in , ,

Exclusive Interview with Annemie Ress

Annemie Ress, one of Europe’s most prominent HR experts and former Global HR Director at eBay will be visiting Tbilisi on 31th May to give a full day workshop on the latest trends and developments in the Global HR industry.

Exclusively for she shares her views on the importance of HR in business and what delegates can expect at her upcoming workshop in Tbilisi.

ანემი რესიAnnemie, how did you start working in HR?

Quite by accident … I studied law …worked in local government, ended up in Labour Relations, working with trade unions and labour negotiations, then went back to law … but realised that actually, my heart was not in it … I moved to HR, because I felt I could have more personal impact and used my schooling in law as the foundations for my approach to HR – it is fundamentally about fairness and equity … which sometimes can be challenging to achieve.


How different was HR from when you started compared to today?

HR just moved from being known as Personnel to HR … it was very administrative and not a true strategic partner to the business. I believe though that getting the basic right is foundational in HR – which inevitably relates more to excellence in the spheres of Compensation and Benefits, HRIS and the like. Only then can HR have a seat at the table as a strategic business partner … the biggest lesson I learnt, is that unless leaders and employees feel you have the basics of their employment relationship in hand, they will not allow you a seat at the table. So whilst HR is now recognised in most organisations as more than Personnel, we should never forget the importance of getting the basics right.

What are the three most important things that you need to implement when you work in HR?

A strong partnership with your Internal Communications Partners – HR often lets itself down, because we do great work, but do not partner with Internal Comms.

Know your business inside out … inside (understand the strategic, structure, how things really get done, the people, use your products, if possible)…outside (understand the external competitive landscape, external talent agenda, latest thinking in HR, technology, macro-economics etc).

For 8 years you managed HR at eBay/PayPal in Europe and Skype. What was so unique about HR at this company?

eBay is a hugely values driven business and in every part of the business, this could be felt. We all shared a passion for what the business wanted to achieve, the people it touched and huge pride for the fact that it is a business that to this day changes peoples lives. This pride existed whether you were in a business function or in HR. Furthermore leaders in eBay see HR as critical partner and what I really valued was how you always had a seat at the table.

How did you manage to secure high engagement levels in the business?

Do not communicate one-way with your organisation. listen, both to what people are saying and not saying.

Manage expectations and be fair

Have fun and experiment with new approaches

Do not underestimate the value of internal communication – HR should be excellent at this… so:

Tell them what you are going to tell them,

Tell them again

And tell themwhat you have told them

Be prepared to fail and learn from your failure

Do not roll-out one size fits all initiative

Be aware that engagement takes time and needs to be done with authenticity

What are the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to HR?

Not to understand the value HR can bring to the business as strategic thought partners and to bring HR into discussions at the end of the process from the outset.

How can we convince senior management to get more involved in HR?

I think we should simply do this by being great at what we do, getting the basics right, then illustrating our fundament knowledge of the internal and external landscape the business works in … being excellent coaches to our leaders, having anindependent opinion, which might not always be that easy to do, but we owe it to our leaders … then articulate the challenges we see. Always anchor your HR work in how it will deliver business outcomes … and don’t be afraid to measure measure  measure, the impact of your work.

I am a great believer in not asking to be involved … but proving that the business cannot deliver optimally, without HR’s presence at the table.


To register for Annemie’s masterclass please visit or send an email to [email protected]. Please note that the price for this exclusive workshop is EUR 309 if you register before 13th May 2013!

რა უნდა ვიცოდეთ პრეზენტაციის ეფექტურად მომზადების პროცესში?

7 მარტივი წესი მსმენელის წინაშე საინტერესოდ გამოსვლისთვის