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39 (134) 2019
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Editorial Note

Editorial Note

By Michael Dembinski and Dorota Kierbiedź
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This is the most significant, and most useful, issue of Contact Magazine Online for a long, long time.

We present to you a summing-up of the big changes that have happened on the Polish labour market over the past years – and their implications for recruitment and retention. How are BPCC members coping in today’s labour market conditions? What tips and insights can they offer you? The articles in this issue of Contact will look at the market and its different sectors from different angles. Many of the buzzwords such as wellness, social climate or agility circulating around today’s world of HR are demystified by some of Poland’s top experts working in this field.

A newcomer to the Polish shared-services market, Standard Chartered Bank is raising the level of services offered from Poland to a new high. How hard was it to recruit the quality and quantity of employees required to make the hub as success? Rowena  Everson, CEO of the bank’s Poland operation, talks to Michael Dembinski about the challenges faced and overcome.

Organisations are entering an era of monumental change: digital disruption, globalisation, redefined business models, changing demographics, multigenerational teams, regulatory compliance, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and machine learning. Jan Karasek, and Magda Stawska, from KPMG consider the implications of this change for future of HR.

If there’s one buzzword that’s on the lips of all HR managers, it’s wellbeing. Is this just another management-guru fad? “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is a useful saying – it turns out that there are key wellness metrics that you can deploy to see how your employees’ health is reflected in your company’s performance, says Ewa Stelmasiak from the Wellness Institute.

Sales and marketing functions have been building consumer brands for well over a century. And in the same way, in an employee’s job market, HR needs to focus on employer branding. How well do your potential employees – the talent you need to recruit today to have a thriving business tomorrow – know you as an employer? Hubert Kifner from MSL considers the building-blocks of employer branding.

If one Polish tech firm really stands out when it comes to employer branding, it’s software giant Future Processing. Magdalena Markowska-Barańska explains how FP has come to be such a high-profile employer. You may not have heard of Future Processing – but your top IT people certainly have!

How will automation affect the workplace and the labour market? One sector that will be significantly affected is accountancy – as more and more functions become automated, how will the profession look in future? The answer lies in those human characteristics that artificial intelligence cannot mimic, says Lesley Meall for ACCA.

Human resources – workers – employees – do not work in a vacuum; their wellbeing at work depends on their surroundings. The work environment is rapidly evolving to reflect the changing nature of work. Three articles look at the workplace of tomorrow; Spaces (a Regus brand) offers co-working facilities that can offer organisations agility – a characteristic that’s quite different to flexibility; while Beata Osiecka from Kinnarps, the office-furniture giant, considers how workplace acoustics affect focus and productivity.

Poland is an economy of many large cities and there are disparities in their growth rates and access to employees. With registered unemployment in Warsaw, Poznań and Katowice well below 2%, where are the places that new investors should consider when it comes to finding skilled employees? Jan Banasikowski, HR & location advisory expert from CBRE pulls out the big map of Poland and points at those locations which have the greatest potential for business development.

But does location matter so much today? Working remotely is an increasing phenomenon. How can this be managed effectively? What tools are available for ensuring that the remote worker is an effective part of a geographically distributed team? Dorota Mielnik from Eversoft looks at how the latest tech trends are making remote working a good solution for many businesses.

Working time, managing shift-workers, is an important HR issue in today’s 24/7 economy. How can firms optimise shift work? The answer lies in self-rostering, in which smart algorithms match employees’ preferred shift times with production plans. Łukasz Chodkowski from Dehora explains the benefits. Changing workers’ shifts is one of the factors that can adversely affect the social climate of the workplace for the worse. What ‘social climate’ is, and why it’s so important to staff retention, is described by Dorota Grudzień-Molenda of Arthur Hunt Consulting Polska.

With demographics working against the employer, many companies have been coming to rely in Ukrainians and other foreign nationals to fill gaps in their ranks. Although it’s now easier to recruit Ukrainian citizens than before, it can still be a red-tape obstacle course. How to make the process of employing non-EU nationals easier is explained by Dariusz Ronka from KS Service.

A key employee tells you that they want to leave. What do you do? Is proposing a counter-offer a good idea or a bad idea? Malwina Bugajak from Hays Poland considers the pros and cons of using the counter-offer in a bid to keep your top people from leaving. Good advice!

Retaining the best employees often involves incentives – bonuses and awards. How can you optimise the use of these tools without falling foul of the law? Monika Krzyszkowska-Dąbrowska from Linklaters considers the more commonly used incentive schemes and explains how they differ from one another, and how effective they can be – if properly implemented.

Unpaid staff leave can be a problem when tight deadlines and labour shortages trouble HR managers. It is a double-edged sword that can be useful for both employee and employer.  What the Polish labour code has to say about this is worth knowing. Agnieszka Morawska, Mazars explains how this works in practice.

Did you know you have to keep employee records for 50 years? Although there have been major changes in the law relating to employee records as of 1 January 2019, liberalising regulations to a great extent, if anyone joined your organisation before 1999 – you still need to keep their records for 50 years. You can do this digitally if you wish – but there are a lot of ‘buts’, say Adam Nierzwicki and Paweł Lasota, from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland.

All of the above issues show just how complex HR has become. From the days when it was simply kadry or personnel, to today’s highly demanding HR environment, the change has been dramatic. For CEOs, the key question is how much of your HR can you outsource, and how much need you keep in-house? Justyna Trochimiuk, from ASB Poland considers the factors that decide.

The way leaders are perceived by key employees – who typically join a firm but leave a boss – put a new urgency on self-examination. Leadership coaching focused on raising the leader’s self-awareness has measurable benefits when it comes to running a business, says Lucyna Baca-Lonn of Graphology Business Solutions.

Today’s business environment carries more risk than ever before. New risks – mainly related to the widespread use of tech, such as cyber security, data breaches and business-model disruption, are rated alongside old risks which have been exacerbated by tech, such as reputation damage. Aon’s global risk survey considers the key risks facing your business, and whether you should seek to manage – or to transfer – that risk.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain – the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce will be different to those that are in demand today. Preparing today’s schoolchildren to be sufficiently flexible to adapt to new technologies and working practices is an essential part of the education process. Resilience, teamwork and cross-cultural awareness will be even more important tomorrow, says Tom McGrath from the British Primary School of Wilanów.

Notice anything special about the authors of these articles – yes, the majority are female!

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