I’ve always been involved in the most passionate about their work in order to have big support for and acceptance of difficult challenge HR can have,” he says. achieve results. “If people come to multicultural thinking, right up to board “Change management excites me and work just for their salary then we’re level. I often speak three or four this merger is another great opportunity lost, because then we have a lot of languages in the same meeting. Our to demonstrate and deploy what I’ve ‘unemployeds’ on the payroll – they’re many nationalities are an invaluable learned about best practice in change.” not engaged.” To ensure employees are source of innovation.” engaged, his team created a set of Spearheading new developments indicators to measure the quantitative HR’s future hotspots Boder sees his mission as focusing on the and qualitative engagement One challenge Boder faces is the “Three Ps” – people, performance and “temperature,” which will be tested ongoing talent shortage. “It’s HR’s global passion. Apart from the merger over the next few years to prove there’s task to close the talent gap.” He also implications for his six-strong central HR development in the right direction. feels strongly about the key skills team, in the short term they’re also required of HR practitioners. “If you’re concentrating on a performance Managing different markets afraid of change then you’re in the management initiative. The “Centers of In a previous role at PepsiCo, Boder faced wrong job.” He believes that “‘HR Excellence” system, which is owned and the challenge of rolling out a process manager’ is the wrong term. We should developed by the AU country HR teams, change program in its European sales be called ‘change managers’ or is being rolled out.“Instead of creating forces. It was impossible to build a team ‘organizational architects.’” According to an ‘HR empire’ that dictates policies, I’ve to train several thousand people about a Boder, HR should “anticipate, manage been using the talent I already have in process change program within two and drive change,” adding; “I eat change our HR people across the businesses to months, so he opted to introduce an e- for breakfast! Change is just another roll out best practice.” learning platform. “The risk and word for opportunity.” Another initiative Boder’s helped to investment was huge. I had to fight for He believes HR as a function should the money, took a big risk and put my enable and not just support. “Change reputation on the line.” Fortunately, the management is the core of our function ALLIANCE UNICHEM initiative was a major success and was now and is where HR should go. We completed to schedule. should take calculated risks, come out of Alliance UniChem is a leading healthcare Boder’s persuasive passion enabled the office and show our faces. What’s the distribution group. Its core businesses him to get the management buy-in he best test to find out if you’re a strategic are pharmaceutical wholesaling and needed for the platform. “I identify HR manager? If a line manager asks you, retail pharmacy. It’s a FTSE 100 company myself 150 percent with an initiative ‘You’re not really from HR are you?’ it with 33,000 employees, operating across and don’t give up quickly. If you means you’re becoming an enabler 12 countries. present something with passion and rather than a support function.” 6 Volume 5 Issue 2 January/February 2006
Strategic HR Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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