Melissa Fragiski, the HR Director of Vodafone Romania, tells Business Review about the company’s HR strategy in attracting and retaining its employees and the way the local labor market has changed.
By Anda Sebesi
How has the labor market changed in your industry over recent years?
The latest trends in the business arena have significantly influenced the labor market. Most organizations are going through a major digital transformation and the need for new roles, skills and capabilities has considerably increased. Highly specialized professionals, mainly in IT, analytics or data scientists are in high demand, which leads to a scarcity on the local market. Companies start exploring alternative options for sourcing highly specialized experts from other countries.
Another trend emerging from the need to accommodate the professional particularities of the new specialists introduces flexibility around working contracts. A shift from traditional employment relations to more flexible ways of working is already a reality. Start-ups, alumni networks, and freelancers have become options integrated alongside employees. Remote working even from different countries and the exchange of employees between organizations are some examples that indicate employers’ need to accommodate to the new labor reality.
What are the main benefits you offer to employees?
Apart from the benefits related to the well-being of our employees, we have created a fast-paced learning environment by investing considerably in development programs carried out in the country and abroad. Short-term assignments, leadership programs, talent exchanges are some examples indicating the focus our company puts on our employees’ career development.
Personalizing benefits for different segments of our team is a new trend in our company, which ensures flexibility towards the individual needs of our employees. Digital accelerator professionals, for example, put more emphasis on their personal development rather than monetary incentives. Participation in digital meetups, exposure to different organizations that are advanced in their digital journey, and flexible working hours are some examples of out-of -the-box benefits we provide to our employees.
In addition, we have started developing new non-monetary compensation models. Intrinsic motivation mechanisms, such as recognition, are adapted to new generations of employees. We start introducing specific reward mechanisms or `kudos’, which employees can give to peers, independently of their hierarchical relationship, to recognize contributions to joint projects. These rewards take the form of “points” or bonuses.
How do you keep talented employees with good professional perspectives in the company?
Exposure to international assignments from the very beginning of their career, job rotation opportunities to different positions within the company, participation in highly specialized trainings and access to a vast majority of courses in our Vodafone University platform are some examples of actions that address young talented employees. Expatriation assignments for more senior employees and exposure to challenging positions in different countries are other actions illustrating our determination and commitment to support our talents throughout their employment lifecycle within the company.
What employment plans do you have for 2019 – how many employees and in what areas?
We are moving toward transforming our organization into an agile one and this is a long process. Our focus will be on expanding our agile model, getting diverse technical functions and professional communities (marketing, IT, etc.) working together in a truly integrated manner, and joining forces as a strong team to launch new innovative products and services. We are looking to resource new project leaders or “product owners” and give them real decision-making authority, support their development, and redefine their rapport with peers and superiors. We will continue to implement our ambitious insourcing strategy with the focus on digital natives, data analysts, software developers, architects and product designers, etc.