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Martine Leseigne - Willingness and action as allies

Friday 10 July 2020

Martine Leseigne has been HR Business Partner since 15 June, a position that did not exist until now within Caritas Luxembourg and which is above all intended to federate.  For Martine Leseigne, the human dimension is at the centre of this key function.

Who are you?

My name is Martine Leseigne, I am 63 years old and I am originally from Brussels where I have spent more than half of my career, always in human resources, mostly in a headhunting firm, but also in the HR department of a European office. I arrived in Luxembourg in 1998 where I joined an insurance company, first as a management assistant, then with the task of creating within the insurance company the function of human resources director, a function that did not exist until then in the company which at the time only had around fifty employees. However, the company was growing, and 15 years later, when it was bought out by a large group, it already employed 200 people. In the new group, I quickly turned to CSR projects to help associations wishing to give my work a more social orientation. Since 15 June, I have been HR Business Partner at Caritas Luxembourg. With this new challenge, I am fulfilling a long term wish, that of linking social issues with my experience of more than 40 years in human resources.

What will be your mission within Caritas Luxembourg?

The function of HR Business Partner does not currently exist within Caritas Luxembourg, as it is partly assumed by the management itself, alongside all its other missions. My objective for the next 18 months is to set up this function, which is intended to be the interface between governance, management and staff. With the growing number of staff members within Caritas Luxembourg and the increasing complexity of activities, this function has become necessary. I also think it is important to clearly separate the role of human resources management from that of "general" management. The human resources department must be placed between the "general" management and the staff and listen to both the "general" management and the staff, without being on one side or the other. Basically, my task will be to launch the function, to identify where it will be most useful and to put it at the service of everyone. I hope to succeed in making the HR Business Partner function a real vector of change for improvement for everyone.

What do you need to succeed in your mission?

The success of my mission depends on the trust that employees, management and governance will be willing to place in me, but also on their ability to accept the idea of change. I am very confident. The staff of Caritas Luxembourg has shown me so far that they always give their best. I am sure they will follow me in this new challenge.

What assets do you bring to this position?

I bring more than 40 years of experience in the HR field and therefore a certain hindsight to fully understand the organisation and the problems. At the same time, I no longer have any career ambitions. My only motivation and desire is to pass on my knowledge and know-how and to be a point of support to go further and, through this, to allow others to flourish in their work. I strongly believe in the value of transmission and in the role of encouragement of "alumni".

I also believe that I have good interpersonal skills. That must be my "maternal" side (laughs). It's important to create a climate in which people feel confident. People are at the very heart of the HR Business Partner function. It must federate instead of constraining, explain instead of imposing.

Finally, I also think that I bring a good deal of stubbornness, a willingness to go all the way. Failure has never been an alternative for me. I am of the opinion that either you succeed or you learn. But either way you always win by wanting to go forward.

Concretely what are you going to do in the next three months?

Survive... (laughs)

It won't be easy. I know there are high expectations on both sides for this function, and I know that the timeframe is very short. It will be important in the next three months to stabilize what exists and works very well, to see what needs to be improved and to bring all stakeholders together. My objective is that everyone feels comfortable in his or her position and can be as efficient as possible, to the great benefit of the people in need that we are supporting. Thus, a mapping of the competences and responsibilities that exist within Caritas Luxembourg - and there are many of them - will have to be carried out to see how best to mobilise them in the long term. Particular attention will also have to be paid to the recruitment process, which is the guarantor at all levels of respect for the values cherished by Caritas. Finally, valves must be put in place for all staff to relieve the pressure and tensions that can arise when working in such a difficult environment as social work.

So there is no shortage of work and I am very happy to be taking up this challenge. Willingness and action are my best allies.


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