A group of 16 experienced HR and organisational change professionals were the first to participate in the newest short programme from the Executive Education department at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in November. The three-day programme Beyond HR: People, Culture and Transformation asks participants to expand their understanding and thinking about organisational culture and change, and the function of HR. The programme will run again on 26 March 2024.

Course teacher Dr Bex Hewett said: “There’s a lot of enthusiasm to think differently about HR. This group of people were curious and open to change, and excited about doing things differently.”

Participants came from a broad range of organisations: the public sector, for-profit, not-for-profit, large and small, well-established and new organisations and businesses.

Linking change to HR

Cees Colijn is Head of People and Culture at real estate finance company RNHB. He said: “This group of 16 people is the perfect size; we are all experienced in HR, and we’re hearing everyone’s experiences in their organisations. My thinking is getting a reality check.

“You can see beyond the day-to-day matters of HR in different perspectives. The basics of HR is still there, but the teachers indeed go beyond HR because there’s so much more. It’s about transformation, change, uncertainty in the organisation, and even AI which also influences the HR role these days. That broader perspective is a big added value for me.”

Beware of HR fashions

Dr Hewett described how the participants were led through the programme. “On Day 1, Dr Jochem Kroezen talked about the influence of management fashions and how to see beyond them. I’ve heard from participants that that really resonated with them – for me that means it was a great success because we wanted to challenge people to talk and think differently about culture and change.  

“On Day 2, Dr Rouvin Kanitz talked about change. We heard from one participant just how complicated that can be. Unfortunately there is no one way or tool; you have to start at the beginning by really understanding the drivers for change – and look below the surface. People have said that what they thought of as their organisation’s culture is really just ‘surface level’ and they need to look below that. The programme is expanding their understanding of organisational culture, change and the function of HR. There’s a lot of enthusiasm to think differently.”

HR creating value

Day 3 was led by Dr Hewett, and explored how HR can create value. “I think everyone in the room appreciates that HR is important – one said that HR is even more important than they thought it was. This was a room of people experts who want to know how they can do more. They want to be at the real centre of the organisation. The conversation over lunch was about what the HR profession is now and how it should look differently.”

For more information about the programme and how to register for the next one in March 2024, see the webpage: Beyond HR: People, Culture and Organisation.

To find out more about RSM research and thinking about HR, look out for Issue 42 of RSM Discovery magazine, a special HR issue exploring people and culture, where human connection, ethics, digital innovation, and adaptability converge. It is due to be published in January 2024.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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