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Snapshot-Portrait Sylvie Ackerman goSwiff

15 minutes with goSwiff’s Sylvie Ackermann

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Sylvie Ackermann, head of human resources for goSwiff, shares her thoughts on the key role HR plays in business growth, and how it needs to adapt to face changing employee needs.

Why did you choose HR as a profession?

Interaction with individuals is my passion, and in HR, most of my days are filled with conversations and meetings with people.

I am keen on resolving conflicts ideally before they occur, and being head of human resources allows me to take action when needed in order to avoid conflict situations developing further.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

At goSwiff, we have a global team across five continents.

I enjoy building the organisation across cultures and continents as well as meeting global citizens.

This role gives me the opportunity to learn about different regions, various local HR laws worldwide, and the differences of the countries when choosing the best working environment for every individual.

Something I feel strongly about is finding talent globally to support the company growth, while also supporting personal growth.

Something I feel strongly about is finding talent globally to support the company growth, while also supporting personal growth.

GoSwiff is currently in fast-paced growth in terms of human capital, no longer a start-up, but not yet medium size.

It gives me a unique opportunity to build global and local HR processes. I am working across the regions with the whole leadership team to make sure the HR strategy enables us to support the growth to meet the business goals.

Can you describe a regular workday at your company?

Mornings I usually work with the Singapore team, while afternoons and evenings are dedicated to support the other regions.

We have operations in five continents so there is something happening in every time zone, but fortunately our international team is used to time differences and we can find ways to communicate across time and distance.

Recruitment takes currently a big part of my job because the company is growing extremely fast and we need to find the right talent to support it.

This includes refining the need and job descriptions with recruiting managers, and briefing recruitment agencies

I am also involved in interviewing candidates, recommending the right people to management, and negotiating job contracts.

Career planning also takes a big part of my daily job.

We are creating ways of rewarding good performance and highlighting exceptional team results.

Something I enjoy particularly is being available for the staff when they need me, to be in sync with the teams on their daily lives.

Something I enjoy particularly is being available for the staff when they need, to be in sync with the teams on their daily lives.

What is the best career advice you have received?

The best advice for me that I also would like to pass onto my peers is to go with your gut in your choice of career.

Try to follow your dreams to figure if they are right for you, and do not be afraid to change paths if you feel you are not leveraging your full potential.

How do you think the HR function will evolve in the next five years?

Technology will play a big role in global HR processes, especially in the growing companies that do not yet have all the processes and support functions in place.

Most HR tools are often designed for bigger organisations and cannot be adapted to the needs of smaller, but global businesses – so there is a gap in the market for scaled down versions.

Companies need to align the employees’ needs with the business needs.

People want to advance in their career much quicker than the business’ needs allow, so HR needs to find a way to balance that.

Is there anything you feel HR can do better to play a bigger role in organisations?

It depends on the organisation. In our company human capital is the most important asset, so the importance of HR is huge.

People want to advance in their career much quicker than the business’ needs allow, so HR needs to find a way to balance that.

We have to put the right processes in place to show that we value each individual and their contribution to the success of our company.

Another business challenge in today’s working environment is talent retention and succession planning, which are both part of HR’s responsibilities.

 

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