Part-Time Remote HR Manager 3 days/week (Belgium)

Job description


We are looking for an open-minded, empathetic and innovative HR person to help the leadership team at Railnova to perform the HR function. The position is part-time and can be mostly performed while working from home, given the remote culture of Railnova. We have a very innovative approach to management, where we put the emphasis on people's self-sufficiency and on personal growth, and we love to make convoluted processes easy and digital for people.



Railnova was founded 10 years ago, and currently employs 36 people (mostly software and hardware developers). Our purpose as a business is to bring digital transformation to the Railway industry, to make rail - a green mode of transport - sustainable, efficient, and competitive compared to other carbon-heavy transport means. We have innovated for the past 10 years and we are only getting started. Our customers love using our software and hardware products as it brings them tremendous efficiency gains, and propagates them into the digital world. We have retained every single customer since inception back in 2010. To achieve that, our first motto is to be fully digital ourselves. You won't see a lot of paper, meetings, emails, or excel tracking sheets at Railnova. And this translates to the HR function too. Our HR policies and processes are documented and working.

To give you a quick summary of what we have done recently in the HR field at Railnova:

  • We just finished our round of yearly evaluations for 2020: we use an app called "Small Improvements" to manage this workflow digitally. A lot of preparation went into writing the annual reviews, with some video calls to coach the managers, and a lot of written exchanges. Then people debriefed inside each team, with their manager, either physically or on video call.
  • We conducted our first 360° survey, digitally, across the entire company of 36 people. People mentioned they wanted to get peer feedback to complement the manager reviews. We first did a 360° test with a smaller team to identify people's anxieties. We then simplified the questionnaire to the minimum and let people choose their reviewers. All was documented, and launched without big meetings or without lengthy video calls.
  • Working from home during COVID was a no-brainer as we already had a decent dose of home working for our developers, and our support and commercial teams. All our team communication happens in writing which means people can read it when they have time, and don't get interrupted during their focus time. We use Basecamp as our enterprise communication platform, and it works a million times better than everything else we have seen at our customers and suppliers.
  • We refreshed our culture manual on the internal HR wiki, but there is still a lot to do on that front, e.g. to onboard new joiners and to make people a little more self-sustainable every year.
  • We rolled out some HR contract amendments with Docusign's qualified electronic signature (EIDAS QES) - gone are the days of the HR person (currently the CEO and CFO) printing contracts in 2 copies for a whole day and going to each person physically to collect signatures. Some Linux developers had to install a MS-Windows virtual machine to sign, as Docusign doesn't work on linux yet for Belgium QES, but apart from that, it went great 😀. 
  • We formalised our recruitment process, with several steps, such as identifying the key strengths we are looking for, writing great job descriptions to convey the best information about the job before any interview and designing tailored application questions, exercises and interview questions. We are trying to make the recruitment process as predictable as possible, and managers have to put in a decent amount of effort when they want to recruit.
  • Mental health has also been a focus during lockdowns and the company shipped a few food-goodies to enjoy and eat at home. We also had our first 2-day team event back in April - entirely remotely - and it all went well. This gave us 6 hours of video to give to new joiners to watch on there first week. It brings them up to speed on the whole company quickly and remotely! 

What's next for Railnova HR ? 

2020 was focussed on training our managers and implementing various policies. Our 7 team managers are ramping up their leadership skills and everyone is really making progress to communicate better and to become self-sufficient.

In 2021, we want to get some help from a part-time HR person to help the leadership team focus more on sales and operations. We are looking forward to having an HR person that embodies the "digital empathy“ that is so dear to us, and to have someone that keeps driving this sense of work community, in an innovative and balanced way. In terms of recruitment, we are growing in a sustainable manner (we are going to recruit between 5 to 10 persons next year), so recruitment is only a part of the job. We see this position as remaining part time, and we are looking for a part-time person to be with us on the long term.

Key Responsibilities

1. Culture and Communication

The main objective of your role is to ensure consistency of culture and communication of the team. After gaining a thorough understanding of how we do things and where we are going, you will focus on:

  • recruiting: design and animate the recruiting process leveraging people’s individual network, help design recruiting exercises, interview questions, animate the recruiting pipeline, train and support managers for interviews. Help us recruit great people that are extremely technically capable and that will fit well in our autonomous, client-first way of working.
  • diverse team: help us build a diverse team. In the technology sector this is particularly difficult. We want a diverse team from all horizons, cultures, languages and genders as it makes us a richer and more creative team.
  • onboarding: help us design and animate the on-boarding of new employees (where managers stay in charge), follow up and make sure it’s happening. Help us shape an employee manual for new joiners and existing employees, to crystallize our way of doing things.
  • performance management: help us design and animate the performance review process, and make sure it’s done on time. At Railnova, managers are responsible for performance management and checking in regularly with their employees, but we need your support along the way to design and animate this process
  • communication and remote work: while remote work is already institutionalized at Railnova, we plan to recruit more employees abroad. It requires written, asynchronous communication also by teams sitting inside the same office. This needs to be build in everywhere.


2. HR Management 
Of course you'll also cover the more usual things of HR, in partnership with the Finance team, CEO and the team leaders who are currently executing the HR functions:

  • People development
  • Leave and Sicknesses management 
  • Burnout prevention
  • Work regulations and compliance, 
  • Prevention plan
  • Work accidents and Insurance
  • Preparing HR offers and HR contracts, getting HR contracts signed with Docusign EID Qualified signature 
  • Belgian and Foreign Payroll administration (1 FTE in Germany, administered from Belgium, and more foreign employees to come)
  • HR Tax rulings and reporting
  • Benefits in kind administration (Cars, DKV, etc...) and HR policies 



You have a passion for HR and recognise yourself in the following skills:

Digital skills: you can make first contact with someone digitally. You don't "need a physical meeting" and "you don't need to walk in the office“ to feel how things are going. While physical presence sometimes is really great, it won't be your first source of information and contact at Railnova. At this point, you may think we got it all wrong because nothing replaces face-to-face meetings. In that case, this position is probably not for you, and that's perfectly fine. We see digital contact and digital work community as the future, and for us, the future always starts now.

Interpersonal skills: you have a strong ability to sense work-related issues, anxieties, frustrations and you can convey change to people in this context.

Critical thinking: when you get a report from our external law firm on a complex HR topic, you can speed read it, and quickly identify the tradeoffs, and propose a decision in the company's context.

Laid-back and confident to experiment: you are laid-back, confident and an avid experimenter when it comes to tackling unknown issues, adopting new tools and processes.

How to Apply

Press the "Apply" button. You'll be asked for 2 write-up questions where you should demonstrate excellent English written communication skills, and that you are an astute HR person. We will review your written submission and let you know if you are invited to the next steps. The next steps are a) a case study which can be performed remotely, and then b) interviews.  

Part-time employee contract only (3 days a week) - no recruiters and no freelancers please

This position is for a part-time employee contract only, as we want someone for the long term. 

We are not looking for temporary help from freelancers, and we are not accepting candidacies from recruiters. 

If you are interested in working at Railnova HR, please apply in person, with a part-time employee contract in mind.