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Effectiveness of HR Departments

The assignment consisted of guiding human resources when a British industrial group acquired a French company specializing in running 11 old industrial sites. The HR department had up to then concentrated on the social climate and maintaining the production conditions to avoid all work stoppages that are particularly expensive in this type of manufacturing process.

The HR department's tasks were totally reconsidered, in particular with regard to the significant and positive salary increases in comparison with the reference markets. The 24-month program was centered on harmonizing the human resources policies, normalizing personnel costs so that they would be in line with the market, and guiding the company in the rationalizing production by closing two factories in France.

Intelfi took part in harmonizing the policies and practices of human resources and staffing at the request of the corporate human resources director. The principal actions undertaken in this assignment were:

▪ Evaluate the social composition in areas where there was underprivileged work.

▪ Analyze the management practices of human resources in the 11 places in terms of   recruitment, training, compensation, relocation, personnel administration, internal   communications and local social responsibility.

▪ Synthesize the levels and gaps in practice at the various sites.

▪ Propose harmonization steps for the HR practices in France

▪ Define the targets and open negotiations with the corporate trade unions and local unions.

▪ Train the group's and local Human Resources departments, providing them with arguments   and monitoring the negotiations

▪ Write agreement drafts between the company and the trade unions.

▪ Provide information and decisions on an ongoing basis to the HR department of the British   group.

This long-term assignment made it possible to take into account and apply the priorities of the new management which on the face of the situation, was incompatible in the short term with the company's manufacturing needs.

Setting new manufacturing rules made it possible to establish policies in administrative support areas such as human resources. It was also possible to determine reliable and durable cost indicators in order to invest in the programs needed to develop skills adapted to the latest manufacturing technologies.

An international pharmaceutical group decided to rely on the HR departments of its five main subsidiaries to promote international, non-scientific, cross-sectional projects instead of entrusting these exclusively to the departments of each sector.

The persons responsible for the group's skills base decided to start this project as a first level test. This is the level where they expected it would be possible to take advantage of direct benefits.

Intelfi intervened by introducing the mass markets competencies in marketing environments that are usually directed by scientists.

The project Intelfi was responsible for was sequenced as follows :

▪ Objective: Have the French HR Department introduce the candidates recruited for Product    Managers and Group Managers from mass markets environments instead of the scientific    and/or pharmaceutical skills.

▪ Create guidance structures for the project by introducing two new Product Managers as a    test (2 out of 32) with a profile that corresponded with the competencies found to be needed.

▪ Testing this function in all European countries placed under the responsibility of the French HR    Department for this project.

▪ Define a functioning modality making it possible to quickly have information go up and integrate    them into a specific knowledge database.

▪ Evaluate the relationship between scientific research skills and manufacturing and the mass    market contributions in the marketing and distribution professions.

▪ Together with the department directors and the Service Managers, define a barometer to    measure competitiveness of their marketing activities within this new configuration.

A review of the project demonstrated an improvement in the retailing performances in the short term, linked with simplification of the arguments put forward by the vendors or those dispensing prescriptions.

This trend was inversed after the second semester, given that regardless of any market or product effect, the performances of the mass markets units became commonplace, even inferior to those of other units.

The pharmaceutical group considered this project as an interesting basis for its work, more due to the role played by the department of human resources than for the quantitative variations observed. These were quite favorable in the beginning of the experiment but difficult to explain, including in the mid-term.

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