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Jason: The cavnessHR podcast is brought to you by SM Diversity. It's a full-service staffing and recruiting agency. SM Diversity provides end to end talent acquisition programs, permanent placement, contract to hire, hourly recruiting and a recruitment media team. SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion consultants to design develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations both large and small.
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I am your host Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Bernard Cruz. Bernard are you ready to be great today.
Jason: Bernard Cruz is a transformative Human Resource Director and Human Resource Partner who designs and executes strategic initiatives that accelerated the complex challenges of the global talent market. Touched organization operations culture change to leadership performance management and succession planning. Leveraging a collaborative leadership style international career depth and breadth of experience and an innate ability to root out existing and potential problems to creatively create enduring solutions that lie with business plans. Human capital needs in strategic directions. Building on a foundation of trust and connectedness among internal and external stakeholders and building bridges with cultural sensitivity across oil and gas energy manufacturing environments.
Jason: How do you approach HR in different industries or is the approach the same regardless of the industry you're working in?
Bernard: Well, basically I believe HR fundamentally is the same no matter which industry. Because the basics are the same. The only two things I always look for in a new organization is understanding and learning the business and the financials of the business. Because it's only when I know these two things, sit at the table and talk logically to the whole management team with issues and challenges that they make but are being a good point.
Jason: I think there are so many HR professionals out there who are great at HR. But they don't know the business or don't know financials and they have to learn everything to be a great actual professional I think.
Bernard: Yes it's true. That's why one of the fundamentals that I teach my team is not just being HR as an HR person. But you really need to understand the business. Because you got to be a business partner to the CEO and the rest of the business line managers. Because if you do not understand the business, it's very difficult to articulate what we can do or what we can contribute in terms of HR. So I think the future is really for HR folks out there to really understand the business much more than understanding HR.
Jason: So Bernard some people have great bosses and great leadership they understand HR and the importance of HR. But other HR people don't have that luxury. For those people what advice would you have for them?
Bernard: Yeah, I absolutely agree. Not every boss is an HR supporter. But I think we need to show the value that we can bring to the table. Because do not forget the CEO is also running the business. From the HR point of view, we have to bring value to them. Showing them what the value you can bring to the table and it's only through analytics showing numbers. All this kind of thing that's going to convince the CEO.
Bernard: That's another great point. So many HR people don't want to do numbers. I am like no. You have to know analytics, you have to know numbers. That's the language of business people. You have to know the numbers. So many people in HR are like that's not my job. Well yes, actually it is your job.
Bernard: Absolutely, and you can't run away from it at the end of the day. I mean we got to be able to go to that table with the CEO or the line managers and substantiate our rationale.
Jason: Bernard what values and characteristics do you think a great HR person needs to possess to be successful?
Bernard: I think flexibility is very important because sometimes we are very one-track mind and say this is what the rules say and that's the way to go. I think flexibility is important because we can have rules and policies in the organization. But we must be flexible enough at the end of the day. So that's very important. Number two is leadership examples. Leadership is very important for HR. Because we always set the policies and procedures and organization. We got to ensure that we carry that out ourselves at the end of the day.
Jason: Bernard for people trying to get into their first HR position. Whether a new college graduate or someone from another career field. What advice would you have for them?
Bernard: Well, basically I would say learn to love people. HR is basically learning to love people. Because trust me if you are in HR and you've got a hundred employees. You have a hundred different types of personalities. You have to learn to love people. I always say HR is dealing with the heart at the end of the day. You've got to have compassion. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person and feel how that person feel.
Jason: Something I never understood. You know the HR people who never walk around. I never understood how can you actually do your job if you are just staying in your office from 9 to 5. You have to get out and walk around and find out what your people are doing and what the problems are. So you know how to fix them.
Bernard: Absolutely I totally agree that HR is not sitting in the Eiffel Tower and dictating things down the line. I think it's basically getting down to the field and understanding. For me personally, I have done regional and global roles. But I don't believe in sitting in the Eiffel Tower. You learn a lot more than you were sitting at the office. So I believe that is a trend going forward and you're right.
Jason: Bernard, you have been in HR for a while. Can talk about some positive changes and also some negative changes you have seen through the years for HR.
Bernard: One area I would look at is in terms of succession planning. Because I always believe that when you get into an organization one of the things I look for is usually do we have enough leaders for the next generation. It takes some time for that. So what I usually do is in the first six months when I join an organization. I just walk the shop floor to read and understand employees. Because sometimes we miss out on some good talent. I enjoyed doing that because I do pick up a lot of good talents over the years and it's not just the second level. So for me spotting talent for the next generation throughout the organization is very critical and I enjoy that. So that's one of the main areas that I enjoy.
Jason: Bernard a lot of people are talking about AI and machine learning in recruiting. What do you think the future of HR is as far as that?
Bernard: About 10 years ago, I said this to a lot of folks. I said the future of HR is something that we all need to think about. If you look at recruitment, it can be outsourced. If you look at comp and benefits that can be outsourced. You look at training and development, that can be outsourced. So we have to ask ourselves what value are we going to bring for the HR in the future. I feel that the future is basically being a strategic business partner for the CEO and CFO. I always believe in this triangle thing, the CEO, the CFO and the HR dimension in every organization. So with artificial intelligence coming, it is a given. Whether we like it or not it's going to happen. So we just have to be ready for it.
Bernard: Bernard, in the past how have you gone about building great teams?
Bernard: Well, first of all, I look at the organization and I look at what we want to be in about three years five years down the line. That's where I will work with the CEO and the CFO and strategizing our next steps for the future. And if we need to really throw out some procedures policies or whatever it may that has not helped us to change. We need to start constantly thinking outside the box.
Jason: If someone is out there and they are saying, Bernard Cruz is the type of person I want to work for. How do they get your attention?
Bernard: Well, first of all, I always look at the passion in the interest of any individual. I get a lot of requests wanting to join organizations and all that. I always keep looking for talent. So when I see any individual and I see that potential in the person and the next thing I look for passion. You know the fire is burning, will it die down or will it burn forever? Those are the people that I will take under my wings and kind of groom them. Because if I look back in my career there's a lot of people who worked for me doing quite well now and I'm very happy for them.
Jason: Can you talk a little about mentorship. Both mentors and mentees, I believe it works both ways.
Bernard: Yes, it goes both ways. That's why whenever I join an organization the most important thing for me is the CEO that I work for. Because all of us no matter how experienced you are. You want to learn something and you learn something from your leader. The moment you don't think you are going to learn anything from your leader is when you need to move on. Likewise, anyone working below me must come into the organization knowing they will learn something from me.
Jason: Bernard, next talk about a time you were successful in the past what you learned from this success and what we can learn?
Bernard: I will not mention the company, but I will mention a time when I was doing a global role for an organization. When I went into the organization one of the greatest challenges I had. We had about 45 nationalities working for us and there was 45 different types of contracts. It was a major challenge. I told my CEO give me six months and I will clean this up. Of course, it took me more than six months to clean it up. At the end of the day I was being fair to the organization as well as to the employee concerned and it became very successful. In fact one of the commands my CEO gave me was I hope I don't have to negotiate my contract with you again. I took that in a positive sense. I take it as a compliment honestly.
Jason: Can you tell us about someone who has helped in the past and how they helped you?
I will go back to one of my Asia-Pacific roles that I had. My boss, he was a great person. He challenged me to the core. At that time yes I hated him for doing what he did. You know I have to thank him a lot. I still am good friends with him even though he is retired and I am no longer working for him. We are still good friends. We go back and talk about the times and the things he did. I say you know what I hated you at that time. But I thank you for helping me to become a better person and it's turned me a better leader.
Jason: It always seems like our hardest bosses end up being our best ones.
Jason: Bernard, can you tell us something about yourself that most people don't know about you. Your close family and friends know this. But most people don't know this about you.
Bernard: I get involved in a lot of charitable organizations. I am part of a non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate people with disabilities. That has been my passion for many years and I have been doing that for the last 30 years. I still enjoy that.
Jason: Bernard, I understand you have a book for our listeners.
Bernard: The one that I would really like to recommend and this is something to do with change is "Who Moved My Cheese". There is a book that I read probably about 15 years ago and it still sticks very strongly in my mind.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have the link to his book recommendation and Bernard's social media in our show notes. You can find the show notes at www.cavnessHRblog.com.
Jason: We are coming to the end of our talk can you provide our listeners any last minute advice on any subject you want to talk about.
Bernard: Well basically I would like to end up with this. A lot of people are saying you have been in HR for 30 years. Why are you still continuing? I still think I have a passion for people. I enjoy talking to people, I enjoy interacting with people. That's why I say you must have a passion when you are dealing with people. I would say pursue the passion that you have.
Jason: Thank you that is great advice. Bernard, thank you for your time today I really appreciate. I know you got to get up kind of early over there and I really appreciate your time today. Thank you very much.
Bernard: Thank you very much for the invite I really appreciate that.
Bernard: And to our listeners thank you for your time as well.