Working in HR means working with people and shaping the culture of a company. Doing it successfully can be challenging and requires a lot of work and sacrifice. Elena Ognenovska has been recently appointed HR manager at ⋮IWConnect, and in the following lines, you can read more about her path to success in the company and HR.
Can you tell us more about yourself and your professional background?
I have almost 9 years of professional experience in HR and administration, and I hold a bachelor’s degree in law. Throughout my career, I have held various HR positions in both small and large companies where I have been responsible for overseeing the full employee lifecycle, including recruitment, onboarding, training and development, performance management, and employee relations.
The most notable experience I had was here at ⋮IWConnect, where I have developed a strong set of skills, including talent acquisition, employee engagement, conflict resolution, and policy development. Currently, I am managing a team of HR professionals, driving initiatives to enhance employee satisfaction and engagement. I am also focused on leveraging data and analytics to make data-driven decisions and improve HR processes. I am passionate about fostering a positive work culture and developing talent. I believe that investing in employee growth and well-being contributes to overall organizational success.
In the future, I aspire to continue making a positive impact in HR management by staying updated with industry trends, embracing innovative HR technologies, and contributing to the strategic growth of organizations through effective people management strategies.
How do you envision the role of HR in fostering a positive work culture within an IT company?
The role of HR in fostering a positive work culture within an IT company is crucial. A healthy culture can have a significant impact on employee engagement, satisfaction, and overall productivity. The ways HR contributes to fostering a positive work culture are diverse, starting from establishing clear company values to fostering open communication, encouraging work-life balance, investing in employee development, promoting employee engagement and recognition, and embracing diversity and inclusion. In the end, I would say creating a positive workplace culture requires a concerted effort from HR, leadership, and employees. We all play a significant part in creating an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated.
As a newly appointed HR Manager, what are your immediate priorities and goals for ⋮IWConnect?
Since I have been part of the HR department since its establishment within the company, I have had the opportunity to be involved in many processes and practices that were being implemented for the first time. This allowed me to witness the challenges faced by the department and gain insights into its strengths and weaknesses. It has been a tremendous benefit, privilege, and opportunity for me. From the beginning until now, my goal has always been to give my best and respond to the challenges that HR faces during its operations. I believe in aligning HR goals with the company’s goals as it is essential for driving organizational success.
To achieve this, I am focused on the following:
- Aligning recruitment strategies with the company’s growth plans and talent needs.
- Aligning learning and development initiatives with the company’s goals and skill requirements.
- Identifying and developing future leaders within the organization, in line with the company’s long-term growth and sustainability goals.
- Implementing initiatives to improve employee retention and recognition, directly impacting the company’s productivity and overall performance.
- Practicing effective performance management by setting clear expectations, providing feedback and coaching, and promoting a culture of continuous improvement and growth.
By prioritizing these strategies, I aim to contribute to the success of both the HR department and the company as a whole.
In what ways do you plan to support the growth and development of the employees within ⋮IWConnect?
At ⋮IWConnect, we prioritize the growth and development of our employees because we believe that their success is crucial to the overall success of our company. We support and plan to continue supporting their professional and personal growth through various learning and development programs. These programs offer different opportunities for learning in areas such as technical skills, leadership development, communication, and problem-solving.
We recognize the importance of regular performance feedback and reviews for growth. Therefore, we have a structured performance review process that provides employees with constructive feedback, acknowledges their achievements, and identifies areas for improvement.
Promotions are encouraged at ⋮IWConnect, as we believe in providing opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and assume different roles within the organization. We foster a culture of continuous improvement, where employees are empowered to experiment, innovate, and share their ideas. This approach encourages growth and learning throughout the organization. Work-life balance is also a priority for us. We understand its significance and strive to create an environment that supports it. We offer flexible working arrangements, wellness programs, and initiatives that promote employee well-being.
Our plan is to continue empowering our employees, providing them with the necessary support, resources, and opportunities to thrive both professionally and personally. We believe that by investing in their growth and development, we ensure the long-term success of our organization.
Is it challenging to attract and retain top talent in the competitive IT industry?
Yes, attracting and retaining top talent in the competitive IT industry can be challenging due to the high demand for skilled professionals in this field, and also with the rapid advancement of technology and increasing demand for skilled professionals, there is a shortage of qualified candidates available in the market.
But on our way to growth and success challenges and hard times help us built resilience. We believe that hard times and facing challenges stimulates growth in a way where good and prosperous times fail to do so.
With the rapid advancements in technology, how do you see HR adapting and evolving to meet the changing needs of the IT industry?
I am aware of and recognize the importance of adapting and evolving HR practices to meet the changing needs of the IT industry. It is crucial for HR to focus on strategies such as strategic workforce planning, continuous learning, agile recruitment and talent acquisition, data-driven decision making, agile performance management, and flexible work arrangements. By prioritizing these strategies, HR departments can effectively support the dynamic needs of the industry and create an environment that attracts, engages, and retains top IT talent.
On another note, as the IT industry continues to evolve, HR professionals must embrace AI as a valuable tool for adapting and meeting its changing needs. By leveraging AI technologies, HR departments can optimize recruitment processes, enhance talent management strategies, enable data-driven decision making, and create a flexible work environment that attracts and retains top IT talent. AI has the potential to revolutionize various HR functions, such as recruitment, talent management, employee engagement, and data analysis. By leveraging AI-powered tools and technologies, HR departments can streamline processes, enhance decision-making, and provide more personalized experiences for employees. ⋮IWConnect as a pioneer and early adopter of emerging technologies is already using and exploring AI.
Lastly, managing the HR department of a company with a presence in multiple locations and diverse cultures can be challenging. How do you cope with that?
Certainly, managing the HR department of a company with a presence in multiple locations and diverse cultures can present unique challenges. However, having the right people in the team who are engaged and passionate about their work makes facing these challenges easier. As a team, we understand the importance of implementing strategies that promote inclusivity, respect cultural differences, and ensure consistency in HR practices. We are a large team of individuals located in different locations who, through effective communication and transparency, support and respect each other, much like a family does.