23 September 2010

My work at Yara

I am working in Yara for almost 2 months, I can’t pretend I know a lot about the organization, by I can pretend I know enough about my job to actually speak about it. And since Yara doesn’t have a social media policy, here I am, using all the good sense I have today from the top of my 28-years-old-International-Brazilian-self. Let’s start with the beginning:

Yara International ASA is the world’s leading chemical company that converts energy, natural minerals and nitrogen from the air into essential products for farmers (this means fertilizers and crop nutrition stuff) and industrial customers (all sorts of chemicals to be used in other industries). Yara is a Norwegian company that has a global presence and is physically in 50 countries. It started in 1905 as Norsk Hydro, then it got demerged from Norsk Hydro only in 2004. So we are old, but we are also young. Near my desk there is a book saying “Yara. 100 years young.”

I am working at the Human Resources department, more specifically at the Talent Management and Sourcing department, which was created in January this year. Since Yara grow mostly by acquisition, we don’t have global standardized HR processes - that's where the Talent Management and Sourcing department comes in. Our mission is basically to ensure all the company uses top of the class HR processes. So this gives us a lot of room for creativity, interaction with other units and businesses, research of good case practices, buy-in and lobbying, etc. It’s definitely challenging to accomplish our job (especially when you think that the central Talent Management and Sourcing team is only 4 people including me).

I am very happy with this, since one of my biggest fears when I was leaving AIESEC was a job that was not meaningful (as an organization) and challenging (as in my job). Yara gave me both.
But what do I do? Very different things. I was hired to take care of the communication necessary to implement the HR processes globally that we in Talent Management and Sourcing create (with the help of loads of other stakeholders in the business, of course). But I am an AIESEC alumni and I don’t settle until I am going crazy with challenges, so I am now responsible for the whole Talent Management and Sourcing implementation planning (not only the communication part), responsible for designing and delivering the Employment Value Proposition design process, and I am involved here and there in the Competency Framework creation, High Potentials Program, Workforce Diversity, Talent Management Framework, Global Sourcing and Recruitment Process and Innovation Process. It’s really exciting to be part of such a huge change management process, since that’s what I really like the most: change and improve stuff.

Of course not all are roses and good weather (which challenging job is?) and the freedom to do whatever you want that I got used in the last 5 years (both in my company and in AIESEC, specially as head of AIESEC Norway) is really not present. And I understand it is mostly necessary! The company didn’t survive and thrive for over 100 years by allowing people like me (28 years old, 2 months in the company) do whatever they believe is right without supervision. Especially when you are talking about a chemical company, that needs to ensure safety and so on. But that doesn’t stop me from trying :) I am also a bit frustrated with the pace of changes, that sometimes seems a bit slow (when you need to get buy-in of so many stakeholders), but I also believe it’s the right thing to do, since without buy-in, nothing gets done – and when you are leading an organization with 50 people (as last year after the major downsizing we made in AIESEC Norway) and one with 8000, things will always move slower.

One thing that I am very happy with Yara (especially in contrast with AIESEC) is the resources we can use. Example: we can invest in the work (and also salary wise). How many AIESECers have access to top talent management research and good case practices? Consultancy? People who work with HR for 30 years sitting just in front of you? That are definitely hard/impossible to find in AIESEC.

Though one thing I wonder every day: where this path will lead me? I am a bit uncertain about the future. Growing up and all :) But let’s take the first months like this and then on the goal setting and performance management process in December/January I can talk about these things and start outlining my path.


  1. "But I am an AIESEC alumni and I don’t settle until I am going crazy with challenges"...I like this sentence:)


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