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Cristina Man, GM Valoris Center: We are a “smart company in a smart industry”

The HR & recruitment industry, highly challenged for the past two years, is undergoing a fundamental and structural changing process, has earned and proved a major strategic role in the companies, with ambitious targets and objectives to be achieved. People engagement, DEI, digital transformation, the people-centric approach, the sensitive aspects of recruitment and the increasing personnel fluctuation are often mentioned in company reports and statements.

The new world of business, especially after the past two years, seem to become more people-centric and paying a great deal of attention to safety, healthy and well-being of employees. The workspace has tremendously changed and evolved to the benefit of companies and people altogether.

To better highlight the efforts and evolutions in achieving the assumed objectives of HR departments, Cristina Man, GM Valoris Center shared the company’s insights on the current status and vision of HR.

2021 was a good year for the local business services industry. Following a year marked by a quick adaptation to the unforeseen pandemic situation, the industry successfully integrated hybrid work into its operations. As investors see our country as a suitable destination for business services, more companies developed new operations areas defined by complex services. 

This year, the business services will focus on “hot” industries. Fintech and the whole digital-based services area are some examples

At the same time, AI, RPA and Chatbots will become an integrated part of BPO operations. Looking at the local market, we will see even more interest in services provided by Romania, due to the unfortunate events that take place in Ukraine. After two years marked by uncertainty, hybrid working is here to stay, but it will also become a challenge to bring people into the office for at least two days a week.

Digital transformation is very present in our reality, bringing multiple advantages and generally making things easier. At the same time, frequent cyber-attacks can put systems at risk. Therefore, we work constantly to upgrade our systems, make everything bulletproof, and keep it that way. It is a continuous process where we focus a great deal of effort.

Looking to find the perfect proportion in the manners of working  

Back in March 2020, we have all seen that working from home is viable and can be productive. At the same time, people are looking to socialize, and nothing can replace genuine human interaction. We are now looking to find the perfect proportion between working from home and coming to the office.

Another challenge regarding the team is to discover a method to attract and retain people with promising talents. In order to keep them engaged, we need to find new approaches, because what worked in the past can be insufficient nowadays.

From a commercial standpoint, we should be aware that other countries have more flexible working taxation schemes than Romania, and this can be a competitive advantage for BPOs based in those areas.

Last, but not least, this year we are beginning our expansion plan, so we’ll face some challenges to adjust to new environments. At the same time, we are enthusiastic about the growth of our company and ready to adapt to new cultures.

We are now optimising and reorganising the working space, taking into account the new hybrid model that will prevail. We want to make sure that resources are preserved and the space gets multiple uses, adapting ourselves to whatever changes we will get to experience.

Digital transformation and hybrid work arrangements continue to change our company also in 2022. We like to say that we are a “smart company in a smart industry” and one of the most important impacts of digitalization has been made, both in 2021 and 2022, on the culture of our organization (for example: digital and remote recruitment, onboarding and leadership).

We are constantly working to improve our ways of work; hybrid work involves the rethinking of spaces to meet evolving work styles + technology.

Our main objective is to provide a variety of different work modes through the day for focusing, collaborating, learning and socializing.

We have a wide range of programs available for our colleagues, we have created our own community where we run various contests, competitions, a sector dedicated to communicating with them. We are constantly investing in the communication process within our company and we always try to create a space where everyone feels safe to share their perspectives. The voice of our colleagues is very important to us.

Anticipated expansions and developments

Valoris is now acknowledged as a multilingual contact center, and we want to build on this asset, so we intend to add even more languages to our current portfolio. Moreover, in April 2021, we celebrated our 15th anniversary, and we have also announced our expansion plans. We are now delighted to reveal that starting with May, Valoris Center will be fully operational in Serbia. Our Belgrade office is being set up as we speak, we also assembled the start-up team and we expect to have over 50 employees by the end of this year.

Last year we added a new service to our solutions portfolio: professional video onboarding. This was a natural response to the market requirements, as financial services are now available online. A real need to secure them has appeared, and we can contribute to this while creating a good customer experience.

Investing in the local community children’s education and wellbeing

In 2021 we dedicated our attention to children. We worked with two NGOs, Consiliul Tinerilor Institutionalizati and Youhub Association, and we managed to reach out to abandoned or disadvantaged children from the foster care center in Bucharest.

Our contributions were based on the children’s needs, from diapers and baby formula to school supplies and sponsoring the accommodation for a summer camp. Our partnership with one of the NGOs allowed us to organize a workshop during the summer camp at Brasov, where part of our team interacted with the children. We also had a Christmas event together, hosted by the Jewish Theatre in Bucharest, where we met again with the children and offered each one of them a gift, in a warm celebration dedicated to them.

Our flagship in CSR is investing in the local community children’s education and wellbeing, especially for those who are in need and require our support.

The HR matters

Compared to 2020, 2021 was a year in which recruitment processes were slightly more intense starting in the second half of the year. BPO, the industry we operate in, is by its nature a field that is constantly moving in terms of recruitment or HR, whether we are talking about new projects that generate new recruitment processes or replacements.

The fact that we have adapted well to the remote system has brought us quite a few advantages in the recruitment area. Basically, our flexible approach to recruitment and hiring has given us a good success rate, increasing it from month to month.

Attrition and retention are KPIs that we are constantly analysing and monitoring, we control them healthily and we are happy to declare that our results are within the industry standards.

In terms of HR performance indicators, 2021 was a balanced year and we cannot complain about a lack of human resources (candidates) nor that we faced high attrition.

In 2022 we aim to consolidate all the projects and processes we worked on in 2021. We remain open, flexible and focused on the area of continuous improvement of our activities.

Inclusion and diversity are more than a choice – they are our responsibility

 

For us, inclusion and diversity are more than a choice – they are our responsibility. Diversity is basically seeing the other person in the true sense of the word – understanding them and integrating their opinion. Inclusion is the essence of what it means to be human.

Sociology specialists say that “Diversity without inclusion does not exist”. Indeed, it is important to create the right framework and provide an inclusive environment, a place where diversity is always welcomed. We believe that diversity helps a team to be effective, to grow while its members feel good together.

Our long-term strategy covers topics such as gender equality, integrating people with disabilities or creating a constant work-life balance, and in 2022 we are focusing our efforts in two main directions:

  • Intergenerational diversity – whereby we aim to support intergenerational collaboration and help the professional development of young and old alike.
  • Cultural diversity – we have embraced projects based on cross-cultural collaborations, we aim to recruit colleagues of different nationalities into our teams, facilitating access to different cultures and providing international exposure.

It’s important to start from the idea that inclusion is a journey – one where every employee feels valued, respected and that they are part of a community. The skills that help us and that we want to develop are awareness, curiosity and courage. And then start with small things that we can do every day.

In 2021, empathy and adapting to change within our company have become a must-have. Learning & development programs have stimulated our employees to develop their skills, learn new ones and fill knowledge gaps.

And this year we will continue to focus heavily on developing existing employees to increase their level of autonomy.

We encourage learning in the flow of work, intertwining the different learning styles. We offer to our colleagues informal, on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring via interactions with subject-matter experts or colleagues, and formal online training courses. This way, learners feel empowered and they become owners of their learning journey, driven by their day-to-day, on-the-job experiences.