HR practices report slow on the uptake

I saw your coverage of the Deloitte report on HR practices in central Europe mirroring the west (, 23 August).

Having worked as an HR manager for a US company that started up operations in Kazakhstan nine years ago, I am surprised this kind of report has only just come out in relation to Eastern Europe – a region which has enjoyed much closer relations with the West and heavier investment for years from Western companies.

My role in Kazakhstan was to promote HR to being a part of the senior management team (equivalent to the board in Western countries), and to implement best practice in a forward-looking manner, anticipating that, just as the UK follows the US, Kazakhstan would eventually follow the west in terms of HR practice.

Networking with other HR professionals from a variety of businesses meant we all shared experiences and solutions. Global consultancy Watson Wyatt was out there shortly afterwards, carrying out the first compensation survey for the region, while software firm Scala was developing finance and HR systems to allow for language, currency, tax and legal differences.

And I introduced performance-related pay, cross-functional training and development plans, all of which resulted in less than 1% turnover in the first two years of operations.

Knowing what I and others were doing in Kazakhstan nine years ago, and having some idea of how ‘advanced’ developments were in comparison in Eastern Europe even then, I don’t see why it has taken so long for someone to come up with this kind of ‘evidence’.

Julie Hiersche
HR operations manager
ESAB Holdings

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