Gina Cruceru, KMG International: “It’s a huge challenge to find and recruit the right people in the energy sector”
“We would like to consolidate the hybrid working model, we will continue through pulse surveys to listen to our people needs, we will continue to recognize & empower our people achievements through various programs and most importantly we will continue to develop professionally our people.
This development will take many forms: learning from each other, learning through training programs, through innovative projects that makes you relearn different techniques. Our industry is changing through our cogeneration projects, decarbonization, electric vehicles, upgraded customer service, etc. and we need to evolve professionally as well,” Gina Cruceru, Group HR Director, KMG International, told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“Investments remain our commitment in front of the Romanian State, through Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund, that is a benefit for both the communities in Romania and the national energy system. It’s a huge challenge to find and recruit the right people in this area, taking in consideration that the first immigration wave towards western countries comprised of these good, hardworking Romanians.”
Which are the main priorities of HR departments in 2022, following the challenging year of 2021 and how did the functioning of HR departments evolve and change during this time?
We, as HR, have become more agile in all our approaches, as a response to the new employee paradigm & the business challenges.
The year of 2020-2021, requested from us to be more flexible, to answer & act fast, to provide our people with an aria of platforms, systems, relearning methods that would support productivity, efficiency & business continuity.
Moreover, we felt that we are all in this together, so our initiatives comprised of inside actions that would strengthen our teams’ spirit and outside actions which had a sustainable impact in our communities.
With regards to 2022, we look forward to it. So many lessons learned in these years created the base for our next strategy.
We would like to consolidate the hybrid working model, we will continue through pulse surveys to listen to our people needs, we will continue to recognize & empower our people achievements through various programs and most importantly we will continue to develop professionally our people.
This development will take many forms: learning from each other, learning through training programs, through innovative projects that makes you relearn different techniques. Our industry is changing through our cogeneration projects, decarbonization, electric vehicles, upgraded customer service, etc. and we need to evolve professionally as well.
Did your company perform hirings this year? How many, in which departments and what is the general sentiment regarding the market of the available workforce in Romania? How did the hirings evolve in the past 2 years?
Despite the pandemic, we have to move forward and ensure business continuity.
Investments remain our commitment in front of the Romanian State, through Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund, that is a benefit for both the communities in Romania and the national energy system. It`s a huge challenge to find and recruit the right people in this area, taking in consideration that the first immigration wave towards western countries comprised of these good, hardworking Romanians.
Other business divisions of Rompetrol that needed our attention and concentrated efforts were Refining & Petrochemicals where we are constantly recruiting talented engineers and starting with 2020, we are moving towards the cogeneration business area or so-called recycled energy, where we need highly qualified technical staff. The refinery processes represent our core business to date it.
The challenge is that 40% of our engineers reached the retirement age, and we need to bring new talents opened to embrace such a beautiful and challenging profession.
The traditional programs that sustain this recruitment need is our flagship Internship Program, which is a complex one given its magnitude, as well as the Knowledge Transfer program. Through these programs we aim to provide opportunities to the new generation of professionals to build a career in the Oil & Gas industry, to inspire them to grow a career here in Romania, so we invest significant resources and “full our hearts” in developing the new talents.
Yes, the hiring process evolved a lot in the recent years due to technology. Technology is perceived & embraced by us as a partner. We have so many tools now at the disposal to reach people all over Romania and all over the world to bring them back home. We have real examples of Romanians working abroad for jobs below their qualifications that we managed to attract back in Romania and work in their profession.
Social media platforms, AI platforms, support us to present ourselves out in the market as who we are as an Employer, to present our job offers. This year, we are actually finalizing the implementation of a recruitment marketing automation platform for a better talent acquisition ecosystem, so our hopes are high to reach as many people as possible, who are passioned & interested in having a career in the energy sector.
To conclude, we don’t want to emphasize the hardships that we have with regards to hiring, because so many good things are helping us and evolving around us, however the talent shortage, the emigration, the general political & economic instability really represents for every business community in Romania a huge concern and constant challenge.
What adjustments has brought the digitalization, tech tools and AI applications in the HR operations during 2020 and 2021? Which are the anticipated needs and trends of your company in this respect?
As there is a phrase “In every crisis, there is an opportunity”, I think technology has supported the premises to create in Rompetrol an agile workforce and work environment and together to build resilience as a community. Even though before the pandemics, we had a lot of tech tools to support our business processes, the truth is that it was high potential to further be applied throughout the whole group.
So, from 2020 the tech tools and AI applications & systems provided us with methods to communicate fast and efficient with our employees, to organize and deliver complex and big volume projects to all group employees, established a hybrid working model that actually had a very good feedback, so it is going to stay.
From culture point of view, technology had an impact also. It fostered transparency in communication, fast response, improved the wellness factor through various initiatives delivered online and to many more employees.
From talent development perspective, we have implemented e-learning platforms that could reach both the white collars and blue collars employees. And with regards to learning and consolidating the sense of moving forward together, with the help of digital tools we succeeded to reach to certain colleagues who had expertise in various domains and who had now the opportunity and the platform to transfer and share forward their knowledge & passions to so many people.
How do you address the fine-tuning and reshaping of the overall employee experience within the company? Which are the major trends, priorities, focus and expectations for the future?
Our vision is to inspire our people in the direction of assuming personal responsibility for their individual transformation and to support our people to become active players in contributing to our society, as a whole.
If till now we as an Employer have been perceived as a company that is a very good school for professionals, from now on we want to be perceived with the eyes of “Together the road is easier”.
This might sound quite big and hard to implement into practice, but the mechanisms are accessible. We want to foster good mental health at work and a good management of people, by investing in our middle managers who are the key in shaping the employee experience, work performance and a happy work environment.
We want to encourage the social volunteering activities among our employees by giving them a clear platform and the clear and concrete ways how to do that. We want to focus on work flexibility, as the results of our people matters, so we will develop forward the hybrid working model.
Our people, as active players in society means also motivating them to involve and invest their time and knowledge in developing the educational system in Romania, side by side with reputable NGOs like AVE Romania, Teach for Romania, etc. To have a real impact around us and in our community, we need to become agile, and we need to give back, to pay it forward.
What tools are used in building and depicting the company’s employer branding this year?
We continue to strive to be an employer of choice in Romania and we are up for the challenge!
In order to attract, recruit and retain the right talent we need to address our candidates and existing employees in different “languages” – so to speak. We have the people from our gas stations that have certain needs & expectations, we have the refinery & petrochemicals engineers and we have the corporate jobs that address a different type of professionals.
Rompetrol was always perceived as a good school, a place that gives you wings to develop and provides you with career opportunities & growth. We have so many successful stories of how colleagues who started as interns, became leaders of a business division. So, our employer branding story is based around that and evolves yearly towards sustainable education of our potential candidates and existing employees.
We continuously invest in the education of the future generation of professionals. That is done through our traditional program- the Internship program, and also through Traineeship programs, opened doors events for high schools & university students, soft skills workshops, informal getting together with students, and other events customized on their needs at the beginning of the career. We always stayed present and connected with the students and always listened to their needs and concerns.
How did Learning & Development evolve in 2021? Which were the priorities in terms of conveying L&D projects, trainings and couching at the level of the company?
In such difficult & uncertain times, in order to foster collaboration and work performance, we have focused on leadership and management training courses that were designed to learn new leadership & coaching techniques and refine old methods in running our teams.
We have felt that in this period that puts a tremendous pressure on our minds and hearts, the leaders of tomorrow should be more agile, empathetic, more connected with their teams. The great aspect of all of these, is that now more than ever, we feel our managers are ready & opened to embrace a leadership style that inspires and motivates the people with whom they are working with.
Also, we continue to use assessment tools which are suited to different purposes and outcomes, but all are dedicated in improving the performance of existing employees and the new talents. We want to look at our people from a 360-degree perspective, to understand how to help them become better colleagues, better managers, better influencers.
This perspective will be achieved also through pulse surveys, meaning brief and regular set of questions sent to employees to gain their authentic opinions and recommendations on subjects such as job-related roles & projects, work relationships, and the overall work environment.