It’s about the people – a conversation with HR Director Hanna Cronström at Leca international

HR Director Hanna Cronström


Hanna Cronström has been HR Director at Leca International since the beginning of 2023 and has a long and solid background in HR and Saint-Gobain. We took the opportunity for a chat with her after a few months at LECA.

It must start from within 
Her career journey in HR and Saint-Gobain began in 2009 when Hanna started at the Nordic-Baltic headquarter immediately after completing her university degree. This was a broad role that included everything from coordinating reporting; ensuring that policies and processes were followed in the countries; to providing training for employees. Subsequently, she worked as a HR Manager at Saint-Gobain Sekurit Scandinavia, Glass solutions – Emmaboda Glas, Autover in Sweden and Norway, and most recently at ISOVER.

During her time at Sekurit and later ISOVER, there was a clear focus on employer branding.

— Employer branding always starts from within! You cannot go out and talk about values and culture, employee commitment, development of people and then when you arrive, it is something completely different. It was about first making sure that processes for development, training, and communication were in place and working. At ISOVER, one important goal was to improve internal communication and the people survey me@Saint-Gobain. This meant supporting, coaching, and training leaders and clarifying the expectations in the internal communication process.

— HR plays an important role in creating a positive and inclusive corporate culture. This is done in part by setting the process, and in part by helping and challenging the organization to create an open and engaging climate. To avoid one-way communication, an open dialogue needs to take place.  Such a forum can be the workshop linked to the people survey me@Saint-Gobain, where we can help managers and leaders to understand their role in creating an open and positive culture.

Hanna's WHY
The role as HR Director at LECA is both strategic and operational. Hanna emphasizes the importance of knowing your WHY, and for her this is clear - "The good feeling I get to see the success of others".

— I am very passionate about people and their development. If you focus on creating a culture where you give trust, empower, and collaborate then you build a workplace where employees are happy and enjoy being apart of. This will ultimately result in a company that delivers good results.

First impression of LECA 
— My first impression was incredibly welcoming, both from the management team and local LECA sites. It was clear that there was a great wish for a central HR. I found that there is a large portion of humor and having fun at work, especially within the management team. Which is important.

— LECA has people with long experience and incredibly high competence. I think it's impressive when we have people who are so passionate about their area. From Filtralite®, which I didn't even know existed before, to the production process and all that is possible solutions with Leca® LWA.

— In fact, it was another discovery for me. I had no idea that we were doing as much with Leca® LWA as we do. I must say that makes me very proud.  Supported by Saint-Gobains vision 'Making the world a better home', LECA contributes with sustainable construction through our products and solutions.

The challenges in an international role
— I am very much Saint-Gobain and have a lot of Saint-Gobain in my heart. I have previously worked closely with the Baltic and Nordic region and have always been part of an international team. But within LECA we also have, for example, Spain, Portugal and Poland. That is a new and interesting part of my role, which will help me develop even further.

— A challenge is to be visible. Unfortunately, I can't be everywhere. I have always strived to be as visible as possible, by actively engaging with the people in all parts of the organization, for instance, by working on the production line for a day. That relationship is very important to me personally, but it also creates a level of trust from the team towards me. It comes back to the open dialogue - if they know who Hanna is, it increases the chance of better cooperation.

What makes a good employer 
— To be a good employer, first of all, there must have a clear and open communication. In what is expected of the employee and that there are opportunities for development and training. Feedback and having a dialogue with your manager is also very important. If you talk about salary and benefits, these factors are actually quite far down the priority list for employees, instead, other things are more important. This includes a pleasant working environment, feedback culture, possibilities for development, an open-minded atmosphere and that there are opportunities for social engagements in and outside of work.

— But again, you must have your processes as an employer in place. And the employees need to be trained in our processes, such as annual appraisal, Me@Saint-Gobain etc. It's not something to just tick off, it should generate something tangible and meaningful.

— It is also important that you work to achieve good internal communication and that it is linked to our strategy. This means that ambassadors at a workplace play a crucial role. It is important that we talk about the opportunities with being part of Saint-Gobain and show the real stories. Sometimes you can't keep all employees in the local company, but we can at least keep them within the group. And the same thing works the other way around, Leca can retrieve employees with experience and competence from the group. Through this it is important that we think about what the long-term goal is and what competence are needed to achieve it.

Cooking, running, and winter baths 
Hanna lives in Helsingborg with her husband Fredrik, their two children Siri and Signe, the cat Åke, and the hamster Conny.

— I love cooking, it is relaxation for me. I also gain energy from the environment I live in. We live in an area called Råå, an old fishing village, which is incredibly picturesque with small cobblestone streets and hollyhocks with close proximity to the beach. I also like running and winter bathing. When it has been an intense day and I need to clear my head, I close the day by running or take a dip in the sea.

In their house, they have an apartment in the basement that they rent out.

— I think it's fun. It comes back to people again. We get to meet people from all over the world. When I retire, I would like to run a small hotel in a warmer place where I can still meet and engage with new people… and of course the experience of good food will be included.

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