How Did I Get Here? Jean-Bertrand de Lartigue , HR2all Ltd

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New member, Jean-Bertrand de Lartigue, describes his route into HR.

What's your current job role?
I am the Chairman of HR2all Ltd, a company that provides a one stop shop environment for HR technology, products and services.

What did you do before this job?
I worked for Motorola for 22 years in various positions in general management and finance in 5 different countries.

Describe your route into HR?
As the West Europe General Manager for the Motorola Radio Communication Service organisation, I had to change the culture from a "break and fix" organisation to a field service customer one. I had to sell 20 out of our 28 work shops and reduce our workforce from 350 employees to 180 - all within 6 months. When I looked for HR help in the various countries on the strategy to apply I could not find anybody as they were too busy! I experienced the same later on when we were looking to transfer a manufacturing site from France to Poland and a design center from England to Germany. I looked into the issue as I wanted to understand what prevented very good, intelligent HR people from helping and found out that most HR people spend 65 to 70% of their time in administration and do not have the energy and time to help their businesses to grow. I then decided to set up my own company to help HR with their administration and move on to more rewarding tasks.

Did you always want to work in HR?
As described above, I only recently joined the exciting world of HR but as a general manager I have always had to be aware of HR and I am a strong believer that motivated people are the most important ingredient to successful businesses.

What would you say has been the most significant event in your career to date?
Starting this new company in a field that I always wanted to explore in more detail but never had the time to do it properly. Moving out of a corporate life into an entrepreneur life is also a very exciting and rewarding experience.

How do you think the role of HR has changed since you began your HR career?
Initially, it was feared that Web applications would take the ‘human’ out of HR. But in the US and UK, companies that have adopted the new technology have found it a more efficient and personalised way to deal with administration. Internet technology and self service systems are revolutionising the way HR people work. HR employees have to move from a non rewarding administrative job to an exciting business partner role in order to align HR strategies with the business growth strategies in a constantly changing world.

What single thing would improve your working life?
I am a passionate person and love my work so I do not see what should change.

What's your favourite part of the HR Zone site?
Knowledge sharing through Any Answers.

Have you made contact with any other members?
I am a fairly new member of HR Zone but my goal is to start sharing my views with others from January when I hope to have sorted out the usual difficulties of a start-up.

Do you have any advice for those looking to embark on a career in HR?
Automate or outsource the administrative tasks to free up your time to become a true business partner. The one thing that really helped me to move forward and be successful in my life has been to always be focused, prioritising my work, concentrating on what is important and urgent and moving into action. “What you do is more important than what you know” so get into action before having all the answers or you will fail! Trial and error is the best way to progress.

If you're willing to share your experiences of working in HR to date with other members, we'd like to hear from you - e-mail us to receive a copy of this questionnaire.

Previous 'Introducing...' features:
Karen Caddick, Head of HR, Channel Five
Madeleine Tate
Keith Luxon, HR Policy and Reward Director, The Laurel Pub Company
Jeremy Thorn, Chairman and Director of QED Consulting
Roger Pattison, HR - Training & Management Development Consultant
Verity McVarish, HR Manager for Sift Media
Rus Slater
David Kelly, Head of Development and Training for Aventis
Jenny Kevan, UK HR Manager for Abbott Laboratories
William Martin, HR Manager, Telewest Broadband
Craig Truter, HR Manager, The Body Shop
Martin Stockton, HR Transformation Leader, Towers Perrin
Nick Heap, Consultant, New Directions
Crispin Garden-Webster, HR Specialist, Asian Development Bank
Sandra Walsh, HR Delivers
Carole Leslie, Director, IT Learning Ltd
Shaun Dunphy, Project and Process Manager, EMEA HR Service Centre for MCI
Debra Artlett, HR Officer, NGJ
Dianne Miles, HR Manager, Rollalong Ltd
Jacqui Mann, HR Manager, Integra NeuroSciences
Isabella Montgomery, Human Resources Officer at The new Housing Association
Iain Young, Head of HR for Cofathec Heatsave

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