Hanne Blume

CHRO at Ørsted

Hanne lives on a large farm in Jutland together with her family and Harry, a Jack Russel terrier. Quite the sports aficionado, Hanne loves both running and biking. With her son being on the Danish national cycling team, Hanne is also often found cheering on from the sideline.


From black to green at lightning speed

“We have gone from producing all our electricity using fossil fuel to almost exclusively using renewable energy sources. We are close to being completely out of CO2 emissions.” The Chief Human Resources Officer at Ørsted, Hanne Blume, has been at the heart of the organization’s massive transformational journey since the very beginning. During her 15 years in Ørsted, she has experienced first-hand how the company has changed focus from oil and natural gas to renewable energy. However, since making the decision to go green, the actual speed of events has come as quite a surprise to both Hanne and the rest of the Ørsted team.

“We have just worked much faster and things have developed much quicker than we had anticipated.”

“10 or 15 years back, we thought that we could be more or less green by 2040, but we have just worked much faster and things have developed much quicker than we had anticipated,” she says. When leaving 2018, Ørsted ran 71% on renewables. The goal is to reach 99% by 2025. The reason behind Ørsted’s acceleration towards a greener future is partly the pace of technological development – but equally much the huge motivation within the Ørsted organization. “A lot of people are attracted to Ørsted because of our vision. Apparently, it’s very appealing to people that we have the vision of creating a world that runs entirely on green energy,” says Hanne. “It’s something we need to do for the planet and for the future.” Ørsted’s transformational journey has not only been a change from black to green, but also from local to global. From being a company with a predominant focus on Denmark, Ørsted has over the past 5-6 years expanded greatly on a global scale and today, more than 25% of its employees are found outside of Denmark. The company of 6,000 employees is now present in 13 different countries.

Building a talent culture

As a consequence of Ørsted’s extensive strategic turnaround, the leadership team needed to take a step back to reflect and evaluate whether they had the right people and the right talent culture in place to accommodate the journey ahead. They concluded that in order to maintain its position as an international market leader within offshore wind and succeed with its ambitious business and growth objectives, Ørsted needed to embrace a position as a “green talent magnet”. “We see this as an important enabler to reach our business goals,” says Hanne. “If we don’t have the right people, we simply cannot realize our ambitions. People are a key differentiator when it comes to doing business out there.”

How, then, do you create the right talent culture where personal growth, professional development and meaningful work go hand in hand? Where do you start? To Hanne, one critical step is to institutionalize continuous development, making sure that people are met with the right encouragement and challenges to keep on learning. The leadership must create the right structures, including ongoing meetings to discuss talent development and mobility opportunities across the organization, and provide the right offers to enable this. The people within the organization, on the other hand, also have an obligation to take charge and become accountable for their own development and career. The key lies in changing the mindset both in the organization and among individual employees. “What I have learned when it comes to talent is that you always need to find the right windows for them; the right assignments or the right opportunities. If you don’t find it, they leave you,” says Hanne. “My role in this transformation is to make sure that all our employees have the right development opportunities and feel that they are also part of our transformation as a company. To make sure that they understand it and that they are motivated to transform the company.”

Culture eats strategy

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” Peter Drucker once said, and the Ørsted management shares the conviction that it’s pivotal to look at current ways of doing things if you want to make an impact. In Ørsted, people are actively encouraged to continuously reflect on and discuss culture – be it by their desks, in the canteen or in meetings. “This is where you start to build a culture,” says Hanne. “One of my biggest learnings as HR director has been that working with culture starts when you start talking about it,” she explains. “You cannot fully define a culture or the end goal, but I think you can help by setting a direction. This starts by us talking about it and then setting up different events, tools and processes that support this, making sure that we have all the basics right. It’s something we must keep being aware of because culture really is the most important aspect of change.”

Diverse leadership

Within Ørsted, there are numerous initiatives to attract, enable and release the potential of people. “Going from local to global means that people must adopt new ways of working. We need to think much more about having diverse teams,” says Hanne. “It’s not that we lack an inclusive culture,” she explains, “but we have simply seen that diverse teams perform better and will therefore make us a better and stronger company. We believe in making sure that everyone can release their full potential.”To Hanne, one particular focus area going forward is to increase the number of women in management. “We have worked a lot with unconscious bias in recruiting and we now make sure that when we search, we always see the best qualified women. We have an initiative called ‘Female spotlight initiative’ where we take some of the women who are on our candidate-to-watch list and give them an assessment with one of the big search companies and make sure that they get very tailored and strong development plans to ensure that we give them all the support we can.” In an industry where women are few and far apart, such an initiative might have been met with skepticism. But instead, says Hanne, she sees her colleagues in Ørsted offering help and mentorship on all levels, and a consistent backing at all layers of the organization.

Ørsted’s vision is to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs and operates off-shore wind farms, bioenergy plants and innovative waste-to-energy solutions and provides smart energy products to its customers.