Leon Menezes’s 18 year work experience in Human Resources, Marketing & Sales, and Customer Services provides him with an imperative perspective in understanding and maximizing business opportunities. Leon joined Shell Pakistan Limited in early 2001 and since then he has been serving as General Manager Human Resources – Pakistan.
PK: Do you think HR will become a strategic partner of the business world?
LM: For this to happen, HR needs to change its image of itself (‘role perception’). As my friend Dave Ulrich says: “HR needs to talk the language of business.” In order to do this, HR needs to understand the end-to-end processes, how business’ make money and, hopefully, provide the necessary insights to make it happen.
PK: When meeting with potential employees, what is your favorite interview question?
LM: How have you prepared for this interview? This shows your level of interest in the job at hand, the company, it’s industry/history/competition, etc. There is no excuse for not being prepared.
PK: What is your take on the HR fraternity?
LM: I think the HR fraternity has a genuine desire to make a difference. However, it needs to make a quantum leap from being the ‘touchy-feely’ guys who are “outside the room” to real ‘business HR who are at the table’ and with a heart.
PK: Your advice to the following would be:
- HR Consultants: Take time to diagnose the issues and don’t go into your ‘bag of tricks’ in the first meeting. To get to the solution, you need to understand the problem (and root causes).
- Candidates (applying for an job): Do your homework and be honest. Don’t fool yourself and don’t try to fool others.
- Line Managers: How do you like to be treated? Take time for appraisal and feedback discussions that will develop your people.
- CEO’s: You are the Chief HR Officer of your company; you cannot outsource it to the HR department. HR is the custodian of the policies and processes but they must be owned by you and the Executive Committee.
- The Government: The elephant in the room is our ever-increasing population. With resources shrinking, we must do everything we can to get this under control. Then we may have money for education and health.
PK: With your upcoming retirement from Shell in 2 months, whats next?
LM: I’ve had a passion for teaching and want to indulge that. I don’t want to restrict myself to HR-related topics so let’s see how that goes. In addition, a bit of consulting and facilitating along with my other pursuits (writing, golf, music) should keep me fairly busy. I am on the board of a well-known charitable institution and would like to help there a bit more.
– Paul Keijzer