Taking on a new role is as challenging as it is exciting. In this series we will be talking to HR professionals who are getting to grips with a new job and finding out what attracted them to the role, as well as what their key priorities are for the months ahead. Want to tell us about a new role you're getting stuck into? Get in touch.
Petra Silber has recently been appointed HR Director of Europe at Lombard International Assurance – a world leader in wealth structuring solutions. She brings with her 20 years of HR management experience, previously working at Banque Pictet, HSBC Luxembourg and Clearstream International.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: You're coming into a brand new culture, lots of history, lots of opinions. How will you orient yourself over the first few months?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: The best way to orient myself is to spend a lot of time with the people at all levels of Lombard International Assurance. I am very open and curious, which helps me when working with the leaders to learn their business objectives and when listening to the staff to align our people strategies to help achieve results.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: How will you build trust with stakeholders in the first few months?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: Lombard International Assurance is a client-oriented company and the nature of our work is knowledge and labour intensive.
Integrity and accountability are highly valued within the organisation. It is important that the HR department fosters a productive company culture and ensures that our teams are well-equipped to service our clients and partners during their daily interactions.
Good HR is about best practices and great HR is about constantly adapting these as circumstances change.
To stay on top of the organisation’s needs, the HR team must have a good relationship with the rest of the business. Trust is imperative with any relationship and I am proud of my ability to gain the trust of both the leadership team and my colleagues.
In my opinion, trust is built on intentions, integrity, capabilities and results. I believe my HR experience, open nature and honest approach will drive results and help build good relationships with different stakeholders.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: What are the top three areas of HR you'll focus on in the first six months and why?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: In the first six months I will work on the learning and development platform, talent management initiatives and projects that promote the recognition of our colleagues.
More generally, I will be supporting the decision-making process, and those responsible for this, by helping to increase the frequency and quality of internal communications. This is with the aim of ensuring that all employees understand the decisions being made and the impact that they will have.
We offer a fascinating and international forward-thinking environment.
I will also be available to address any queries that anyone has – eliminating cases of miscommunication and misperception is an important goal for me.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: What have you learnt from your previous jobs about good HR that you'll put into practice in this new role?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: My previous jobs have all been in international institutions within Luxembourg with very different company cultures and standards. So for me good HR is about best practices and great HR is about constantly adapting these as circumstances change.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: What will be your approach to attracting and retaining talent at Lombard International?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: I’ll look to build on the excellent reputation of the Lombard brand – but, most importantly, I want to tell the exciting story of the global initiatives that will make us sustainable for the future.
That is the kind of company that any smart person should want to be working for; we offer a fascinating and international forward-thinking environment with many learning and development opportunities. This is the kind of messaging that I want to promote to attract the best talent.
Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Finally, what most excites you about your new role?
Petra Silber, HR Director, Lombard International: I am excited to be at Lombard because it is a company that is renowned for being innovative and resourceful. The diversity of the workforce truly impresses me and even after a few days I can already see how it enables creativity and innovation.