The challenges of recent years have transformed many areas of corporate operations, and HR has been no exception either. Gabriella Fehér, Softline's HR Manager for Central and Eastern Europe, goes over the key factors currently dominating the labor market and tells us what she sees as the strengths of the Softline team.
How did you get involved with the IT industry?
During my university years, I was constantly doing internships. I considered it important to have an idea of what I wanted to do and what career direction I was interested in by the time I entered the job market. I started in the telecoms sector, and although I've been in other industries, from the very beginning I felt at home in IT. The hospitality industry was a big change for me, but it also gave me a lot of experience, especially as I started working during the epidemic. So I faced a number of interesting challenges, starting with change management, before coming to Softline.
What attracted you to Softline?
I’ve always strived to work for a company where the work I carry out has tangible results. A medium-sized company can present more challenges and more complex tasks, whereas multinationals tend to have more sophisticated processes. It was very important for me to show the role and power of HR activities. Many companies still look at HR as a back office activity, but I believe in the continuous and thoughtful HR activity.
What do you like most about your job?
I’m motivated by challenges. Every day there is a new task to solve and I aim to provide answers that have a visible impact. As well as managing the recruitment process, I also work on the retention of professionals, which is equally important. And my professional priority is to place increasing emphasis on corporate well-being and work-life balance. But finding the right balance is not only key to retaining staff, it’s also a major contributor to doing one’s work effectively, so it works for everyone. It's also important to create forums for face-to-face conversations and getting to know each other, to foster and nurture human relationships.
What is the strength of the Softline team?
Seniority is definitely what makes Softline stand out in the market. We work with experts who are highly competent, well prepared and constantly improving their skills. Another aspect that sets us apart is our management. They are the background within the company that you can really count on - a very important aspect for a medium-sized organization. In contrast to the classic hierarchical structure, our colleagues can interact directly with each other, regardless of their position or region, which I find very motivating.
Softline is constantly expanding in the region, too. What challenges does this pose from the HR side?
Internationally, the pandemic and its effects continue to define the HR market. In general, hybrid working hasn’t been a radical change in the day-to-day business of IT companies. However, human relations, the changing ways of interacting and the resulting difficulties are beginning to surface.
All this leads to the first challenge: retaining employees. There is a high turnover rate in large companies, which is also evident in the IT sector. The second factor comes up in the course of recruitment. The supply side of the labor market in Central and Eastern Europe is small, especially in the segment in which we’re looking for our future colleagues. However, Covid has also launched processes that allow us to cross physical boundaries and think bigger. I believe that, with the right planning and flexibility, challenges can be turned into advantages.
What can people joining Softline now expect?
We’re facing significant changes and we expect continued growth in the region. At Softline, we represent a team that is constantly evolving. In addition, the company’s gaining entrance to the stock exchange will provide a solid platform and increase the resources available. To support the expansion of the organisation properly, we’ll need both highly experienced specialists and early career professionals and students, so we want to target different groups and attract professionals with a diverse range of experience.
What motivates you? Where do you draw strength from when you feel overwhelmed?
In my everyday life, I draw strength from my family. I am also very interested in psychology: I acquired a degree in this field and regularly read professional articles and attend lectures. For me, it also helps me in my everyday life and I can use the knowledge I've gained from it at work.
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