New week, new month, new #HRSpotlight! Kicking off May, Business Review sat down with Nevenca Doca, Senior Executive Human Resources Director at Banca Transilvania, for another installment of the established interview series dedicated to the #futureofwork!
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 consolidation. The pandemic and its risks were still the main threats in terms of employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. In HR we continued with the consistent, well informed and relevant communication program we started in 2020 under the tag #safepeopleofBT. As soon as the anti-sars-cov 2 vaccine was available in Romania we organized a series of video-interviews with medical experts to answer all our colleagues’ questions and concerns. One of the most appreciated interviews was with dr. Bechir Melihan, an obstetrician-gynecologist specialized in infertility problems. Besides the concerns related to the pandemic, we continued to focus on assisting the business in formulating and executing the strategy, both in terms of organic growth as well as through the M&A projects. We continued the hybrid working model we implemented during lockdown in 2020; launched a new upskilling program; resumed offline training programs, both for leadership as well as for other colleagues. All our programs’ success are measured by the eNPS (employee net promoter score) twice every year. We are very happy to see this metric keeping its upward trend.
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?
Employee wellbeing should be considered and embedded in all initiatives and actions which are impacting the employees. When we refer to wellbeing in BT we think of a wide spectrum of areas: from the way we work to the management style and tools we implement; from autonomy of work to flexibility and benefits for the family members of our colleagues; from performance management to events that tighten the BT employee community.
It is, in a way, similar to the difference between dieting a number of times every year or implementing healthy eating habits as a life-style. Same with the wellbeing initiatives: we should all make the shift from wellbeing actions/events to embedding wellbeing in all our actions/initiatives that are impacting our colleagues. To me this would bring it to the new heights you are talking about.
We can’t talk about the #futureofwork without talking about the future workplace. Is it going to be back to office or WFH? How does WFH impact HR activities?
I believe it would bring all of us a great amount of relief if we would stop thinking in binary terms, like full work from the office or full WFH for everyone, which creates tensions and frustrations, and start thinking in broader terms, allowing several options and possibilities. Give employees some autonomy to decide what works best for them within a framework set by the company.
Personally, I believe that an exclusive WFH option has its benefits but the dangers and risks that it has are exceeding the benefits. Partly because these risks are not necessarily obvious. They are quite subtle which makes them so much more dangerous. I am referring here to the risks of both mental and physical health that the isolation and the sedentarism that people working in a full WFH scenario are prone to.
The impact on HR is intense. All the management tools need to be adjusted to fit such a complex working environment. The way we onboard new colleagues, the way we set the business objectives, the way we monitor the progress and results, the way we train managers to communicate with their hybrid teams, the tools we use, everything needs to be adjusted. And above all, our mindset needs to allow room to a dynamic process, to “correct the route” as often as necessary.
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?
We are aware of the role we play within the Romanian society, therefore, we know that we also have a responsibility to engage and contribute to the welfare of the local communities. BT has a long history in CSR and sustainability programs, in all communities we are present. 285.000 trees have been plated during the last 8 years, with more than 12,000 volunteers, including employees. Another beloved initiative among our colleagues is Clujul are suflet which is an ONG supported by BT. Its activity is based on volunteer work to support teenagers to graduate high-school and to reduce the drop-out rate among teenagers. I would also like to mention here Walking Month, the charity competition aimed at all those who want to get more involved and at the same time to contribute to a social cause.
Summing up the previous questions and adding own insights which might not have been covered so far, what are the most important trend that HR leaders will focus on in 2022 (and beyond)?
What is still unchanged for HR leaders is their role of advisor for the business leaders and of facilitator between business leaders and the company’s “crew” members. Another element that stays unchanged is the employee-centric approach. Optimal working formula, adjustment of all HR and management processes to this formula, wellbeing embedded in all activities as well as growing and constant focus on ESG related topics are (and should be) just a few of the present and future priorities on HR leaders’ agenda. Partnering with marketing and CX experts can help HR leaders create the employee experience that will measure in better retention, engagement and eNPS we all desire.