Alumni of the month: Gro Hatleskog
Gro wrote her Master Thesis in Administration and Organization on “Implementation theory and changes in organizations” and this has been one of the building stones of a 30-year career in HR. With Christmas approaching, Gro explains to international students at UiB her interpretation of the meaning of Norwegian's most emblematic word: koselig.
I have worked within Human Resources for over 30 years, first as Human Resources Director at Tryg, then at Nera Telecommunications, Sparebanken Vest and now in Beerenberg where I am responsible for Human Resources, Supply Chain, IT and Compliance. As a student at UiB, I wrote my master thesis on “Implementation theory and changes in organizations” and I have used the the knwoledge and learnings from it throughout all my career, says Gro Hatleskog.
It’s much easier for me to understand and handle changes in organizations with the knowledge I gained from my studies at UiB, I didn’t understand the relevance of my master thesis at first, but through my career I have found it very helpful.
- In Companies such as Beerenberg in the Oil and Gas sector, change happens very sudden and often, hence as HR Director I have been leading organizations through restructuring and downsizings periods. Usually I follow a general and predictable step-by-step structure. Of course, the main challenge is always in managing people, but it is also very important to have a transparent process as well as following the Norwegian Environmental Act and tariff regulations.
- What is a good leader for you?
- I am certainly not a micro-manager neither as a person and especially having so many areas of responsibilities. In my opinion, a good leader is a person that is predictable and gives freedom to the people reporting to him/her within certain frames. Humor is always an asset.
- In my job I have to rely on the people reporting to me and their knowledge and experience. Very often, I find myself having to gain understanding and not at least to listen carefully in order to be able to ask relevant questions.
As a leader, I try to ask questions rather than giving answers, says Gro Hatleskog.
- The oil and gas sector in Norway has been changing dramatically given the public pressure and the rising of new technologies. How does Beerenberg live this change?
- Beerenberg has been through vast changes during the recent years due to the crises that hit the Oil and Gas sector in 2014. We managed to come through the crises relatively well due to high project activity in the initial phase combined with a strict cost focus and good cooperation with the unions on the extensive changes and layoffs the company had to carry out. Looking ahead, strengthening our technology focus and adopting new technologies in order to increase productivity is a priority, as well as exploring new business areas.
- What should students do to prepare themselves to a future that is so uncertain?
- In the current world lifelong learning is far more than a buzz word. We constantly have to learn and develop in order to handle the challenges we are up to and are going to face in the future. We all need to be open minded to change and add new skills and knowledge to our tool-box in order to succeed, but I am the first to admit that it is not always as simple as it sounds .
- University studies provides a good foundation for new generations to understand the importance of being capable of continuous learning.
- At UiB we have several foreigner students, how would you describe to them one of Norwegian’s most iconic words that can hardly be translated: Koselig.
- Being at home with an open fire, just being there with a glass of wine, good music and the company of my family, or just being with your friends. Koselig describes warmth, appreciation, being in good company and enjoying the moment. But Koselig is usually not associated with work, mostly it relates to a moment in in the private life.
- Could you recommend a book that have been significant for you and you would recommend to those reading your interview?
- It is difficult to choose only one book. Reading is an important part of my life, and I am a dedicated reader. If I had to choose only one novel today, this would be “Olive Kitteridge” by Elisabeth Strout. This book was awarded with the Pulizer Price in 2009. One of my all-time favorites.