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Shapshot Baxter Healthcare's Carole

15 minutes with Baxter Healthcare’s Carole Le Meur

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Carole Le Meur, vice-president of human resources for Asia Pacific at Baxter Healthcare, shares how the ability to influence organisations, people and culture, drove her towards a career in HR.

What was your first HR job, and why did you choose HR as a profession?

I started my career with Procter & Gamble in pharmaceuticals as a sales and marketing manager for seven years. I then shifted to being a partner in executive search, supporting companies in the FMCG and healthcare industries.

In those two experiences I was exposed intensively to talent acquisition and learnt the skills required to be a HR business partner.

Being able to influence organisations, people and culture was a key driver for me to move to HR.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy having the power to influence the long-term evolution of a company through the selection of the most appropriate talent for today and tomorrow.

I also value creating the frame to build a healthy culture where employees enjoy coming to work, growing talent, and shaping HR to become true business leaders.

I enjoy having the power to influence the long-term evolution of a company through the selection of the most appropriate talent for today and tomorrow.

Can you describe a regular workday at your company?

As a HR leader, my days are filled by people whom I meet in different forums: interviews, business reviews, personal development discussions face-to-face, teleconferences, etc.

Travelling is also an intimate part of my job, so I have learnt to operate in a flexible environment, plan and adjust, while always keeping centred and having a clear long-term direction.

What is the best career advice you have received?

I remember two. The first one was when I was in my twenties.

At that time, I was working with a vice-president of marketing in the hotel management industry in the US, and she told me that to be successful in my career, I needed to have a good partner in my life.

A few years later I realised what she meant. My husband has been a fantastic support all those years. We have three children, and he gave me the flexibility to be available to grow.

The second one was when I joined the HR function. A headhunter once told me it was critical for HR leaders to be compatible with the business leaders they work with, as the two impact each others’ careers significantly.

A headhunter once told me it was critical for HR leaders to be compatible with the business leaders they work with, as the two impact each others’ careers significantly.

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

It will get more effective in being able to identify and grow talent. It will continue to outsource transactional activities, and will gain a better understanding of what has to be managed locally in markets and what has to be run at a global level.

With increasing complexity, I believe seniority and experience in HR will become much more important and valued.

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

I am a strong advocate of HR being a business function and would encourage HR to sit at the business table to intimately understand the needs of leaders and the company.

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