New week, new spotlight, #HRSpotlight! Only one day left until Working Romania, so today we are featuring an interview with one of the event’s speakers, Cristina Corello, Country Human Resources Manager of the Bosch Group in Romania, the second Most Desired Employer in the Automotive industry. If you like this interview, you can still join Cristina Corello in the #futureofwork, by registering for the Working Romania HR Conference, on on September 29, on-site at Courtyard by Marriott Bucharest Floreasca (use the freevip discount code and claim your free invite at the event), or online in BR’s dedicated HR networks on Facebook and LinkedIn.
BR: How did your organization managed to balance the increased workload of employees, both in the HR department and company-wide?
Cristina Corello: Over the past couple of years, businesses and large organizations alike have been engaged in powerful transformation processes, worldwide. It is a natural process related to both Industry 4.0 and the digital era. Less than a year ago, when we were discussing the challenges of 2020, no one anticipated a pandemic. Then, in March, we all found ourselves in a scenario where we had to rethink our strategy and the way that more than 8,000 employees conduct their daily activities by adjusting our plans to the current context. I believe that the Covid-19 pandemic was not the turning point, but did act as a catalyst to accelerating the transition towards digitalization. Even in these unprecedented times, Bosch’s lifelong learning philosophy remains our creed, as does the continuous development and qualification of employees, which is one of our strategic pillars. In the past six months, digitalization played a vital role in managing the workload of Bosch associates, both in the HR department and company-wide. What I am sure was the key to our success, aside digitalization, is fact that we are a flexible, agile and innovative organization with the know-how and demonstrated experience to overcome moments of crisis.
Has the use of tech alleviate the workload of your HR team?
First, I find it important to point out that Bosch is no stranger to high-end technologies and that the company offered its employees the possibility to work remote way before the lockdown moment in March. I believe this aspect was truly of help when dealing with the office-home office transition. However, to answer your question, yes, it had. Tech has been and continues to be vital in alleviating the workload of our HR team.
Are there any specific tools/platforms used by your HR team which significantly improved productivity and helped keep things manageable?
Fortunately, it was not necessary to transform radically the HR portfolio, as our existing tools were of real support in dealing with process management. Much more, these tools – and am referring here to TrueHR, Benefit online, Charisma and other Bosch internal platforms – allowed us to offer a fast and accurate response to internal clients.
Can you estimate how much the new HR technologies have reduced the workload of your HR department?
We had not really conducted a research on this particular subject just yet, but if I am to do an educated guess, I will say approximately 30%.
How prepared is the Romanian workforce market in adopting the latest HR technologies, seeing the latest surge in workload?
As prepared as it was for a global pandemic. Do take into account that when necessary, the workforce market becomes as adaptable as any market. Much more, as most markets, this too will go with the flow, but in this case, “going with the flow” depends mostly on the dimension of the company and its organizational culture. Evolution comes either way, be it naturally or forced by circumstances.
What programs/rewards/benefits have you implemented in order to keep spirits high in your company?
The experience of this period and the feedback we received from our colleagues tell us that when it comes to keeping spirits high, an ongoing and transparent communication is the best reward. In addition to this, we offered unlimited work-from-home benefits where the job nature allowed and several online programmes oriented towards the “blended learning” typology, as well as virtual team meetings.
How did you manage to keep a good level of engagement among your teams/departments/employees?
As mentioned above, I am convinced that during moments like these, and not only, it is essential to be transparent and share all pieces of the puzzle with the employees. In doing so, the company nurtures the trust it has been offered. All of our colleagues have been fully aware of the transformations the Bosch Group in Romania has been going through, whether we are talking about financial or organizational aspects. Knowledge paves the way to engagement in the company’s long-term progress and maintaining a constant connection among our colleagues – whether during face-to-face meetings with small teams or communicating through internal channels – kept the teams engaged.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenges for your HR department in this new future of work?
When talking about the biggest challenges of the new future normality, I would like to highlight the need to reconsider concepts and processes and rely more on empowering associates. It seems that we still do a lot of pampering – which does not help our associates, nor the organization. Integrating technology and ensuring that all target groups adapt and are able to access the “new way of doing things” is also a challenging theme. Much more, we cannot forget about the diversity of job roles within our organization and last, but not least, we need to focus on the roles that during the last months have managed to outdo frontiers. The current situation has proven that most positions in our department can be managed remotely and that a HR Business Partner can take over and succeed in his functions even if he/she is not physically present in the same location together with other associates. This means that the market, as well as the competition for different roles has started to overcome known boundaries.
How did you replicate recruiting and onboarding from traditionally office to hybrid working arrangements?
In a very short period, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and, perhaps the biggest challenge was the long-term relocation in home offices. This meant supplementing the number of available IT equipment and activating new functions required for remote work. There were times when Virtual Private Network (VPN) capacity was overwhelmed, but our IT support team quickly dealt with the issue. Of course, difficulties arose in the process, but we came up with creative solutions that facilitated recruiting and on-boarding activities. The integration of new employees transferred to the virtual environment, recruiting interviews have become video interviews and training sessions moved, as well, into the online. Our colleagues and operational teams easily adapted to the current situation, the new way of working and communicating exclusively in the online environment.