What does working in HR (really) mean?

by Erica Boiano

Ilaria covers the role of International People Coordinator & Senior HR Manager at Urban Sports Club. A long job title that describes a complex and varied role, linked to one of the richest and most dynamic resources of the company: people

Ilaria leads a team that makes sure the well-being of her colleagues at Urban Sports Club is maintained and thoroughly nurtured. We asked her what working in HR means- and how she herself benefits from a healthy and transparent corporate culture.

A company is made up of various departments focused on specific areas of the business, all of which are centered on creating a prosperous and sustainable business. Your work is based on people. How did you choose this path? 

As a first assumption, I like to start from the fact that without people there is no business, as an intangible capital of any organisation. This includes the set of qualifications, specialisations and skills that create profit and make the company grow. I strongly believe that every single person first, and employee second, with their rich individuality, can make a difference within a company if and only if there is a concrete investment in the human capital. 

This is why I decided to embark on a 360° Human Resources Management journey with the aim of making the business prosper through the richest asset we possess: people and their diversity.

As International People Coordinator & Senior HR Manager, what do you like most about your job? 

Every day is different, you learn to multitask, develop problem solving skills, organise events, learn labour law and psychology skills, resolve conflicts with the aim of giving the employee a rounded and solid support, while trying to make the organisation run profitably.

In my role in particular, I love being surrounded by colleagues from different countries and cultures who help me generate value by bringing different insights and points of view with the aim of making every colleague, wherever they may be located, feel part of the same big Urban Sports Club family.

In recent years there has been a conceptual shift between ‘human resources’ and ‘human capital’. How is the ‘human’ wealth of a company expressed? 

Human wealth is the intangible asset on which winning companies are built. Without investment in human capital, sustainable success is impossible. It is no coincidence that human capital has been compared to an investment in an asset that produces a certain return.

Creativity, intelligence, tenacity, balance, personal experience, skills, respect for the work of others, motivation, flexibility, this is what to look for when searching for human wealth within an organisation. At Urban Sports Club, investment in human capital has been massive from the outset.

A couple of examples: back in the day, when smart working was still a mere illusion before the outbreak of the pandemic, Urban Sports Club applied a monthly hybrid policy of 10 days of remote work. Also the foundation of the Urban Rainbow Club to sponsor LGBTQI* initiatives so that all employees feel free to express themselves at their best in the workplace, has proved to be an outstanding success. 

Especially in the wake of the pandemic, the idea that happiness is a friend of productivity is becoming increasingly widespread. In what way?

The saying that ‘a happy employee performs better’ is well known. And that is indeed the case. Studies show that a happy employee produces 12% more than an unhappy one in the workplace. There are many elements that contribute to happiness at work and I myself can consider myself both an ambassador of these points and a beneficiary! I feel these are: 

  • BENEFITS who must concretely help an employee in their daily life;
  • MANAGERS who must be leaders and not bosses;
  • FEEDBACK CULTURE which should help employees to improve day by day;
  • A COLLABORATIVE WORK SPACE that gives employees the opportunity to relax and feel trusted;
  • A COMPANY CULTURE that makes employees feel at ease;
  • A SMART WORKING CULTURE in which the location can be chosen by the employee himself;
  • WORKING TIME that is not linked to clocking in and out, but to the task.
  • TRUST IN THE EMPLOYEE as a person with his or her own weaknesses but also potential.

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