Having navigated the company’s human resources activities during a truly tumultuous year, Anca Bancu (Marcu) sat down with Business Review for her first interview since her appointment as Vodafone Romania’s HR Director and Board Member in March 2020. Thus, the BR exclusive #HRSpotlight2021 interview marks a premiere in which the Vodafone Romania HRD shared her insights about the first lessons of the pandemic in HR, the employee – manager – organization connection and communication, and the psychological implications of the new models of work, among other subjects.
- 2020 Overview: the most important actions and programs in your organization?
The past year changed everything we knew about working to a degree nobody expected. The sudden shift to working from home has provided an unexpected opportunity to reimagine how we do our jobs and how we run our companies.
At Vodafone, we have made the safety of our people a priority – from supporting our retail staff on the frontline and our engineers in the field, to providing a huge number of employees with resources for remote working and support for mental and physical wellbeing during such a challenging time. New initiatives like, for example, employee assistance programs, were up and running quicker then we could have imagined before the pandemic. We have faced a new reality overnight: the fact that our employees are asking for help to keep an emotional balance is not a taboo topic anymore, as it would have been some years ago. Furthermore, virtual recruitment and on-boarding became very quickly our new ‘normal’.
- Which will be from your perspective, the 2021 top 3 most important trends that HR leaders will follow?
It’s difficult to predict what will come next, as we don’t know yet how long we will have to deal with the effects of the pandemic on our society. Still, there are several things that will change and we already started to think about how to deal with them.
Firstly, how do we reinvent the employee – manager – organization connection and communication, while significantly increasing the work from home percentage? How will the company culture be defined in the future? Do we need greater purpose, more job opportunities and flexibility to further encourage the interpersonal connections at company level (inter-departmental and within the team) to keep people connected to the organization, while they are not physically present anymore?
Secondly, it’s worth reflecting on whether the work – personal life balance will be a concept anymore. As the boundaries almost disappeared, our children are asking: “Why is your colleague or your manager in our home?”. Virtually of course… In this sense, I believe that companies should focus on finding ways to support their employees to find solutions to the incoming challenges, i.e., this new, both personal and professional reality, as there will not be only one way that fits all.
Finally, I believe that the HR function will need to be even more flexible in order to quickly change, adapt processes, but more importantly, to be more aware and knowledgeable about the psychological implications of the new models of work – which, at the end of the day, will have an impact on the internal culture and work productivity. Agility and caring are already a must.
- How will your organization adapt the new normal, shaping the future workforce and keeping the engagement?
At Vodafone, we are remaining resilient as 2021 unfolds with further changes and challenges on the horizon. At the same time, we dare to be hopeful, because we know that we are constantly doing our best, we are inherently a passionate, flexible and creative team and we have taken important steps towards further innovating the HR processes to better serve our employees.