A lot is happening in HR. Digitalisation, AI, and more focus on a strategic and business-oriented function are just some examples. We have talked to Maureen Mbia, Human Resources Director of Valtus. Maureen has been with Valtus since 2020, and has a background from, i.a., Deutsche Bank and management consulting companies.

Can you name some of the challenges that you encounter in your role?

“Coping with challenges on a daily basis is part of the HR role, and there is no proper or perfect answer to what the most challenging parts of my job are. Though, to name a few, I would say:

– Attracting and acquiring the most suitable talents in an extremely competitive and demanding market

– Engaging the workforce in the long term, while contributing to preserve a strong company culture and brand.

Also, the role requires a large part of versatility because as an HR Director for a mid-sized company, you need to juggle between operations, projects, and many other topics throughout the day, keep the door open whenever an employee or manager needs HR support, and also be able to take a step back, when needed, to make the right decisions. The role is challenging, yet extremely rewarding, especially since it’s a matter of taking care of our human capital, Maureen explains.

How has HR developed in recent years?

In recent years, the HR function has become a much more strategic role, expected to take part in and accompany company transformations. Maureen is part of the Executive Committee, which shows the importance that Valtus puts in HR.

“HR has shifted from what was traditionally seen as an administrative function, to a much wider role covering the full spectrum of employees’ lifecycle within a company (talent acquisition, onboarding, offboarding, career path management, etc.) among many other subjects such as employer branding, quality of life at work, health & and security risk prevention, and CSR. Another change that is noticeable is the automation of HR processes introduced in recent years thanks to HR information systems (HRIS), which have brought structure, efficiency, and a greater performance, enabling HR people to focus on more added-value topics.

At Valtus, we started a one-year project last summer to implement different modules of an HRIS called Eurecia. These modules automate annual reviews, some parts of HR administration, and learning/development processes. Implementing Eurecia, as well as training, supporting and sharing some technical HR knowledge with users throughout the project, has been quite intense, but in the end, the system gives the HR team a massive help in terms of efficiency and productivity. It also gives employees ownership of their HR records as they can easily access and update them when needed, without asking for HR’s support. As a summary, HR has become a strategic, modern, and much more valued function, able to support companies’ strong ambitions.”

How do you think that AI will affect HR and recruiting?

“The aim of AI and Big Data is not only to make it easier for companies to find the right talent, but also to improve and automate certain stages of the recruitment process, and therefore simplify and accelerate recruiters’ work.

However, using AI and Chat GPT for instance, has raised an important question: Is there any danger in terms of dehumanizing candidates’ experience, as chatbots are also sometimes programmed to assess candidates’ soft skills?”

Maureen continues to explain that “companies using AI must remember that recruiters’ expertise to assess soft and leadership skills is essential, as well as culture and value fit. Despite the time saved thanks to this technology, companies need to adapt their hiring process, and remember that the human touch remains essential when it comes to recruiting and taking care of candidates’ experience.”

What HR actions are the most important ones at the moment for Valtus?

  • Help building and formalizing our CSR policy
  • Finalize the implementation of our HRIS
  • Set up training programmes for employees and give them the opportunity to grow
  • And of course, hiring new colleagues.

Diversity is a key to success

“I have been a passionate and enthusiastic HR professional for over 12 years now, having worked across different countries – the UK, Hong Kong/Singapore, and France, mostly for management consulting firms. I love my job, as it gives me the opportunity to learn new things every day, and constantly grow not only as a professional but also a human.

Maureen continues “I am native from Congo DRC and lived in Portugal as a child. We then moved to France as I was a teenager. Living and working in different countries has given me an open mind and the love of thriving in multicultural and diverse environments. It also made me realize how diversity is a huge asset for a company’s success.

I am extremely happy and keen to leverage my experiences and this background at Valtus today!”

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