Acting Like the Future Has Not Been Cancelled

The Huffington Post | Apr 13, 2010

I am writing from Stavanger, Norway, where colleagues and I are leading an HR business partnership workshop for Statoil, the Norwegian-based integrated energy company. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Statoil, this Fortune 50 oil and gas giant has a $78 billion market cap, 29,000 employees and operations in 40 countries.

More importantly for this blog, Statoil is a new member of that small group of companies that are turning the concept of HR business partnership into a reality.

We have worked with Statoil HR for the past three years, and watched and supported the HR journey as they went from good to excellent. Jens Jenssen, senior vice president of HR, and his team have done an outstanding job of reshaping HR from administrative and transactional to a strong business partner that is a powerhouse of strategic business support.

If Statoil is not on your company’s list of HR organizations to learn more about, your list is incomplete.

Here’s my observation of what Jenssen and his team have done to build HR at Statoil (full disclosure: I have not vetted this list with Jenssen).

1. Engage top management. Jenssen is a great example of business partner, specifically to CEO Helge Lund. In fact, the title of this post is taken from a speech given by Lund to the HR community. His opening remarks, in March 2009, in the midst of the great recession: “I am here to tell you that the future has not been canceled. In difficult economic times we need HR more than ever.”