Cynthia Geerts from Logistic Force: "The challenge for me as an HR advisor rests in letting go."
📌 Read the interview with Cynthia Geerts to find out what kind of sport can bring your team together and why Cynthia compares her company to a cowboy.
AcademyOcean team continues finding HR experts who can share their extensive experience and knowledge in the HR field, tell valuable tips and help people who would like to start their career in this industry.
Today, our guest is Cynthia Geerts from Logistic Force.
Cynthia Geerts is a people-oriented HR professional who easily connects by "speaking the same language". In 2017 she started higher professional education in Human Resource Management, with a young family and her job, this was a challenge but she was determined to get her bachelor, which she obtained in 2021.
The graduation year was related to the quality of work within the temporary employment sector, and the graduation research at her employer Logistic Force provided very good insights into the perception of temporary workers concerning the quality of work.
Cynthia practices her personal beliefs in work; quality, connection, respect, honesty, fun, and simplicity. Because of this, she stays close to herself and is empowered. Her authenticity is characteristic of her.
AO: Nice to meet you, Cynthia and welcome!
Our first question will be about your first steps in the HR field.
Did you work somewhere before becoming an HR professional? Why did you decide to become an HR?
CG: Before I started my HR career, I worked at a small trading company. First as a seller and later as a buyer. Originally I am a beautician and at that time, I also had a beauty salon next to my work because I like to work with people. But I noticed that I no longer wanted to work with people in this physical way. I wanted to mean something to people in my work, but I didn't know what it should look like at the time. After 1.5 years of research into my interests, career choice tests, and open days of high schools in the region, I concluded that I was extremely attracted to HR.
AO: Can you share your thoughts on why HR is an important function in any organization?
CG: HR is an essential part of the organization because it is the connecting factor between the legal business aspect of work and the human dimension.
HR translates organizational goals into understandable language and HR ensures that the people involved remain involved.
My HR identity is therefore characterized by the strong people-oriented vision that I have.
AO: HR sphere is not so easy as it seems. What difficulties do you usually face working as an HR specialist?
CG: The challenge for me as an HR advisor rests in letting go. I can only control my actions, but not what others intend to do. It is always nice when my advice is followed, but this is not always the case. It sometimes feels like a failure when you see that the solid advice you have given is not being followed.
I am a perfectionist and very committed to fair and righteous decisions. From this point of view, I often look several steps ahead, scenario planning, and then I foresee that the scenario is going in the wrong direction. The only thing I can do is try to make corrections, advise again and try to convince the other person, but in the end, I am not decisive. Sometimes I find it very challenging to let it go at such a moment.
AO: Can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices?
CG: The administrative burden is still very high in many organizations. Much more efficiency can be achieved if systems function properly, which means that fewer errors are made in the basics. Secondly, I think that many organizations should be more transparent towards their employees about developments in the organization and the industry and that organizations should give more direction to their employees.
So how can you be of value to us? Make it concrete. Every employee wants to be of value, but not every employee knows how. And third, I believe that the employee experience should be central. For me, the employees are the driving force of the organization, they are valuable parts of the organization and that is how they should be treated.
AO: Cynthia, I think you have some exciting thoughts about the future of the HR industry. Where do you see the HR industry in the next 5 years?
CG: HR is constantly changing. At first, HR was a department for contracts and questions and the HR department was mainly administratively supportive. Later this changed, HR was asked to contribute ideas on a strategic and tactical level and the term HR Business partner was created. In the future, I foresee that HR will play a major role in the employee experience. The newer generation of workers doesn't need old-fashioned formats and roles. There is a need for autonomy, a high level of interest in technology, and a need for a free working environment with space to be yourself and express this.
AO: What types of tools do you think every HR person should be using in 2021?
CG: Performance management tools, this form of management is a facilitating instrument that puts the employee first. HR analytic software, analytics software is a good tool to analyze and interpret data.
AO: And what HR trends do you think will emerge in 2021?
CG: Corona has shown us that a workplace is not necessarily in the office. It also taught us that you can come together without being in the same room. In short, working remotely and creatively giving substance to team outings and gatherings is the new standard. The entire work-life balance has been turned and this will only take place more in the coming year.
AO: Let's now talk about inspiration. Can you name one (or several) HR experts whose work do you highly appreciate or take as an example?
CG: I like Lynda Gratton's contributions, she talks so inspiringly about the future of work and I can identify with many of her views. Lynda has a good idea of what is going on in organizations and what employees need.
In addition, I also follow Dave Ulrich, he is critical about the HR roles and the developments that are going on in this regard. There are HR professionals who question existing roles, although studies may have been devoted to the importance of those roles for years. Dave has a very strong foundation for his beliefs and it is very educational to be able to follow the ideas of such a powerful personality.
AO: Cynthia, let's move to the question of the new hires' adaptation process. How does the onboarding of new employees go into your company?
CG: We work with a buddy system and a fixed format with objectives that you must achieve during the training period. The objectives are function-related. This includes knowing where the HR manual can be found for example, where the collective labor agreement can be found, how the system works, and know-how of the communication flows internally. The buddy guides this entire process. The formal introduction process generally lasts 1 month. Individual needs will be assessed after this period.
AO: It is great that your company's onboarding process is so well established.
What traditions your company has and what is your favorite one?
CG: Soccer is an important aspect for us. We are one of the main sponsors of our soccer team and as a team we like to go to the matches together, now with covid-19 that is not possible, and this creates togetherness. In addition, our organization is characterized by its low threshold. The management often comes by for a chat. What is also nice is that entrepreneurship is low in the organization, people have a lot of freedom to give substance to their work themselves.
AO: It's fantastic that there are things that bring you all together. What is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten, Cynthia?
CG: I can be. It's not about being on time, it's not about being what is expected. It's about being of added value. It took me about 2 years to integrate this into my work. I am allowed to be who I am and precisely because I am who I am I add so much more to my work than I try to meet all expectations.
AO: Now we have a bit unusual question. If the company you work for now were a person, what kind of person would it be?
CG: A cowboy. Our board describes our beginnings years ago as cowboys in the wild west. Just started 'shooting' around and concur the 'world'. We started with a nice club of professionals and sometimes we still behave like cowboys, but we are knowledgeable and above all passionate.
AO: A very interesting association 😀
Let's finish our interview on a relaxing note. What was the funniest/most unusual incident during your HR practice?
CG: After a long absence process, we, unfortunately, had to say goodbye to the employee. I had a very pleasant contact with this employee and was sorry for him that he was still so ill. The employee came over for coffee with his wife especially for me to say goodbye and thank me. I explained to the employee about his sick pay and wished him the best. At such moments I realize what impact I make on people. Then I am grateful and proud.
AO: Thanks a lot, Cynthia for such inspiring answers. We wish you good luck and all the best in your career.
That's all for today, friends. See you at the next interview!
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