The last panel of Business Review’s recent Working Romania HR Conference, entitled Employer Branding. Get Inspired by the Best highlighted the elements by which employers try to retain their employees. As they invest in automation in the recruiting process, companies are looking for new elements to ensure a positive work environment for employees.
Madalina Racovitan, Tax Partner, Head of People Services, KPMG Romania, the moderator of the panel, showed from the very beginning that the work of HR departments is becoming increasingly complex, with many challenges in 2022 arising after the end of the pandemic.
“As far as employees are concerned, we noticed that, after the pandemic, more and more of them looked for new career opportunities. This is how The Great Resignation phenomenon began, which has now turned into The Great Reconsideration, in which employees reconsider their priorities and are willing to change their employer for reasons that sometimes seem unjustified or very simple, but are things that they want and don’t I always get them. Such as flexibility, learning opportunities, career progression, financial incentives and above average benefits. In this context, the work of HR departments is increasingly complex. A study by KPMG has shown that changes are needed in terms of organizational culture and employee benefits. We can see that there is a general need for HR departments capable of delivering added value to the company.”
In the current period, it is very important for companies to find qualified personnel for new positions in departments, to adapt to the demands that employees have today, with all the changes that have appeared after the pandemic, and to reinvent the way of doing HR.
“We have to adapt to what came after the pandemic and after the restrictions. And to find ways to reinvent the way HR works, both for us and for our colleagues. The challenge comes in particular due to the fact that flexibility and the need to adapt to new conditions has increased and employees, as well as candidates, say it very clearly”, says Cristina Mancas, HR Vice-President SEE at Schneider Electric.
“I realize that employee retention has been and continues to be one of the most important elements of our work. One of the challenges that I have noticed in recent years is that of mental health, of emotional resilience, as well as the part of ways of working, which has changed massively during the pandemic”, says Cristina Ulesan, HR Director at Brico Depot Romania. “For instance, last year we identified the need for social reconnection after organizing a research among our head-office colleagues, and as a result, turned to the hybrid work system. However, going hybrid is only part of a broader response that implies not just being physically present at the office for 2 days a week. It also implies being mentally there and fully engaged. In that sense, in the past two years, we have had a a series of simple but impactful engagement initiatives targeting both head-office and store colleagues, including Yammer activations and contests for different internal communication campaigns, such as the Brico values. Creating opportunities for engagement remains key.”
For Claudia Oanea, Country Head Romania at Siemens Healthineers, the fact that she works in the health system makes clients actually partners. Siemens Healthineers is a multinational with 69,000 employees and an organizational culture that must be understood and adopted by all, regardless of whether they work in the USA or in Romania.
“Our big challenge right now is generational change. We are talking about people who have worked 30 years in the company and who are retiring this year, a number of people who represent about 20% of the company. It is incredible to see these people who have the company where it is today how beautifully they are passing on to the generation we are bringing. The challenge is to succeed in bringing the new generation to this set of values, which will convince them to stay in the company for 30 years. And it is not just about financial benefits even if it is a very important component, but also why we bring in the financial area. The global trend in the health system is to reduce staff; it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 18 million fewer employees in the health system, this is the global trend. And we have to find ways to keep those we have and make up for those who are leaving. That’s why we have to identify the needs of each employee and find ways to give them what they need”, says Claudia Oanea.
Currently, there is also a difference in perception between the way of working desired by company managers and employees. With the end of the pandemic and restrictions, the vast majority of managers want employees to return to the office, while employees do not want to give up the hybrid form of work, preferably more from home. HR departments must also find solutions for this difference in perception, which is not exactly easy to achieve.
AFI Europe, which manages over 300,000 square meters of office space, has been tackling this challenge of getting employees back to the office for the past three years. For the retention of tenants, it was necessary to create the most attractive working environments.
“We tried to help employers. To recruit more easily, to have employees happy with their offices. We have done all this by offering Class A offices that meet all sustainability criteria. We also created a unique program in Romania, AFI Club, through which we offer discounts through partnerships with those in the food court and those in commercial spaces to office employees. The discount of up to 30% in the food court is very important for those in offices. The discount card can be offered directly in the salary package and offered to employees”, says Emma Toma, Head of Office Division at AFI Europe Romania.
The quality of office spaces has also become very important from the point of view of sanitary safety, and employees still demand this today. “There are elements that affect the employee’s long-term way of working, including what is related to mental health, who also needs socialization, he cannot work endlessly at home. That’s why I also offered offices that look like the ones at home, that offer a less formal atmosphere”, concludes Emma Toma.