Started in 2020 and updated in 2021, the #HRSpotlight interview series enters its third era receiving another revamp for 2022. Together with the best HR professionals in Romania, Business Review will keep exploring the #futureofwork and to find out how leading companies have balanced out all the challenges of recent years, creating strong employer brands and great working environments for their employees. A new #HRSpotlight interview sees us talking to Anca Bita, HR Manager at KADRA, exploring together the #futureofwork and finding out how to create strong employer brands and great working environments for employees.
- Starting with a bit of background, how was 2021 from an HR perspective and what were the most important actions and programs you undertook for your employees?
2021 was a year of change. And a change once every few years is a definite necessity. For Kadra changes coming up this year were for the better. We parted ways with some of the people but attracted new talents, we redefined our structure and cultivated a strong organizational culture, encouraging growth in certain roles or horizontal change for others, empowering leaders and managers to use internal resources to their true value by finding true meaning in their work. It was also the year in which we adapted and did better in hybrid work, even managing to perform.
Our most important actions continued to focus on maintaining employee health and engagement at a high level, supporting them and their family members. We continued to apply HR policies with the consistent, well-informed and relevant communication programs we started back in 2020. As soon as the Covid vaccine became available in Romania, we organized a series of educational programs for a healthier lifestyle to answer all our colleagues’ questions and concerns on the subject. Besides that, we continued to focus on assisting the business in conceiving and implementing the strategy, both in terms of organic growth as well as through the new projects we started.
- Employee wellbeing is no longer seen as a benefit, so how can employers and HR leaders take this concept to new heights and get more involved in the personal wellness of their people?
Our main approach toward wellbeing is authenticity and flexibility. We show that we care and create a safe space for our employees to express themselves and be in turn genuine because employee wellbeing has benefits for both personal and organizational performance.
We equip and encourage our managers to have open conversations, to listen to what makes our employees more productive and happy and take action in that direction. In parallel, by facilitating employees’ free-of-charge access to coaching, counseling of different kinds and HR support completes these conversations and efforts.
- We can’t talk about the #futureofwork without talking about the future workplace. Is it going to be back to the office or WFH? How does WFH impact HR activities?
KADRA is an operational company, and the teams are split between working on field and working on the premises. Obviously, the way of working has significantly changed in the last 2 years, and we adapted by promoting a flexible WFH schedule according to everyone’s needs, which will continue in the future, as well.
Regarding the future, we believe there is one characteristic that will be mandatory: flexibility. Once the employees have experienced hybrid work, they get more freedom in organizing their professional and personal life. We need to show that we are flexible enough to accept their needs further.
- Recent studies show that many employees expect their employer, and business in general, to be a force for good in society. How involved are your employees in your CSR and Sustainability programs and what are you doing to increase this involvement?
All businesses have an impact in society, which is why it’s important at KADRA that our people are permanently involved in innovative projects in access automation solutions for smart and sustainable building and living. Our solutions contribute to the construction of green cities, hospital modernization, and the increase in energy efficiency in Romanian buildings.
Our mission is accessibility for people with reduced mobility, free flow, the safety of people, and security of spaces.
Our employees are our heroes, they inspire us with their passion for supporting the community and for offering their assistance to good causes. They find the time, energy, and resources to support numerous NGOs in their mission and we could not be prouder of them.
5. Summing up the previous questions and adding your own insights which might not have been covered so far, what are the most important trends that HR leaders will focus on in 2022 (and beyond)?
We live in a constantly changing environment. Everything is agile and fast-growing. Tasks need to be solved better and faster in every team, and companies are usually looking for adaptable people. In general, it is necessary to reshape the organizational culture so that it adapts to new challenges and ever-changing business realities.
Now, more than ever, HR leaders need to motivate their teams and align their representatives with common goals and long-term strategies, but at the same time, they must identify, attract, and retain crucial skills and redesign the work environment to boost the employee value proposition and drive business performance.
In a universe where everything is moving, sometimes all you want is to catch your breath. And what’s encouraging is that for people in general care, we need to continue to listen to our employee’s needs and to learn from these strange times.
When you are a leader, there can be a lot of pressure on you. Navigate day by day among KPIs, deadlines, attrition, budgets, and performance reviews. The first and most important step is to make sure you take care of yourself. After you have checked this step, you can also be concerned with the team’s ability to overcome difficult situations, and to be, in a word, resilient.
Team resilience is an attitude, and it is just as important to the organization as individual resilience. But there is one difference: while resilience at the individual level is built independently, when we refer to resilience at the team level, the involvement of the leadership team is essential. And in an environment where the only constant is change, resilience is a must-have.
What does a resilient team look like?
- A resilient team knows its resources.
- The work environment is clear.
- Creativity is encouraged.
- In a resilient team, there is a lot of trust.
This element is essential to all the points above. A high level of trust and safety will create room for a culture of feedback that will help team members identify and develop their skills. Let’s remember that positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback. It is important for people to know what they are doing well so that they can continue to do those things. On the other hand, confidence is also related to creativity, to the courage to come up with innovative ideas without being afraid that you will be judged. An environment where trust is at home will facilitate authentic conversations that allow people to be who they are: to acknowledge their strengths and areas for improvement, to offer and ask for help, to have the courage to say something won’t work for them or to signal things that are not clear enough.
What remains unchanged is the HR leaders’ role of advisor for the business leaders and of facilitator between business leaders and the company’s members, while assuring the best resources for business to meet their goals.