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European HRD Circleprovides solutions to meet today's business challenges

European HRD Circleprovides solutions to meet today's business challenges

At last month’s inaugural European HR Forum in Florence, the 50 members of the European HRD Circle met with representatives of the European Commission, European trade unions, economists, young lawyers and other HR professionals to discuss current issues such as youth employment and the anticipation of corporate restructuring. A manifesto for a more social Europe and more humane business was adapted.

In the coming months the members, representing 10 countries, will focus their work on the European social model and its ability to find solutions to the crisis. 

Widening the scope of the HR sector’s social responsibility
One of the prevailing themes of the Manifesto is corporate social responsibility and the European social model. The members believe that in the future HR will rely on stronger commitment to social responsibility (CSR) from European HRDs. 

So far, the European HR community has not been an active voice in the debate on CSR, even though HRDs already work on implementing CSR policy. "In a business, about 60% of actions covered by CSR are assigned by the HRD,” says Yves Barou, former HRD at Thales and co-chair of the Circle. “However, their actions are directed only at the employees of the company."

The aim of the European HRD Circle is therefore to give a new dimension to the concept of CSR. By conducting social actions, HR departments must move beyond the boundaries of the company and its employees to also focus on the local job pool and its suppliers.

Giving a voice to HR through close links with the Commission
In each European country, the social norms applied in business are the result of national or sectoral agreements, which means that the European social dialogue is at present a collection of different voices in each country.

Over the past ten years, European-level transnational company agreements have been developed to promote the advancement of a common social dialogue. So far two hundred agreements have been signed by many European companies. The Circle spoke in favor of a flexible and optional legal framework to support the development of such agreements. Many issues can be addressed, except those concerning working hours and wages, which are still influenced by national issues.

The Circle therefore wishes to be a voice for HR issues according to the European Commission’s agenda.

The next step
The Circle’s working agenda for the current year will include the organization of many group meetings, by country and around the topic of the European social model while taking into consideration national specificities. Among the themes to be explored by the Circle at these meetings is: youth employment, in particular apprenticeships the consequences of demographic change and the management of seniors mobility in Europe, restructuring and anticipation.

The working methodology will be based on several steps: integrate good national practices consider how the European social model is a laboratory for the world reflect on how the European social model can provide appropriate responses to the economic and social crises.

The members’ thoughts over the coming year will be transformed into a concrete action plan for the Circle’s next meeting, scheduled to take place in Lisbon late May 2012. "Indeed, after our first meeting, we need time to mature to compare good practices and make recommendations. In Europe, there are different cultures that must be respected but which can learn from one another," said Yves Barou.


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