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Reflections on the Rising Conflicts in the Workplace by Melanie Berman

In an interview with The HR Digest, Melanie Berman, CHRO of NiSource reflects on the rising conflicts in the workplace and how NiSource manages to escape those challenges, continuing to attract, retain, and sustain employees. NiSource plans and works on better-informed decisions throughout to expand its footprint inviting more diverse and inclusive thinking into the company.

NiSource Melanie Berman

The HR Digest: Is there any ‘rule of life’ you follow to keep things running around you?  

Melanie: As a working mom, with a busy job and life outside of work, managing my time is critically important.  I try to be somewhat judicious with my time and ensure I prioritize things appropriately (kids, work and exercise) to ensure balance and that I can be as present as possible within each realm of my life.  

The HR Digest:  Do you think we are a long way to manage conflicts taking place at work? How do you handle conflicts in a workplace?  

Melanie: Conflict at work has taken on a different meaning since Covid-19. The pandemic has created a more virtual work environment.  Our employees bring more of themselves to work, as many have had to adjust to work life, compounded with taking care of children or parents in an isolated work place. Of course, we still have many of our employees that are in the field and are servicing our customers.  So, given where we are, our focus on employee health and wellness takes center stage.  We are sensitive to our employees and have provided leaders with the tools they need to provide job related feedback, while also supporting the needs employees might have at home.  

The HR Digest: What do you like the most about being a CHRO?

Melanie: I can’t believe I have been a learner within the HR space for 30 years.  I’m in my fourth CHRO role, and am so excited to have joined NiSource 6 months ago.  

We are committed to creating an enviable employee experience. To do this I must know our business, industry trends and our company culture to ensure we develop a talent roadmap that is designed to anticipate the needs of the business over the next 10 years.  

Given the backdrop of the Great Resignation, I continually work with our executive team and our Board, to ensure we have a compelling value proposition to not only attract, but to retain our talent.

The HR Digest: What is the most challenging part of being the Human Resources Officer according to you?

Melanie: The most challenging element of the CHRO role is to ensure that your personal values, align with the Board, CEO and executive team.  I have worked in environments where I felt I was pushing a boulder uphill to attempt to do the right thing in the organizationthat becomes an unsustainable situation, and the older I get the more unacceptable.  

The HR Digest: How do you think technology is playing a part in leading the HR industry into a better professional world?

Melanie: We went live with Workday at the start of 2022.  We know having the HCM platform allows us to not only drive to a manager/employee self-service environment, but also to better incorporate talent insights into our thinking and strategic planning.  For instance, having a detailed view of our current workforce through a DE&I lens, allows us to make better-informed decisions on how we expand our footprint to invite more diverse and inclusive thinking into our company.  

The HR Digest: What’s next on NiSource’s goals list?

Melanie: I was delighted to present our three year talent roadmap to the Board in October.  We are in the midst of our HR Transformation and changing our service delivery model (along with the WD technology).  This refreshed function, allows us to facilitate and shepherd our business in all things talent with a confidence we can face the headwinds being shaped in the current marketplace.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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