Local employment culture moves with the times

Newsroom 07/05/2013 | 09:43

Human resources is poised for a period of transformations, both inside the industry and outside. While adjusting to the impact of modifications made to the legislation in this field, specialists also need to keep pace with changes in the recruitment process brought about by social media channels. And they should pay attention to training and certification, argued experts at the Focus on Employment and HR event organized by BR.

By  Otilia Haraga

“I am frequently asked about how to ministry intends to modify the Labor Code. The nature of these modifications is to repair the existing problems and provide a protective framework for employees,” said Mariana Campeanu, minister of labor, family and social protection.

The minister told BR that employees are subjected to pressure and lack the means to defend themselves since no single stipulation in the Labor Code protects them.

“Not even a simple justification is needed anymore to make an employee redundant. I believe the Labor Code must be mutually advantageous both to the employer and the employee,” she added.

However, until the Labor Code is amended, the Ministry of Labor is trying to work out a form of contract that can cover specific types of activities. These contracts will apply to categories such as employees with a disability, athletes, artists, professional foster carers, advertising executives – in general workers whose activity cannot be covered with an eight-hour labor contract – in order to ensure such workers are protected. “The labor contract includes certain demands imposed by the Labor Code and cannot be applied to these categories,” the minister explained.

However, not all professionals agree that the employee entirely lacks protection. Isabela Popa, associate at Bulboaca & Asociatii, who spoke about the transfer of undertakings, said, “The protection of the employee is strongly regulated by the law and  the transfer of undertakings does not constitute a reason to fire employees.”

Even more, a company may not make its employees redundant with a view to making the transfer.

In the event of a transfer of undertakings, the employee is entitled to decline the transfer and has the option to demand the ending of the labor contract or to resign, Popa explained.

Employees also benefit from protection in the event of collective negotiations. In some cases, the employer is obliged to negotiate in order to avoid workplace tension. Cristina Bojica, senior lawyer at Gruia Dufaut Law Office, explained that under the law, negotiation is compulsory for employers who have more than 21 employees and optional for those with fewer workers.

Bosses also need to fulfill certain terms concerning the initiation of negotiations. They must begin negotiations at least 45 days before the collective work contract expires but may do so at any moment if there is no collective work contract. If the employer does not initiate negotiations, they may start at the written request of the designated trade union or employees’ representatives, within a maximum of 10 days of the demand being communicated. There is no express penalty if the employer does not initiate the negotiation within the term stipulated by law, but there is one if the employer refuses to negotiate, said Bojica.

The current economic context is exerting great pressure on teams and problems may appear, such as internal disputes as workers fight to keep their job and low morale caused by colleague departures, noted Madalina Balan, managing partner at HART Consulting.

Toxic behaviors can affect team productivity. Examples include arrogant, selfish conduct which, when multiplied, can have negative effects. If these behaviors appear in managers, the entire organization will suffer since it prevents them from building teams, forming alliances and obtaining support for their plans. These toxic behaviors occur most often in response to stress, tiredness and pressure, Balan pointed out.

HR should go back to school, say pundits

At the moment, only 15 percent of companies invest in training for their HR staff, said Silviu Martin, managing partner at Enovate.

Within the HR profession there is a need for professionalization, but certain criteria must be met to achieve this: a professional association capable of conducting scientific research in the field, a code of ethics, and a body of knowledge that practitioners should accumulate, outlined Roxana Toader, senior consultant at Ascendis.

Industry pundits need to acquire certifications which “prove to an employer that they have the necessary knowledge,” said Toader. Available certifications include Professional in Human Resources, Senior Professional in Human Resources and Global Professional in Human Resources.

To be certified as a Professional in Human Resources, there are three scenarios: candidates with a master’s or a higher degree must have worked for at least one year in the field.

Those with only a bachelor’s degree must have two years’ relevant work experience while non-graduates need to have notched up four years in HR.

To become a Senior Professional in Human Resources, candidates with master’s or a higher degree must have spent four years in the field. Bachelor’s degree holders need five years of experience, and non-graduates seven.

Certification as a Global Professional in HR requires candidates with a master’s or higher degree to have worked for two years as an HR specialists at global level, for those with a bachelor’s degree the stipulation is three years and for non-graduates four years, added Toader.

On the recruitment side, HR professionals must adjust to the changes brought about by social media, and even draw on social media tools when hiring, several of the pundits present at the BR event suggested.

“Why should we use social media in the recruitment process? First of all, because everybody uses it. Media search can help us in the pre-selection stage to reach the correct shortlist,” argued Ramon Grigorescu, Europe talent management at Carestream Health.

In Romania, six million people use Facebook, said Martin. He drew attention to the fact that a strong employer brand is vital because there is a crisis of talent in Romania right now.

By 2015, the Y generation will be the biggest demographic in the workforce. This means people currently aged between 15 and 30, who have grown up with technology. “When they don’t know something they are used to searching, and they want everything as fast as possible. Their attention span is between three and five seconds,” said Martin.

Currently, 80 percent of the 15-34 cohort have access to the internet. However, out of 80 large companies in Romania, just 20 have a website that is optimized for mobile phones, whereas data from BestJobs show that 3,000 candidates apply for jobs daily via a mobile application while 400,000 access the service every month from their smartphone.

On the training side, formal learning represents 10 percent of the learning that takes place in an organization, but 80 percent of a company’s resources go on this category. Another 20 percent of the learning takes place via feedback and observation and 70 percent via real experience. This indicates that employees might need a platform where they can look for solutions suggested by their colleagues, Martin pointed out.

The first step when deciding to go for a certain career would be to seek advice to see if it is a good fit. Mihaela Feodorof, managing partner at Yourway, says she has met many people whose current line of work is not their vocation. “Better a perfect hairdresser than a mediocre doctor,” she commented.

Another way would be for pupils and students to do internships at organizations. According to Feodorof, Romanian law permits the employment of pupils and students during the holidays. During the internship period, a company can hire the intern based on a limited-term contract by negotiating the remuneration.



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