An interview with Susan Henderson, GE Europe- Structuring for success: how GE's employment team advises across Europe

An interview with Susan Henderson, GE Europe- Structuring for success: how GE's employment team advises across Europe

Author: Laura Vosper, Head of In-house Portfolio, LexisNexis

In this interview, Susan Henderson of GE Europe shares how she has re-configured the way her pan-European team delivers employment advice, in less than 12 months.  She also offers some advice for other in-house lawyers considering tackling similar initiatives.

So Susan, please tell us about your role at GE.

I joined GE in 2009, after time with Lovells and then with Legal & General.  At the time I joined the business, our Labour and Employment teams sat within country business units.  At the start of this year, we decided to create one Centre of Excellence for Labour and Employment to serve the whole of Europe.  This means I now lead a team of eight and we collectively work with around 600 HR colleagues to look after employment matters covering 94,000 GE employees across Europe.

That must be a huge task; how did you approach organising your team?

I feel strongly that on any project of this scale, you need to have a very clear vision for what you are seeking to achieve."

At the start of this project, I spent a lot of time with my team mapping out what work we were doing, how much time it was taking and building a picture of what we thought we should be doing.  I summarised this work into an operating model for our team that set out our structure, objectives, scope and a clear governance model that set out in detail what work we should be involved in and what work HR should handle themselves.

How did you work out what you should do and what should be with HR?

We worked through every area of work we were involved in and broke it down into the main constituent parts.  For each of these, we then considered the level of risk to the business and decided whether that was something we needed to be involved in or whether this was something HR could handle

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