Why automate HR processes and introduce new technologies? How to carry out onboarding of a new employee? And what are the trends in the IT job market? The answers are in the new Denis Lavnikevich podcast with Viktoria Dzyba, Chief HR Officer at TECHIIA holding.
Denis Lavnikevich: Are you the only HR, or the main HR at TECHIIA holding, can you explain?
Victoria Dzyba: I am convinced that no man is an island, especially considering the number of our holding businesses. I am a Chief HR Officer and I am responsible for the technical part of the HR functions in each company. My team is HR managers in each individual business, the Recruitment team, which is engaged exclusively in the search for new employees in the company, as well as the HR business partner - PM to launch large-scale projects for the entire holding.
Denis Lavnikevich: So who do you work with, with IT guys or esportsmen?
Victoria Dzyba: We work with everyone since the holding has IT and non-IT businesses. The new generation of guys and girls is extremely ambitious, that's why a certain sporting spirit is always present in the work process. Employees also strive to break new records, grow non-stop both technically and personally, and influence the product or even the sphere.
Denis Lavnikevich: In my youth, HR was called a personnel officer.
Victoria Dzyba: Indeed over the past 10 years it has really expanded significantly. Now work with staff and administration is about 5-10% of the entire range of HR tasks. And it is very cool that in our time most processes can be automated, which makes it possible to maximize the opportunity for personal communication with employees and build a trusting relationship.
Denis Lavnikevich: And what made it possible?
Victoria Dzyba: Today there are a lot of systems (created by IT companies) for optimizing the work of the HR: the recruitment process, checklist systems to prepare for onboarding and adaptation of a new employee, convenient forms for regular evaluations, training and gamification modules.
Denis Lavnikevich: I don't quite understand, is this a formalization of work with an employee using technology or vice versa?
Victoria Dzyba: The new generation is very used to technologies and it is a normal thing. People want to be involved in these technologies and create them. The actions of our HR team are aimed at making the employee feel that we were waiting for his arrival, that everyone understands his role, that he influences the business with his work. Technologies help. They automate the basic processes that cannot be avoided as well as a bunch of different small things. This frees up more time for personal communication with the employee. For example, such a small pleasant thing as your favorite chocolate bar on the first working day, which the employee mentions when filling out the pre-onboarding package (a number of tasks that the new employee performs before joining the company), has a very cool impact on his start. It is also important for the employee so we answer his questions, accept his ideas, and work on them. This affects the involvement in work big time, affects employee’s transformation into a part of the company.
Denis Lavnikevich: I am an economic observer, and for the last three months I have been writing about collapses, the crisis, and a drop in profits. You may need to fire people. How will you do it?
Victoria Dzyba: Business transformations are not always dependent on the economy or crisis. This can happen at any time for many reasons such as the company's transition to the next stage of its development. We have already encountered this.
From the very start, we hire people who share the same values, principles, and work approach. Also, firing does not happen at the click of a button, the company always talks to an employee - it gives feedback, learns employee’s expectations, and gives time to rectify the situation. But if these are structural changes where the company needs to make difficult decisions, we try to remain as flexible as possible so that employees stay in the holding: we offer changing their role or moving to another business group. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out that way, but it’s our rule to say it as it is and say goodbye keeping good relationships. Especially when there comes a situation for which no one was ready. We understand that these are people, and people are the foundation.
DL: So, does it turn out that esports in Ukraine is a professional sphere where you can make money?
VD: The growth rate is just astonishing, in my opinion. This is a real sport, which is no different from the regular one. Pieces of training, fans, teams, psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, etc. We create bootcamps and arenas. And IT specialists are also a part of the esports who develop it with their own work. The bottom line is that this is a product, just in the esports domain. For example, professional tournaments in Dota2 or CS: GO are launched by a team of about 50 people: producers, esport specialists, marketeers, SMM, PR, business developers, designers, developers, and others. We are seeing more and more interest from viewers and big brands!
DL: What kind of specialists are in the holding, for the most part, IT or non-IT people?
VD: I would say that approximately the same number. I mean that IT is more than just developers and designers. I would say that there are around 500 people in every direction.
DL: I would like to know your opinion. I have lived in Belarus for the last 45 years. There is such an idea that IT people are in the first place everywhere and in priority, there is a high-tech park, there’s a bunch of all kinds of bonuses. But I moved here a year and a half ago and the same thing also started here, but not as much. Am I mistaken?
VD: The peak of activity in Ukraine has already decreased a bit because in our country it started about 5-7 years ago. In addition, I would say that being just a developer is already a little narrow-ish and people think wider and more consciously. In different areas, we have roles that perceive the entire development system, the whole ecosystem. Product Managers, for example, are responsible for the implementation of the product and determine how the whole team should work to have the product that is exactly needed on the outcome. And we try to cultivate an approach to think wider for every employee. One of the basic questions that we ask at the interview about what values a person has (both in work and in personal life) and what he is looking for. For example, for someone, it is valuable to work only on the 20th floor, because he had a bad experience working in the basement. We can honestly answer him about the conditions of our company.
DL: Do you, as a holding, have any situations when it is more profitable not to hire a full-time specialist and teach from scratch, but to buy a startup or hire an outsourced team?
VD: Yes, it is possible. It all depends on the time frame, scope, and needs of the holding. It is simply inadmissible to postpone the project launch by long-time hiring, therefore we look for alternative solutions, we look for ready-made teams and we evaluate not every single person, but the entire team as a working unit. Otherwise, we just would not have time to finish the task.
DL: How has the market of specialists and candidates changed in recent years? Are there any trends and dynamics?
VD: As I already mentioned, the IT hype has passed, but there are still many pieces of training out there and many people think that the easiest way to get into IT is through QA. Now people who come for interviews are known to have very diverse experiences and set of practices. People use a wide range of tools for training and are not afraid to change their professions, change themselves, and get completely different knowledge from different fields. And companies are not afraid to take people with an unusual skill set, even if it's some kind of rare unicorn. Of course, not for a new product, because it is a rather big risk.
DL: Do you have some kind of internal education system?
VD: Of course, because this is the most logical way to synchronize most of the team in knowledge and skills. For seniors and team leads, this is some kind of individual development plan, because they need to share part of their experience with other guys.
DL: Is it individual mentoring or some kind of class?
VD: Different companies of the holding have their own approach. Functional teams gather regularly and discuss relevant topics, and we also launch internal hackathons on new business ideas. With the help of such formats, it is impossible to rust, lag behind, or stay in one place. It gives constant growth, development of qualities, and skills. Another very useful thing is internships, although it is very expensive for companies. It shows newcomers how the business works from the inside, what role they can perform, and how complex but fascinating these mechanisms are.
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